Tuesday, February 18, 2014

London's Docks by Suzi Love

London's Docks by Suzi Love

London Docks is one of the most fascinating places of historical interest to visit in London. Though most of the docklands have been redeveloped, centuries of history cannot be forgotten.

English: A birdseye view of London Docks publi...
English: A birdseye view of London Docks published in the Illustrated London News in 1845. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A plan of London Docks by Henry Palme...
English: A plan of London Docks by Henry Palmer, 1831. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The London Docks were one of several sets of docks in the historic Port of London. 
They were constructed in Wapping downstream from the City of London between 1799 and 1815, at a cost exceeding £5½ million. Traditionally ships had docked at wharves on the River Thames, but by this time, more capacity was needed.

Customs on Docks 1820's via Wikipedia

They were the closest docks to the City of London, until St Katharine Docks were built two decades later. At the London Dock in the 1820s, the Customs employed around 250 men and the Excise around 200.
The London Docks occupied a total area of about 30 acres (120,000 m²), consisting of Western and Eastern docks linked by the short Tobacco Dock.
English: Print by unknown artist depicting ent...
Print by unknown artist depicting entrance of the Elizabeth, the first ship to enter the St Katharine Docks on the day of their opening, 25 October 1828 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Western Dock was connected to the Thames by Hermitage Basin to the south west and Wapping Basin to the south. The Eastern Dock connected to the Thames via the Shadwell Basin to the east. The principal designers were the architects and engineers Daniel Asher Alexander and John Rennie.

In 1852, the reverend Thomas Beames wrote of the area around the docks:
“Go there by day and every fourth man you meet is a sailor… Public houses abound in these localities… fitted up with everything which can draw sailors together… in a third class of house were professional thieves … they were evidently preying upon the drunken sailors whose ill luck had led them to places where they were little acquainted.”

English: The front of the Custom Office, Londo...
The front of the Custom Office, London Dock, designed by Daniel Asher Alexander and in use 1811-43.            
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The docks specialised in high-value luxury commodities such as ivory, spices, coffee and cocoa as well as wine and wool, for which elegant warehouses and wine cellars were constructed. 

In 1864 they were amalgamated with St Katharine Docks. The system was never connected to the railway network. Together with the rest of the enclosed docks, the London Docks were taken over by the Port of London Authority in 1909.

The docks were finally closed to shipping in 1969 and sold to the borough of Tower Hamlets, which filled in the western portion of the London Docks with the (unrealised) intention of turning them into public housing estates. The land was still largely derelict when it was acquired in 1981 by the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC).

Warehouses No. 1 and No. 2, are all that survive of the original nine Georgian warehouses erected on the North Quay of West India Quay by the West India Dock Company to store sugar, rum and coffee  the produce of the slave plantations of the Caribbean. The other warehouses were destroyed during the Second World War in September 1940.

Do you want to experience the bustle and hustle of Victorian Wapping? 
Visit the amazing museum on the Docklands.

Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay

English: St Katharine Docks. St Katharine Dock...
St Katharine Docks are on the north side of the river Thames just east (downstream) of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge  in the area now known as the Docklands, and are a popular housing and leisure complex.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: London Docks - unloading port wine fr...
London Docks - unloading port wine from Oporto, circa 1909 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Embracing Scandal by Suzi Love is the first in my Scandalous Siblings Series and highlights share trading in London.  Goods are shipped from the Jamison family's factories from these London Docks. 

Where to Buy Embracing Scandal 

 Amazon USA- Amazon AustraliaAmazon UK
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Maggi Andersen said...

Thanks for the interesting post, Suzi, the docks have a fascinating history.

Anonymous said...

I Love the docks area in any port. There's something mysteriously dark in their history. Informative post Suzi :)

Joanna Lloyd said...

So interesting to hear about the history of the London Docks, Suzi. The docks are the heart of any coastal town/city and host a plethora of dark events!

Anonymous said...

The Western Dock was connected to the Thames by Hermitage Basin to the south west and Wapping Basin to the south.


Alison Stuart said...

Thank you for another informative post, Suzi. Your posts are a fabulous resource!