Completed in 1873, Butler's Wharf was once the largest warehouse complex on the Thames. Having remained derelict after closure in 1972 , this early SE1 development is perhaps best known for Terence Conran's restaurants such as Le Pont de la Tour, where the Clintons and Blairs famously dined. The Wharf is also home to gastronomic delights such as the Butler's Wharf Chop House, Cantina del Ponte, Bengal Clipper, Captain Tony's Pizza & Pasta Emporium and Pizza Express. Conran's acclaimed Design Museum also houses the Blue Print Cafe.
You will probably recognise the area's main thoroughfare, Shad Thames, from countless photographs and films of London's gloomy docks in years gone by (there are some good photos of the area in the 1970s on this site). The distinctive iron bridges in Shad Thames were once used for moving goods from warehouse to warehouse and have been retained as part of the redevelopment.
Shad Thames is a corruption of St John at Thames, a reference to the Knights Templar who once controlled the area.
Butler's Wharf is best approached on foot along the riverside walk.
St Saviour's Dock, the eastern limit of SE1's riverside, was once the mouth of the River Neckinger - one of London's lost rivers. The dock is no longer such an obstacle for walkers following the Thames Path since the addition of a footbridge across the mouth of the dock, which can be swung open to allow boats to pass. Most of the building around the dock were once mills.
John Butler's site has some excellent photographs of Butler's Wharf.
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