PortCities London

The port in 1901

The river
 

Miscellaneous vessels 

In the 1901 census, there were hundreds of vessels not in the main docks. They were either at the wharves, in the dry docks or on their way to the docks. Here is a selection.

The eel boats at Billingsgate

The Dutch eel boats.
View full size imageDutch eel boats. © NMM
At Billingsgate, next to what was London's largest fish market, there were five Dutch eel boats. All came from the villages of Worcum and Heeg. The Dutch had been given a monopoly on the import of eels to the City as a reward for supplying the City during the Great Fire of 1666.

Brewer's Quay

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

At Brewer's Quay were two North Sea steamers, the Dutch Amstelstroom and the General Steam Navigation Company's Widgeon (1876).

The Maasstroom (1900), of the Holland Steamship Company, was also on her way to this quay. She ran a regular service between Amsterdam and London and Hull.

Blackwall and Blackwall Reach

The tug 'Iona' (1876).
View full size imageThe tug Iona (1876). © NMM
The paddle tug Iona (1876) was one of scores of tugs that helped vessels in the Port of London. She was moored in Blackwall Reach.

The 'Vestal' (1898).
View full size imageThe Vestal (1898). © NMM
In Blackwall was Trinity Buoy Wharf, the maintenance and training headquarters of Trinity House until the 1980s. Here were moored two of the Corporation's lighthouse tenders, the Vestal and the Irene. These carried supplies and equipment to lighthouses in England and Wales.

The 'Tern' (1875).
View full size imageThe Tern (1875). © NMM

Several steamers of the General Steam Navigaton Company were in this area. The Plover (1875), a small steamer on the Antwerp run, was at Bellamy's Wharf in Rotherhithe. The Raven (1883) was nearby at Church Hole, while the Merlin (1875) and the Tern (1875) were across the river at Wapping.

The 'Falcon' (1876).
View full size imageThe Falcon (1876). © NMM

Further west at Tower Pier was the GSNC's Falcon (1876). From this spot,  the company ran passenger services to Southend. In 1926, the Falcon was destroyed by fire after 50 years of service.

 

Blackwall Dry Dock

The 'Lismore Castle' (1891).
View full size imageThe Lismore Castle (1891). © NMM

Political events in 1901 ensured that the Thames Dry Dock in Blackwall had an unusual visitor. This was the Castle Line's Lismore Castle (1891).

She served on the Southampton - South Africa route until the Boer War, when she was used as a troopship. As the war was still raging at the time of the census, it is likely she was in the dry dock to be converted into a troopship.

The ambulance steamer Albert Victor

The Albert Victor ambulance steamer at Long Reach pier.
View full size imageThe Albert Victor at Long Reach pier. © NMM

At the South Wharf in Rotherhithe was the Metropolitan Asylums Board's paddle steamer Albert Victor. Since 1885, she had carried London's smallpox patients out to the hospital ships in Long Reach, near Dartford.

 

The Regent's Canal Basin

The 'Arendal' (1855).
View full size imageThe Arendal (1855). © NMM
There were more than 20 vessels in this small basin linking the Thames with the Regent's Canal. Of these, 12 were Scandinavian sailing ships engaged in the timber and ice trades. Typical of these was the brig Arendal (1855).

 





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