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Ray Newton Shines a Light on the History of Wapping

Ray Newton Shines a Light on the History of Wapping

On a lovely bright autumn Sunday 24th October, local Wapping residents gathered at the Turks Head Cafe for a guided tour of historical Wapping by local historian Ray Newton.

After a brief introduction by Gerardine Davies the intrepid adventurers set off for the eastern Wapping history walk towards Shadwell, Ray telling us that he will be undertaking a western walk at some point in the near future.

Historical Wapping Walk

First stop was the graveyard of St Johns’ church just opposite the Turks Head and Ray was immediately revealing historical details, which only an expert could have to hand. Ray told us that Thomas Rainsborough, a Colonel in the New Model Army during the Civil War and a prominent Leveller, was buried here.

Just over the road outside the Town of Ramsgate Ray revealed the link between Wapping and the infamous Captain Bligh of the Bounty mutiny fame.

We were lucky enough to be accompanied on part of our walk by Maureen Davies, Gerardine’s Davies mother, who I think should be considered as one of the unsung heroines of Wapping.

Wapping History Walk Maureen Davies

Heroine? A little over the top you think. I would disagree. Maureen was a key organiser in the battle to save the Turks Head and stop a road being ploughed through the Green Bank estate. If that had been allowed to happen Wapping would have been lost forever.

As we walked Maureen and other members of the History of Wapping Trust shared just some of their memories of the battle’s to save Wapping from developers and a disinterested council, which apparently included lying down in the road to stop works at one point.

Standing outside Wapping Overground station Ray pointed out the structure on top of the station that was built to surround the massive tubes that Brunel used to sink the shaft down through the Wapping soil to enable the excavation of the tunnel under the Thames.

How many of us jump onto the Overground at Wapping each day on our way to work without a thought for the history through which we pass?

History of Wapping Ray Newton

I was unable to complete all the tour but will definitely be on the next one as my appetite for discovering more about the history of Wapping has been fuelled by Ray’s knowledge and the dedication of people like Maureen and Gerardine and the other members of the Trust.

Ray Newton’s book about the history of Wapping, will be published in the New Year.

This should be a fascinating read for new and old residents of Wapping alike.

Mark Baynes

History of Wapping Trust

If you are interested in becoming a member of the History of Wapping Trust or want to order a copy of Ray’s book please contact:

The Turks Head Company
1 Green Bank

T: 0207 480 5635

E: hello@turksheadcompany.org

Associate Membership costs £5 per year or £1 a year for the unemployed and pensioners by completing the Trust Form

Many thanks to Wapping resident Mark Baynes for sharing with us

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  • Pete4jaz

    you can put me down for membership ray i will see you next bat bury st edmunds i think thanks pete

  • Creasygreens

    My Aunt and Uncle, Mr. & Mrs. Fred Garratt, owned the Turks Head before WWII and turned it into a cafe. It was badly bombed during the Blitz. Could you tell me anything about its history? I know there was a trap door in the kitchen that led down to a landing which apparently had been used by smugglers. The back windows overlooked the Thames. It was spooky. The building was wedged between two warehouses, one of which was gutted in a tremendous fire. I was born in East Smithfield and attended Swan Street School which was later renamed Portsoken Street in the Minories. I am writing a family history and would appreciate any information. creasygreens@hotmail.com.

  • Debbie Berg

    Geoff I think the History Trust is only associated with the THC in terms of using Turks Head’s premises sometimes. Do any of the Turks Head CHarity trustees or their employees actually live in WApping?

  • Geoffrey Juden

    There being so much controversy in the way The Turk’s Head Company has been run in the past and is subject to investigation by The Charity Commission, I wonder should The History of wapping Trust be associated with such a company.

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