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