The unknown plaque

This little post is a homage of sorts to¬†London Remembers and Open Plaques – who document all of the plaques and memorials in the capital (and across the country in the case of Open Plaques). I’m sure there is an some old adage about it being best to be honest when you don’t know something – which is exactly what this plaque does. I stumbled across it in my own neighbourhood of Surrey Quays – and it has the grace to admit that it does not know what function the small, brick building (dated 1902) to which it is attached had.

However, as the plaque itself notes, the area was formerly part of the large Surrey Docks complex that once covered much of Rotherhithe in an interconnected maze of docks, so it probably had some related function. Given that it also advises that in the year of its construction the nearby Greenland Dock was doubled in length, it was presumably connected to that dock in particular.¬†Described as a ‘yard office’, possibly it was just for storage, or a checkpoint at the junction of the two streets (although of course many of the streets are new). In the same area (but close to the Thames) another building of a similar size has been identified as a gauge house, where the gauge for measuring the Thames’ tide was housed. Feel free to hazard a guess as to this mysterious structure…

If you’d like to visit the plaque in person, you can find it on the corner of Rope Street and Sweden Gate, near the Surrey Docks Watersports Centre (the postcode for which is SE16 7SX).