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Pumphouse Museum

The Pumphouse Educational Museum
The walk takes you past The Pumphouse Educational Museum

Thames tour of Rotherhithe: Stage 3

If you wish to visit the Pumphouse Museum as part of your walk it is free to the public.

You can find local artefacts from the Roman times through to the Victorian era.

The collection features household appliances, bicycles and other fascinating items from 1900 to the present day.

Items include old irons, washing machines, televisions and very early mobile phones!

Clay pipes found in the Thames in Rotherhithe
Clay pipes found in the Thames in Rotherhithe

Local children, on 'mud lark' trips, often discover clay pipes and other hidden treasures that were thrown into the Thames over 300 years ago.

The pumphouse itself was built in 1929 to regulate the water level in the dock system and sits by Lavender Pond and Nature Park.

After leaving the pumphouse the walk continues down Rotherhithe Street.

You can access the Thames Path between Globe Wharf and King and Queen Wharf and follow it until you exit by the Spice Island pub and red swing bridge.

Please note there are no ramps where the walk exits by the pub, if you can not navigate stairs you can stay on Rotherhithe Street.

King & Queen Wharf, left, next to Globe Wharf
King & Queen Wharf, left, next to Globe Wharf

Globe Wharf is one of the finest listed warehouses left in the docks.

It was built in 1883 as a grain warehouse and later used as a rice mill.

King and Queen Wharf, next door, was originally known as Bellamy's Wharf and was built by French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars in the 1790s.

Whilst walking along the river you can see across to Wapping that still has many old warehouses and pubs.

You will notice the white building opposite, the Prospect of Whitby, one of London's oldest pubs dating back to 1520.

In the 17th century the Prospect of Whitby had a reputation as a meeting place for smugglers and villains, and became known as 'Devil's Tavern'.

More about the Pumphouse by Caroline Marais, Head of Centre

Lavender Pond Nature Reserve next to the Pumphouse
Lavender Pond Nature Reserve next to the Pumphouse

The Pumphouse Educational Museum is a unique venue on the Rotherhithe Peninsula.

It houses the Rotherhithe Heritage Museum, a variety of historical exhibits and also offers further educational opportunities in the environmental study centre using the Lavender Pond and Nature Park, an oasis of peaceful relaxation in an urban environment.

The Educational Programme offers key stage 1 & 2 schoolchildren a broad range of sessions in Geography, History & Science which can involve dressing up in Victorian period costume, pond dipping for newtpoles, sorting a range of materials or being guided on foreshore trips to discover clay pipes and other hidden treasures that were thrown into the Thames over 300 years ago.

The Reminiscence Communication and Interaction Service is an outreach service for older people in residential care homes. Pumphouse staff conduct training for carers, reminiscence sessions in the homes as well as producing newsletters, displays and Life Memory books which celebrate the life of clients with dementia related illness and help carers to better interact with them.

Each month the Pumphouse provides a two hour session for children aged 9-16 to discover a sense of time and place. The Young Archaeologist Club allows children to explore their heritage. We have been on real archaeological digs, made our own standing stone, and hope to raise the money to build a Saxon roundhouse in the Nature Park.

A collection of telephones at the Heritage Museum.
A collection of telephones at the Heritage Museum.

The Rotherhithe Heritage Museum features a collection of artefacts dating from Roman times to the present day found on the Thames foreshore, telling the story of Rotherhithe and its people. A fascinating glimpse into the ordinary daily life of one of the oldest villages in London.

Other displays include biscuit moulds and other interesting memorabilia from Peek Frean's, once a major local employer.

Also on show is the 'Don't Drop the Coffin' exhibit showing tools of the trade from F. A Albin, the local undertaking firm featured in the TV series of the same name.

The main hall features hands-on exhibits, a replica of a wartime front room, Britain in the 1950s displays as well as our lovely old Jukebox full of 1950s' 'favourites.

The mezzanine boasts a six-foot iced model of Queen Elizabeth II wedding cake (used to approve the design we think).


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