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Surrey Docks

Place  From 1696  To 1969

Categories: Commerce, Transport

The south bank of the Thames used to be in Surrey, now in Southwark. The first dock created here in 1696 was initially named Howland Great Wet Dock and then Greenland Dock due to the whaling ships that used it. By the mid 1800s the Commercial Dock Company had built many other docks on the east side of the Rotherhithe peninsula and the Surrey Dock Company had done the same on the west side. In 1865 the two companies merged to form the Surrey Commercial Docks Company. The bodies of water that we can see named on the 1889 insurance map are: Globe Pond, Lavender Pond, Acorn Pond, Lady Dock, Norway Dock, Greenland Dock, South Dock, Stave Dock, Russia Dock, Island Dock, Basin, Albion Dock, Canada Dock, Canada Pond, Quebec Pond, Centre Pond, Commercial Basin, Grand Surrey Canal.

1895-1904 Greenland Dock was greatly enlarged by John Wolfe-Barry, approximately doubling in length and depth.

The docks were badly damaged by bombing in WW2, but it was the containerisation of international freight transport that brought the end of these docks - they were too small for the size of those ships.

Largely drained and filled in, the area was redeveloped during the 1980s and 90s and renamed Surrey Quays.

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Surrey Docks

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Hydraulic lock gate engine

Hydraulic Lock Gate Engine This machinery was installed in 1902, at the time ...

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Hydraulic sluice

Hydraulic Sluice The sluice gate inside this pit was raised and lowered using...

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Lock Keepers Office

Lock Keepers Office The crews of men who worked ships in and out of Greenland...

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Norway cut swing bridge

Norway cut swing bridge This footbridge, with its granite paving, formerly st...

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Surrey Docks fire - first bomb of the Blitz

Surrey Docks fire. On September 7th 1940 the docks were set on fire in the fi...

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