This district of south-east London, situated on the banks of the River Thames between Bermondsey and Deptford, was originally called Redriffe. The present name is derived from the Saxon meaning "mariner's haven".
This is an appropriate name for the district as it has a long association with the river that it is located on and with the sea. Throughout its history the area has been home to mariners and has been associated with industries such as shipbuilding.
In 1699 London's first enclosed wet dock was built here and Henry VIII founded his navy in the neighbouring district of Bermondsey. Then in the 19th century Rotherhithe's watery connections were consolidated by the extension of the Grand Surrey Canal through the district.
The docks of Rotherhithe suffered extensive bomb damage during the Second World War and for many years the area went into serious decline. In recent decades though, the district has undergone somewhat of a renaissance.
The area's maritime legacy can be seen to this day with lots of warehouses and docks still surviving, some having been converted into executive residential areas. And Rotherhithe is becoming increasingly popular as a trendy spot from which to visit a riverside pub.
But the redeveloped areas are a stark contrast with the run-down districts that haven't yet been developed, giving Rotherhithe a marked rich-poor divide.
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