River Neckinger

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St Saviour's Dock where the Neckinger meets the Thames

The River Neckinger is a subterranean river that rises in Southwark and flows through London to St Saviour's Dock where it enters the River Thames. The river is now totally enclosed and runs underground.

History[edit]

Where the Neckinger meets the Thames at St Saviour's Dock, it separates Shad Thames to the west and the area historically known as Jacob's Island to the east. Shad Thames was developed in Victorian times into the largest warehouse complex in London, and then converted in the late 20th century into expensive flats, restaurants, bars, shops, etc.

Jacob's Island was notoriously squalid from early Victorian times. It was described by Charles Dickens in 1838 as "the filthiest, the strangest, the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London", and by the Morning Chronicle in 1849 as "The very capital of cholera" and "The Venice of drains". The one warehouse in the area which was not razed by WW2 bombing was one of the very first in Docklands to be converted to expensive flats (in 1981) and has since been joined by new blocks of luxury flats, which coexist, with some friction, with the more bohemian houseboats moored offshore at Reed Wharf.

In the 17th century convicted pirates were hanged at the mouth of the river (the corpses were placed on display as a deterrent further downstream at Blackwall Point)[citation needed]. The name of the river is believed to derive from the term "devil's neckcloth" (i.e. hangman's noose).

The environs are vividly described in Charles Dickens' novel, Oliver Twist as the place that one of Dickens' best-known characters, Bill Sikes, meets a violent death in the mud of St Saviour's Dock.

See also[edit]

Next confluence upstream River Thames Next confluence downstream


Walbrook (north) River Neckinger Regent's Canal (north)

Coordinates: 51°30′02″N 0°04′24″W / 51.50056°N 0.07333°W / 51.50056; -0.07333