Guide to East London

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The Gun

727 Coldharbour, Isle of Dogs, E14
Tel: (0) 171 987 1692
Tube: Wapping

The Gun was named after the opening of the West India Import Dock in 1802 when the first ship, the 'Henry Aldington' fired her guns as she hurled through the Blackwall Basin on the north side of Coldharbour.

This riverside pub is in a corner position of the Dock entrance, with a good rear balcony river view of the Greenwich Dome. Its enclosed staircase has a peephole which was used by smugglers to watch out for the police. The pub is also reputedly where Lord Horatio Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton would frequently meet. Evidence exists of a tunnel between this nineteenth century pub and Nelson House, in the same road.

How this district lying in the loop of the River Thames came to be known as the Isle of Dogs is now legendary. The most popular story is that King Charles II kept his hunting dogs there. He lived directly opposite at Greenwich Palace, birthplace of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The view of the old Palace from the Isle of Dogs is said to be one of the best views in London. The area is rich in maritime history and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is measured from here.

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