This short alley near Tower Bridge is a delightful passage to the Thames, but was very nearly sealed off.

This little alley can be found at the end of the row of mighty Victorian era warehouses that are today packed full of the rich, but were once the “larder of London” until the docks closed in the 1970s. In 1981, Sir Terence Conran, his business partners and his architectural practice Conran Roche put forward a bid for mixed use redevelopment which won approval from the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC).

They wanted to seal off the riverside frontage, as it would make for more space for their restaurants, but came up against a local activist, Maggie Blake. She successfully fought the developers’ proposal to restrict public access to this riverside section of Butler’s Wharf. Many reports say that this small passage from Shad Thames to the river was named in honour of her successful campaign.

There is one oddity though, some early documents call it Maggie Blake’s Causeway, while today it seems to have dropped the “way”. In a way, that makes the causeway better named, as it was the cause that she fought for.

It’s a fairly typical alley for the area, largely lots of very clean brick and old flagstones for the floor.

Blue iron posts are guardians to the covered walkway with two rows of recessed arches within. Look up though, and a stripe of windows adds a dramatic flair to this narrow brick space.

Thanks to its location, as the main route from Shad Thames to the riverside at this end of the street, it’s often packed full of people passing through. All unaware of the history of the doughty woman who fought for their right to pass through this passageway.


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