For centuries before the building of the docks, the riverside wharves WERE the Port of London. With the coming of the docks, the wharves became busier than ever. There were many types of wharf, reflecting the rich variety of commercial life on the river.
The wharves, not the docks, were the visible face of the port for millions of people. With new housing and office blocks now lining the riverside, it is difficult to imagine just how busy the river once was.