If you've ever taken a boat up the Thames, you'll have probably noticed a scaffold and hangman's noose outside an appealingly aged tavern by the Wapping riverside. It’s a grim reminder of Execution Dock, a nearby gallows where many a pirate met his end (yes, really). And the tavern in question is the Prospect of Whitby, London’s oldest riverside pub and the best of three by the river in Wapping.
Wood panelling, dark corners and uneven stone floors help to make it one of the city’s most atmospheric old drinking dens. Indeed, it seems hardly to have changed since the days of dock workers and deckhands. The neighbouring old warehouses might have been converted into luxury flats, but the pub still feels like the shadowy haunt of weatherbeaten sailors, smugglers and pirates, all just a few gulps of rum and a fist fight away from their next voyage.