Next Tuesday (28 April) is decision day for the future of The Clipper pub on Rotherhithe Street.

Councillors are likely to approve plans to knock down the 1934 pub and replace it with a four-storey block of flats.

Objectors to the proposal include the South East London Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) who say:

We strongly oppose the above application as many pubs have already been lost in the area. In fact, according to our records only fifteen now remain open out of forty three that we have listed for Rotherhithe. Four of these closures including the Clipper have been in the last four years.

The applicant claims that because there are other pubs nearby, including the Ship York, the Orange Bull, and the Blacksmiths Arms, the loss of the Clipper will not adversely affect community facilities in the area. Yet, the Ship York has already closed (November 2014) and the Orange Bull is subject to a planning application to demolish it. The applicant’s argument, therefore, holds little weight, and, in fact, the loss of Ship York and the threat to the Orange Bull makes it all the more important that the Council recognises the importance of retaining the Clipper.

This catastrophic loss of both community facilities and heritage buildings has been recognised Nationally in paragraph 70 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), regionally in the Mayor of London’s draft London Plan paragraph 4.48A and now locally in Policy DM27 of the draft New Southwark Plan.

The CAMRA letter continues:

It is time to say no to further pub closures in this area to ensure that facilities are protected for both current and future residents . The Clipper is a purpose built public house from the interwar period which adds both variety and interest to the streetscape and while not listed could still reasonable be considered to be a non-designated heritage asset. We feel that its closure and demolition would go against current planning policies as it results in both the loss of a valued community facility and heritage asset.

However, in their report to councillors, Southwark planning officers say:

In the view of Officers, there is little evidence that this public house has recently served as a valued community facility. Whilst several letters have been received from local residents, very few of these object in principle to the loss of the public house itself. CAMRA have objected to its loss but there is no evidence provided with its objection that the public house has served as a valued facility in this case. There have been no attempts to secure the premises as an Asset of Community Value. Coupled with these factors, an existing public house (the Blacksmith Arms) is conveniently located very close to the site providing a similar use for the community. Whilst needing to guard against the loss of public houses where it is clear they offer a valued facility, this does not appear to be the case in this instance. The replacement retail class facility will also provide an, albeit different, local service for the surrounding area. Taking all these factors into consideration, it is concluded on this issue, that the loss of the public house will not result in any significant harm to the overall provision of local facilities and services in this area.

There’s more on the history of The Clipper on Andie Byrnes’s blog.

The final decision will be made by Southwark’s planning sub-committee B on Tuesday 28 April at 7pm at 160 Tooley Street SE1.

Greg Thornett inspects tiles from the old Southwark Park Railway Station
Greg Thornett inspects tiles from the old Southwark Park Railway Station

Last month we linked to IanVisits’s blog post about Southwark Park Railway Station in Rotherhithe New Road, remains of which have been uncovered during works on the Thameslink Programme to upgrade the lines into London Bridge.

Now Network Rail has released more images and maps relating to the station.

Southwark Park station, perched on a viaduct above Rotherhithe New Road, only served passengers from 1902 to 1915 before it closed for good.

Project manager Greg Thornett said: “The Bermondsey Dive Under is a key part of the Thameslink Programme, creating the railway necessary to provide a frequent and reliable service through London Bridge and make a huge difference to passengers’ journeys , cutting journey times and making the services more reliable.

BDU 402 and 408 14.01.2015 003
Footings of the old platforms


“We uncovered the footings for the former platforms while we were preparing the top of the viaduct for new track and we are now working up in the roof space of the former ticket hall to fill in the old sky lights, ready to carry the final track alignment.

“Much of the existing stretch of viaduct will be replaced by the ramps into and out of the new dive under, but the arch that used to house the old booking hall will remain.”

The Bermondsey Dive Under will see two Victorian viaducts partially-demolished and rebuilt to allow Charing Cross trains from South East London and Kent to pass underneath the trains carrying Thameslink services from Croydon before returning to tracks on the same level.

In addition the same team, from Network Rail and contractor Skanska, are rebuilding 20 bridges between New Cross and Waterloo East to increase their strength.

Greg Thornett added: “Although the old viaducts will be replaced by modern structures, they are designed to remain in keeping with the older architecture. It’s exciting to see this transformation and it will be a real sense of achievement to see trains running on it.”

Southwark Park station was one of several in the area, including Spa Road, closed as a result of competition from trams and buses and the coming of the First World War.

1908 map showing the railway network in Bermondsey, including Southwark Park Station.


The Bermondsey Dive Under is situated where the former Bricklayers Arms branch left the main line and a new access road follows the former trackbed under the remaining viaducts.

The site offices sit on the stub end of the trackbed leading towards the former locomotive shed.

Network Rail says that he 20 bridges being replaced are of an old design where the rails are carried on timber baulks. These need replacing every 5-10 years so the newer structures will be stronger and last longer between maintenance.

30 years ago, Southwark Council was locked in dispute with the London Docklands Development Corporation about the future of South Dock and Greenland Dock.

Earlier this year we highlighted a short clip of South Dock from the Thames News archive, but now the full report as broadcast in January 1985 has been published on YouTube by Fremantle Media, owners of the archive:


We’ve twice written about the red crane on this website – firstly when Southwark Council revealed plans to redevelop the site with Hollybrook Homes and extend the Thames Path.

Then we reported the suggestion by council leader Peter John that parts of the crane could be turned into an artwork.

Now a campaign to save the Scotch derrick has been launched – and so far the petition on has attracted nearly 140 signatures.

There is a much fuller account of the crane’s history on Andie Byrnes’ Rotherhithe Blog.