PortCities London

The port in 1901

The London and St Katharine Docks

The London Docks

The Western Quay at the London Docks.
View full size imageThe Western Quay at the London Docks, c. 1890. © NMM

By the time of the 1901 census, the London Docks had long been eclipsed by the more spacious docks further downriver.

Although there were more than 30 ships there on census night, most were small sailing ships.


The 'Jeanette Francoise' (1893).
View full size imageThe Jeanette Francoise (1893). © NMM

The most important vessels there were sailing ships serving long-distance routes, mainly the Australian wool trade.

The largest of these was the Dutch four-masted barque Jeanette Francoise (1893).

The 'Neotsfield' (1889).
View full size imageThe Neotsfield (1889). © NMM

The most famous ship in the London Docks was the Neotsfield (1889).

Built in Dumbarton for the Australian wool trade, she later carried nitrates from South America.


In Shadwell Basin was another veteran of the Australia trade, the four-masted barque Port Jackson (1883). Other sailing ships included the Saga, bringing Norwegian ice to London, and several Scandinavian and German vessels. 

The 'City of Verviers' (1875).
View full size imageThe City of Verviers (1875). © NMM
The steamships in the London Docks were far smaller and served short sea routes. These included the City of Verviers (1875), the Lady Roberts, which made regular trips to Dublin for the British and Irish Steam Packet Company, and the Plato, formerly of Hull's Wilson Line.


The St Katharine Docks

The 1901 census recorded more than 20 vessels in the St Katharine Dock. This small dock was never able to accommodate the largest ships even when it opened in 1828. By 1901, it was handling short sea steamers from ports such as Glasgow, Amsterdam and Bremen.

The 'Adler' (1900).
View full size imageThe Adler (1900). © NMM

The Argo Line steamship Adler (1900) operated on the London to Bremen route until 1914. She often brought Jewish emigrants from Eastern Europe.  

The 'Portland' (1887).
View full size imageThe Portland (1887). © NMM
The Portland (1887) was a general cargo short sea vessel of the Glasgow-based Clyde Shipping Company (CSC). This line operated between Glasgow and several British and Irish ports. After 1884, CSC vessels sailed directly into the St Katharine Docks. 

The Redstart (1880).
View full size imageThe Redstart (1880). © NMM
The Redstart (1880), a short sea general cargo vessel, belonged to the General Steam Navigation Company (GSNC). She made regular trips between London and the North Sea and Channel ports.

The 'Capulet' (1874).
View full size imageThe Capulet (1874). © NMM
The GSNC's Capulet (1874) made regular trips between London and the ports of South East England. She was scrapped in 1903.



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