Execution Dock

From the river Execution Dock is marked with a large letter 'E' on the building at the site of Swan Wharf. The Gallows were transferred here from St. Katharine Docks in Elizabethan times. Although the rewards of piracy could be great, the punishment for convicted pirates was to 'dance the hempen jig', the pirates term for being hung. The hanging was a public event which, in London, always took place at Execution Dock in Wapping.

The convicted pirates were taken from the Marshalsea Prison or Newgate in a procession led by an officer carrying the silver oar, which symbolized the authority of the High Court of the Admiralty, to the wooden gallows at the low-tide mark.

After a sermon from the chaplain the pirate was allowed to address the crowd before being executed. After execution the bodies were left until three tides had passed over them. The most famous pirate to be executed here was Captain William Kidd on 23rd May 1701. Execution Dock's last victims were executed for murder and mutiny in 1830.

Execution Dock
Off Wapping High Street

Location Map

Getting There
Execution Dock is located near Wapping Old Stairs which can be reached by following the cobbled alleyway alongside the Town of Ramsgate pub.

Nearest Tube / Rail Station

Bus Routes