Linking the port - ferries
|The Woolwich Free Ferry|
Protests in Woolwich
The Woolwich Free Ferry was established because of the protests of Woolwich residents. Most of London's bridges were private businesses that charged tolls from those that used them. This discouraged most ordinary people from using them unless there was no alternative.
In 1877, Parliament passed the Metropolis Toll Bridges Act. This allowed the Metropolitan Board of Works (the MBW - predecessor of the London County Council) to buy up the private bridges and abolish the tolls.
The Free Ferry
Although the protests were successful, Woolwich still had to wait many years for its own crossing. The MBW began work in 1887.
By the time the ferry opened in March 1889, the MBW had just been wound up and replaced by the new London County Council.
The first paddle steamers
They were licensed to carry 1000 passengers and up to 20 vehicles. The first two were built at Green’s Blackwall Yard.
The paddle steamers commemorated:
On either side of the river, passengers and vehicles entered the ferry boats through specially built ramps.
Vehicles were driven onto the boats via large ramps, while foot passengers used a smaller ramp alongside.
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