Folly Ditch, a loop of the River Neckinger, encircled this area, which was originally called Jacob’s Island. Described by Charles Dickens as “surrounded by a muddy ditch, six to eight feet deep”; the “Island” contained many mills, warehouses and wharfs. Most of the early buildings were demolished by 1860 and were replaced by Victorian buildings, many of which have also now since gone; New Concordia Wharf is one survivor.
In the early nineteenth century, this area was a notorious rookery or slum. Dickens used it in his novel “Oliver Twist”. He set Fagin’s den in one of the warehouses and the evil Bill Sykes met his grisly end in the ooze bed of Folly Ditch.
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