Thames Pathway

Journal of a Walk Down the River Thames

by Keith Pauling

Dr. Albert Salter

After Cherry Garden Pier is another one of those surprises that the path has thrown up. A bronze statue of a man in a pork-pie hat sits on a bench, waving at his daughter, while the family cat sits on the riverside wall. This is a tribute by sculptor Diane Gorvin to Dr Albert Salter (1873 – 1945), doctor, politician and social reformer.

Doctor Salter
Doctor Salter

Albert Salter studied medicine at Guy’s Hospital, and came to work among the poor of Bermondsey. The area was subject to poverty, employment mostly depending on casual labour at the docks. Albert decided that he was the one to do something about it and in 1903 was elected to Bermondsey Council. Together with his wife Ada, they set about improving the health and living conditions of their locality as best they could.

Salter stood as a Labour candidate for Bermondsey in 1922, was rejected at the 1923 election but returned again in 1924. He held the seat until he stood down at the 1945 election shortly before his death.

His daughter, Joyce, died aged nine with scarlet fever, and the sculpture shows the doctor remembering happy days with his daughter.

On the opposite side of the road are the last remains of Edward III’s Manor House, built in 1353.

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