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Whats in Wapping

“A True Londoner” by Danny Anthony

“A True Londoner” by Danny Anthony

Find more Wapping Books on the Wapping Books page.

We’ll feature book reviews by a Wapping author, about Wapping, or both. In our first month we’ve reviewed

“A True Londoner” by Danny Anthony

Danny Anthony is the long serving porter for Dundee Court and Pierhead Wharf in Wapping High Street.

Danny was 6 when the war ended and the price of peace was strict food rationing. London was littered with bomb debris, whilst shops and buildings stood burnt out and we learn of Danny’s humble start in life. His father minded horses and carts at the fruit and vegetable market in Covent Garden earning tips from market traders by telling them where to park.

Born in Islington in 1939, Danny’s story begins aged 8 with a day trip from London to Southend in Essex. In addition to childhood pranks, the trip marks the start of his future with Bobbie who he later marries although they don’t even speak at this point.

Like most families at the time, Danny’s were poor living in a Camden house with no electricity or television. Water was heated in a kettle on an open fire and recycled for washing 8 children, parents, making tea and cleaning! Despite the hardship and lack of many things we now take for granted, this didn’t seem to affect the mischief and childhood adventures he had. We’re taken on a child eye journey of London’s East End, even reaching the roof at The London Hospital in Whitechapel where an “incident” almost led to Danny ending up in the hospital rather than on it.

We hear about the mods, rockers and Krays, then join Danny’s first date with Bobbie where they saw Oklahoma at the cinema. Their paths separate again, but are ultimately brought together at a biscuit company via a moving romance, but I won’t spoil my favourite part of the book by telling the love story here.

The number of famous and infamous places, jobs and people Danny has encountered is vast and there are constant adventures and stories ranging from funny to tragic, but all are entertaining and easy to read.

The last chapter takes us to Mount Row in Mayfair where Danny took a residential job living next door to Paula Yates before Cher later moved in. They leave Mayfair after Bobbies health declined and Danny then started working at Dundee Court in Wapping. His earlier memories from 1956 when he worked with an ex-boxer carrying out building repairs are a huge contrast to what we find in Wapping today, with Morocco Wharf now a Thames police boat yard.

For anyone familiar with Wapping and the Docklands today, it is fascinating to learn how a place of tea, spice and sugar warehouses where dockers loaded the cargo onto Thames barges became the luxury flats and apartments of today. The only thing that seems unchanged is nearby Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.

The historical insight into London is fascinating, but the treat for me was a moving and touching story driven throughout by an overriding dedication to family and Danny’s beloved wife Bobbie. This made A True Londoner a unique book I won’t forget in a hurry and thoroughly recommend it as either a history lesson told from the ground or purely as an entertaining story. The real message of the book however is

“It’s not where we live that matters but how we live”

Danny Anthony is the long serving porter for Dundee Court and Pierhead Wharf in Wapping High Street.

He is a man of incredible character and warmth who shows the same respect and compassion to everyone he comes into contact with.

His book was featured in Docklands24 in March 2010 and contains some great black and white photographs

[...view slideshow]

of photographs from the book

 

 

Photograph of Danny © Olivia Harris : www.oliviaharrisphotos.com

See more Wapping Books on the Wapping Books page.

  • Barry Johnson

    everyone should read this if they are interested in london it a great book