No. 37, Wapping Wall.

No. 37, Wapping Wall, the station superintendent's house at the Wapping Hydraulic Power Station. The house dates to 1891 (the date can just be seen on the gable), the year following the building of the Station itself, which is more clearly dated, with a new-looking plaque. Both are in red brick with slate roofs, except where glazing is used over the works building. The house has a stepped gable, covered with creeper now. The whole complex is Grade II* listed. It stands facing Wapping Wall, E1, just opposite The Prospect of Whitby pub.

Left: The gable of the Power Station. Right: The taller of the two accumulator towers, on the right side, as seen from the roadway, with the plant on the left.

The plant seen from the side, with the smaller accumulator tower at the rear.

According to the listing text,

The buildings have landmark and group value but more important is the historic and technological interest of the machinery still in situ and working order. This station was the last working of the London Hydraulic Power Company and functional from 1893 to June 1977. Among the remaining plant are:-

1. Electrically driven pumps dating from the 1950s

2. Two accumulator towers

3. Two large cast-iron tanks for clean and dirty water

4. Fittings of the inlet and filtration plants

5. Cast-iron hydraulic mains of 6", 7" and 8" diameter with their usual fitments

The station was built to provide hydraulic power for the cranes and lifting machinery for the wharfs here. It remained empty for some time, before being converted into an art gallery and restaurant in 2000 (Weinreb et al. 983; Craig et al. 54-55). However, it closed in December 2015 and already looks rather desolate. It faces an uncertain future.

Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite the Victorian Web in a print document.

Related Material

References

Craig, Charles, Graham Diprose and Mike Seaborne, with Chris Ellmers and Alex Werner. London's Changing Riverscape: Panoramas from London Bridge to Greenwich, London: Frances Lincoln, 2009. [Review.]

"London Hydraulic Power Company Station with Number 37, Tower Hamlets." British Listed Buildings. Web. 14 February 2016.

Weinreb, Ben, et al., eds. The London Encyclopaedia. Third ed. London: Macmillan, 2008.

Winn, Christopher. I Never Knew That about London. London: Ebury Press, 2007.


Created 13 February 2016