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Linking the port - ferries

The early ferries
The Woolwich Free Ferry
Woolwich Ferry from the 1920s
The Woolwich Ferry today
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Woolwich Ferry.
View full size imageA novel view of one of the Woolwich Ferry ships in 1956. © NMM

Until the 18th century, there was only one bridge across the Thames in London, and most people used ferries to cross the river.

Few ferries lasted as long as those in Greenwich and Woolwich. While bridges replaced ferries in west London, people downriver from the port continued to depend on ferries until modern times.

The Woolwich Ferry: the Southern Terminal.
View full size imageThe Woolwich Ferry: the Southern Terminal. © NMM
The Greenwich ferry closed in the 1890s, but the Woolwich Free Ferry, opened in 1889, became an important institution.

Today, the Woolwich Ferry is one of the few free ferries remaining in Britain, and it offers an almost unique view of the Thames.


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