Thames Pathway

Journal of a Walk Down the River Thames

by Keith Pauling

St. Marie Overie

Shortly after The Globe the pathway turns at the Anchor pub, where Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire of London rage on the opposite bank, and then dives under a dark railway bridge to take me into the narrow, dark, dismal and alley-like Clink Street. A gibbet hangs from a corner wall with its decaying remains displayed as a deterrent to all who pass this way.

A sign on the wall announces that I am looking at the Clink Museum. The museum is not the original Clink, that is long gone, but a venue adapted from an old warehouse that sits on the original site. The area was known with by the tautologous name of “Liberty of the Clink”. The clink was a notoriously grim prison. Initially built in the 12th century to lock away religious non-conformists, it became a convenient place to incarcerate all those who caused breaches of the peace in the taverns and brothels of Bankside during its heyday. Once Oliver Cromwell had closed down all of the entertainments it was no longer required for this purpose, and became a debtors prison until it was burned down during the Gordon Riots of 1780.

The Clink Museum
The ClinkMuseum

I still can not help but shiver as I pass this dire stretch, and I am quickly standing at a plaque telling me that this piece of wall and window is all that remains of Winchester Palace. This was the home of the aforementioned Bishop of Winchester, landlord of the bawdy-houses of Elizabethan times.

The Golden Hinde
The Golden Hinde

The street leads me to St Marie Overie Dock where there is a full-sized reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s ship, “The Golden Hinde”. It is amazing to realise that Drake sailed around the world in a ship of this diminutive size. How did he manage to pack all of the necessary crew and supplies on to such a small vessel?

< Previous Page | Next Page >