The Tudor and Stuart port
|Improving the port|
It was the first dock on the Thames to be fitted with gates. The dock was later incorporated into the Brunswick Dock, which in turn became part of the East India Dock.Bigger ships
In the 1560s the Merchant Adventurers used about 30 ships, totalling perhaps 1500 tons, in their Antwerp trade. No merchant ships of over 100 tons were built on the Thames.
Between 1591 and 1618, 317 such ships, totalling over 90,000 tons were built in East London. Many of them came from the yards at Deptford and Blackwall.
The Blackwall yards
On the left of the picture, the ship shown side-on is probably the fifth-rate Adventure. The vessel nearby, flying the Union flag, is probably the Venerable. The first and third ships from the right, on the stocks, are two merchantmen.Plague and fire
The government charged a tax on coal brought into the port to help pay for the cost of rebuilding London, including the new port facilities.The Thames highway
Until the time of the Great Fire, London had spread out along the Thames. The streets were narrow, poorly paved and of little use for traffic.
Because of this, the river was used as the main highway for people and goods, as the limits of the City were within easy reach of one or other of the waterside stairs.The Howland Dock
The dock was built as a harbour and fitting-out place for up to 50 ships. Trees were planted around the dock as a protection against the wind.
It became very popular after a great storm in 1703 wrecked several ships moored in the river. The Howland Dock was the centre of what became the Surrey Commercial Docks.
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