Upper Thames street to Lower Thames street – London Roman wall

This section of the Roman London wall is all along the river Thames. It is not an easy section to describe, but if you walk along the embankment and Upper Thames street then Lower Thames street, you are pretty much on track. It will bring us back to the Tower, and completes the circuit of the Roman London wall as was.

The river Thames was a lot different in early days, with London being built on slightly raised ground, whereas the southern banks of the Thames were largely non-exixtent, and it was more of a lake with islands.

When sewer excavations were taking place nearly fifteen hundred years later, there appears to have been some attempts at recording the London wall, and the fragments which were found.

Upper Thames Street.

In Upper Thames street, excavations of a sewer in 1841 stated that once Lambeth Hill was reached, there was a considerable length of wall found which stretched to Queenhithe, thus is just south of St Michael Queenhithe church.

This same stretch was also noted in 1924 when a sewer under Brooks yard was being constructed.

Horwood 1799 map showing the section of Upper Thames street between Lambeth hill and Queenhithe, plus Brooks whard

Horwood 1799 map showing the section of Upper Thames street between Lambeth hill and Queenhithe, plus Brooks whard

Copied from one of the amazing Layers of London maps, of many.

Further smaller sections of the London wall were noted. J T smith records that “In June, 1839, the labourers engaged in deepening a sewer in Thames street, opposite Vintners Hall, in the middle of the street, at a depth of 10 feet from the surface, discovered the perfect remains of an old Roman wall, running parallel with the line of the river. 

Vintners Hall is just south of St James Garlickhithe church; at its eastern end.

A similar section was spotted in Upper Thames street, when crossing Queen street.

Under Cannon Street Station a wall 200 feet long was discovered in 1868. It may have formed part of the city-wall, but the position and direction are not definitely recorded.

Lower Thames street.

Lower Thames Street (A). Under the frontage-line of No. 125 Lower Thames Street and the adjoining pavement, a portion of the wall was exposed in 1911. The wall rested on the ballast at a depth of 24 feet below the present surface. 

Lower Thames Street (B) . Under the roadway immediately South of the Coal Exchange a wall about 7 feet thick, which may have been part of the city wall, was encountered in 1859. 

Coal Exchange, Lower Thames street
Coal Exchange, Lower Thames street

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