Execution Dock Wapping
Those found guilty of piracy would be hanged at Wapping execution dock in front of angry public crowds. After a walk of shame across the river from Marshalsea Prison on what is now Borough High Street, guilty pirates faced their end at Wapping.
The original site of the gallows is disputed, but a replica hangs on the riverbank behind the Prospect of Whitby Pub.
The rope was shortened making the death more painful for the guilty pirate. Bodies were often discarded on the riverbank to wash away with the tides. Sometimes bodies were displayed in cages along the river as a warning.
Captain Kidd, the inspiration for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, was hanged at Wapping in 1701.
Final Resting Place of Christopher Marlowe
Elizabethan playwright Christopher Marlowe is buried in a Deptford graveyard. The writer of Dr Faustus was murdered in a house in Deptford by Ingram Frizer on May 30 1593. Marlowe was stabbed above his right eye.
A memorial plaque outside St Nicholas’ Church is all that remains of the Tudor playwright and poet notable for his homo-erotic poetry. Marlowe was buried in the churchyard, but the exact location of his grave is unknown.
Conspiracy theorists believe Marlowe was the true author of many of Shakespeare’s plays. They say that Marlowe did not die in Deptford in 1593, but that he faked his death to avoid execution.
St Paul’s church in Shadwell is the site of a 17th-century plague pit. Used to dispose of dead bodies between 1664 and 1666, the churchyard is a confirmed site of one of five plague pits located around the Stepney area.
Bodies of those killed by the bubonic plague were piled into mass graves. The pits were dug across London as church graveyards became unable to cope with the number of fatalities.
Plague pits provide modern historians with valuable information about the Black Death and the history of London.
This Blind Beggar pub is the site of the notorious murder of George Cornell by Ronnie Kray on March 9 1966. Kray shot Cornell in front of witnesses after Cornell reportedly called him a ‘fat poof’. Kray walked up to Cornell, shot him in the forehead, then calmly walked away.
Cornell was a member of the rival Richardson Gang that operated in south London during the 1960s.
The murder of George Cornell was the crime that saw Ronnie Kray jailed for life. Kray was found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey in 1969. He died in jail in March 1995.
Tower Hamlets Cemetery
To cope with London’s overcrowded churchyards Tower Hamlets Cemetery was built, along with six other cemeteries.
One of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ Victorian cemeteries built along what was then the outskirts of London, Tower Hamlets Cemetery is now a park and nature reserve. The other six of the Magnificent Seven are Highgate, Kensal Green, West Norwood, Brompton, Abbey Park and Nunhead.
Graves range from large monuments of wealthy citizens to small headstones of common people. Almost 300 war graves also feature in the cemetery.
The cemetery is a popular filming location. It has been used as a backdrop in TV drama Luther with local actor Idris Elba, and has been the site of director Danny Boyle’s SHUFFLE festival.
During WWII, the cemetery was bombed five times. It also contains some of the graves of those who died in the Bethnal Green disaster, where 173 people were killed in a crush trying to access the tube station as an air raid shelter.
Over 350,000 people were buried in Tower Hamlets Cemetery between 1841 and 1966.