Above: View from Fountain Green looking upriver to Tower Bridge.
Fountain Green is a development of small housing which stands on the site of Fountain Dock, Fountain Wharf and Fountain Stairs. The dock and wharf were in existence in the 1960s but there is no trace of them today. When the river wall was rebuilt by the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) in the 1980s, new concrete river stairs were constructed on the site of the old Fountain Stairs but part of the old causeway can be seen on the shore at low tide. The three names just mentioned all have ‘Fountain’ in them. Whether there was an actual fountain nearby at one time is not known.
Today, Fountain Green is a great place to gain superb views of the Thames including Tower Bridge and the backdrop of the tall offices in the City of London – as can be seen above. Its position is such that it is also possible to also gain interesting views downriver, in the direction of Rotherhithe and Limehouse. Across the river is the elegant Oliver’s Wharf and the Georgian terraces of the old dock houses used for the administration of the London Docks.
The view chosen today is one that looks upriver to Tower Bridge. As more and more wharves are purchased by developers for up-market housing, the riverside becomes ’sanitised’ by the removal of great timbers that supported quaysides in the 1960s. Gradually, evidence for the working river of the 1960s is airbrushed out of existence as new wealthy residents move into expensive apartments who have no knowledge of how the Thames once looked.
What is great about the view is that it captures the feel of the river as it was until the 1970s when the LDDC started the redevelopment of places like Bermondsey. The old dolphin on the right of the view remains from when Fountain Dock was in existence. A dolphin was erected so that a large vessel could gently nudge against it, on a moving tide, and ease itself into the dock. The dolphin has probably not been used for its original purpose for about 70 years, maybe more.
The untidy concrete wall remains from Chambers Wharf. There is a photograph of the wharf when the large cranes were still standing on it in these blogs (see below). In 2017 the wharf was acquired for construction work on the enormous sewer project called the Thames Tideway Scheme. The site is in use as an access point for the deep sewer being constructed many feet under the bed of the Thames. When the project is completed, it is likely that the old concrete wharf will be tidied up and yet another aspect of the river in the days of the docks will then vanish.
See also: Chambers Wharf in 1973 – 15 August 2016
See also: Fountain Stairs, Bermondsey – 13 May 2015