Because much of Rotherhithe was covered by the Surrey Commercial Docks, it is also known as Surrey Docks or Surrey Quays. In the past it has also been known as the cognate Redriff. It is part of the SE16 postal district.
Rotherhithe is joined to the north bank of the Thames by three tunnels. The Thames Tunnel to Wapping, was the first underwater tunnel in the world. It was built by the Brunels as a pedestrian tunnel and is now occupied by a railway (the East London Line). The later Rotherhithe Tunnel (opened 1908) carries a road to Limehouse. The Jubilee Line extension (opened 1999) has a railway tunnel to Canary Wharf in the Isle of Dogs.