In 2020 the Mayflower sailed from Rotherhithe on an historic voyage. For some on board it was a mission, a mission to illuminate, the word often used by their preacher and teacher William Bradford, first Governor of Massachusetts. Later Joseph Conrad famously wrote about the lights springing up along the shore. And today, illuminate is also the word used by organisations each side of the Atlantic as they prepare to commemorate the famous ship.
Illuminate Rotherhithe is a local festival which begins this week with ceilidh workshops for the peninsula primary schools and climaxes with a lantern procession to St Peter’s and the Guardian Angels. The Mayflower church, the Mayflower memorial, the river steps where the ship sailed, all are right by the museum where we commemorate another famous voyager, Sir Marc Brunel, who came here from France via America.
Southwark News describes another Illuminate Rotherhithe! with an exclamation mark as the campaign to light the spire and the landmarks of Rotherhithe, ancient and picturesque London. Ironic that such an important place, where everyone spoke of light and illumination, is so dark. Rotherhithe should be a beacon of light, a lighthouse to rival the one built at Trinity Buoy Wharf by Brunel’s friend and supporter Michael Faraday. Illuminate Rotherhithe! has the support of The Illuminated River Foundation (in conjunction with Rothschild Foundation), Team London Bridge, River Thames Society, Southwark councillors and local businesses. They seek you support for crowd funding sufficient to attract a pledge from the Mayor. Please visit Illuminate Rotherhithe! to leave a message of support or make a pledge. Please follow Illuminate Rotherhithe (with no exclamation mark) for a lantern procession and dancing and much more.