Bugsby’s Hole. letter to the press

5th January 1923

Bugsby’s Reach, about one-mile long runs from Blackwall to the beginning of Woolwich Reach. The bearing NNW ands SSE. There was and perhaps still is a spot on the river known as Bugsby’s Hole.
It seems probable that no one can now state with certainty how this reach and hole obtained their not very euphonious names, but there is an old tradition, which is interesting even if it cannot be strongly relied upon and in a book printed about hundred years ago. The legend runs:

There was a robber of that name who had a cabin there in the midst of a bed of osiers to which he used to retire after his depredations and it being apparently impervious Bugsby remained there for a length of time but being at lest discovered to escape the vengeance of the law he cast himself into the Thames. On exploring the haunt much treasure was found and the place was ever after called ‘Bugsby’s Hole’.

12th January 1923

Sir – In regard to the article in your last issue ‘Bugsby’s Hole’ by Mr. F.W.Nunn. As an old Bugsby’s Hole boy I have always been led to believe that Bugsby’s Hole took it name from the ‘Hole’ which was the best water in the reach for ships to anchor when unable to get to their discharging wharves through tide and weather. The hole is a little to the north of the landing causeway there or abreast of the Electric Works.
There are several reaches in the Thames with ‘holes’ Limehouse hole, Ropery hole – abreast of Messrs. Hollicks Cement works East Greenwich, Church Hole Erith, almost of Erith sweep, Erith reach and Aveley Hole just above Purfleet. All having the best water for anchorage of ships in those parts of the river about 70 years ago. I am sir: H.Kennard, 7 Milton Place Gravesend.
Kentish Mercury

Return to Bugsby’s Hole some background

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