River Thames Dockland Heritage: London Bridge to Greenwich
- Malcolm Batten
15th September 2022
London’s docks were once the busiest in Britain. They had developed piecemeal from the beginning of the nineteenth century as the existing riverside wharves became too congested and pilfering became rife. Dock systems were built on both sides of the Thames.
The largest group, ‘The Royals’ comprising the Royal Victoria, Royal Albert and King George V Docks, created the greatest enclosed dock area in the world. Changes in cargo handling methods such as containerisation led to all new developments being concentrated at Tilbury from the late 1960s, and the closure of the London docks, along with nearly all of the private riverside wharves and canal wharves. The London Docklands Development Corporation was set up to redevelop the dock sites.
So what replaced the docks, and what remains to remind us of what was there before? This book follows the Thames Path, which has opened up much of what was once a largely hidden world, from London Bridge to Greenwich to examine the changes and the heritage that remains on both sides of the river. Also included is the Regent’s Canal, which took goods onwards into London and linked to the Midlands, and the sewer network that makes use of the Thames.