Shad Thames

Shad Thames, Southwark

A riverside street, and by extension the surrounding area, located on the south bank of the Thames, east of Tower Bridge

Shad Thames dark corner

The name is a corruption of ‘St John at Thames’, a reference to the Knights of St John, the former landowners. The parish church of Horselydown was dedicated to St John when it was built in 1728. Horselydown was the medieval name for this area but has now faded from use.

This stretch of the shoreline became the core of Bermondsey and Southwark’s ‘larder of London’, dominated by the tea, coffee, spice and dried fruit warehouses of Butler’s Wharf, which were completed in 1873.

A century later the last warehouses closed and the area was redeveloped from the mid-1980s, with offices, shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. Shad Thames is still criss-crossed by the overhead goods gantries that linked the warehouses, many of which retain interior fitments too.

The Design Museum occupied the main building of the former Butler’s Wharf complex until it relocated to the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington in 2016.

Before its makeover Shad Thames featured as a location in Dr Who and in the movies Oliver!, The French Lieutenant’s Woman and The Elephant Man.

Postal district: SE1