Short read: 1620 salute, time-honoured village, oldest pub on the river.
Epigraph read: The Mayflower, Sea to Shining Sea, Ancient Riverside Village… And for good measure Gulliver’s Travels and the tunnel that made modern cities possible.
Long read: Once upon a time… yes, 400 hundred years ago the Pilgrims sailed from here. And a world-changing voyage away, the ship limped back for salvage. Here’s a school endowed by sailors, ringed by houses built from ships. Here the captain lies at peace, his memorial a stone keel. Here the Fighting Temaire’s a bishop’s chair – and an altar. Here’s a church with masts for pillars, with a roof that’s an upturned ship. Here the Golden Hinde returns with round flanks full of treasure (but the Erebus and Terror are still lost). Here names flash like jewels in the night of time… Adventurers and settlers; kings’ ships and ships of men; captains, admirals and generals of East India fleets; gold-seekers or pursuers of fame… All went out on that stream. The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empire. We are all pilgrims, we all sail and we return to the Mayflower on the river. The oldest pub on the river, it looks like, feels like the inside of an old ship – quarter deck and quarter gallery and forecastle and foredeck and stem and hold and bulwark and tumblehome. And it serves good ale.
Now the curtain rises on a different scene. 1st Miracle: we’re only a 10-minute tube and Overground ride from the Houses of Parliament. 2nd Miracle: we’re 500 years away. 3rd Miracle: this place still looks like – feels like – what it once was. 4th Miracle: the Mayflower – the Pilgrim Father’s pub – is here (let alone a king’s palace, a Dickensian mortuary, a villain’s gibbet, a prince’s tomb and a pirate’s pub). Coda anyone? River-lulled in ancient Rotherhithe we’ll hear the cool lapse of hours pass, until the centuries blend and blur. In Rotherhithe, in Rotherhithe…
Ahoy! The Mayflower Village – The Practicals
Ahoy! The Mayflower Village takes place at 2 pm every* Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
*November 1 – April 30. To be on the safe side check the date on the calendar. Or heed the top-level announcements that read: Click for dates this walk does not take place.
The meeting point is just outside the exit of Rotherhithe London Overground Station.
Rotherhithe London Overground Station is very central and dead easy to get to. Take the Jubilee Line to Canada Water Tube Stop. Change to the Overground – you want Platform 4, Northbound. Rotherhithe London Overground Station is just one stop north.
It’s the perfect fit for us, Rotherhithe London Overground Station. 1. It’s right in the heart of old Rotherhithe. 2. It’s only a stone’s throw from the Thames – and The Mayflower Pub. 3. It’s just a 20-second walk from “the tunnel that made modern cities possible.” 4. It has a great coffee shop!
The team of Mayflower Village guides is headed up by Robert.
Robert is Mr. Mayflower Village himself. He lives locally; he’s extremely well connected; he’s the distinguished retired Curator of the Brunel Museum; he’s a boon companion of the Landlord of The Mayflower, “the oldest pub on the river.”