The 19th-century port
|Steamships and the Royal Victoria Dock|
The steam age arrives
Adoption of the new technology was slow and it was not until 1875 that the tonnage of steam vessels using the port was larger than that of sailing ships. In that year steam represented just over 5 million tons and sail less than 4 million tons.
The 'Great Eastern'
Built at Millwall between 1853 and 1857, she was the largest ship in the world when she was launched. But the Great Eastern was a failure as a passenger liner and was only successfully used to lay cables.
The Thunderer, launched in 1912 at the ironworks, was the Thames's last contribution to the Royal Navy. The Clydeside, Merseyside and Belfast shipyards took over that role, being closer to sources of coal and iron.
The Royal Victoria Dock
The Royal Victoria Dock was opened by Prince Albert in 1855. It was built slightly to the east of the mouth of the Lea.
The Royal Victoria Dock covered almost 45 hectares (100 acres) of water with a total length of 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles).
New dock features
The Victoria incorporated several new features:
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