Post-blitz Wapping – 1948 photos show our community rebuilding after Second World War

A series of photographs capturing Wapping as it rebuilt after the Second World War entitled 1948: Docklands before ‘Docklands’ has been published. Taken only three years after the end of the war it is remarkable to see the resilience of those who survived the conflict.

Children processing along the shops in Wapping Lane during the St Peter’s Day celebrations . 29th June 1948

The high quality black and white photos show the old Wapping, much of which was destroyed during the Blitz, alongside buildings which still exist in the Wapping we know today.

St. Peter’s Day

One of the most evocative images shows children taking part in the St. Peter’s Day parade along Wapping Lane towards St. Peter’s church which still takes place today. The building behind the children is Jackman House and with the shops below.

All of these children would have endured the Blitz only a few years before with fathers absent serving in the armed forces and mothers having to cope with rationing (still in place in 1948), getting the kids to school, the normal issues of everyday life and then night after night being subjected to an aerial bombardment of a scale never before inflicted on a civilian population.

View along Wapping High Street 1948

Another photograph shows two women, presumably wife and daughter, running to welcome a police officer as he returns from his shift past the wharves in Wapping High Street. Only two of the aerial walkways still exist at Dundee Court. We are not sure in which direction this photo was taken – any ideas Wapping?

This from Simon Williams: “Your Post-blitz Wapping article was asking which direction the Wapping High Street photo was taken in.  If you look at the shadows of the walkway and the policeman, they’re on the right hand side, which says to me that the photo was taken from East to West (in the Northern hemisphere).  I hope that helps.”

Building new social housing in Wapping 1948

While the first two photographs shown here are easy to locate in modern Wapping the third is a little trickier. Any ideas? We think that these flats are those to the east of Wapping Lane.

There are other photographs to see in the Retronaut collection including some really great ones which show the Green Bank estate. The Green Bank (Greenbank? Whatever.) was constructed in the 1930s and all the buildings somehow managed to survive the Blitz.

Many thanks to friend of Wapping Chris Quirk for bringing these photographs to our attention. 


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