Once known as "the Venice of drains" or "capital of cholera", Jacob's Island an area of Bermondsey on the southbank of the Thames separated by two man made tidal ditches that were created in the 17th century. So notorious was the area with its dirty factories and poor residents that it became the stuff of legends and wicked tales. Dickens folly ditch where Bill Sikes met his nasty end in his tale of Oliver Twist, is believed to be based on Jacob's Island.
The area was nearly completely destroyed during the bombing of WWII. In the 21st century it is trendy housing with lovely parks and views of the river.