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Thames Ironworks

Shipbuilding in Britain in the late 19th century
Early years
'Leviathan Workshops'
Building steamships
Civil engineering and vehicles
Work and leisure at the Thames Ironworks
The HMS 'Albion' disaster
HMS 'Thunderer' and the closure of the ironworks
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Civil engineering and vehicles

From bridges to buoys

Span bridge made at the Thames Ironworks.
View full size imageA bridge for the Bengal-Nagpur Railway, made at the Thames Ironworks.
On the civil engineering side, the company's work ranged from bridges to dock gates and from iron ships' masts for the local shipbuilders to buoys for Trinity House.

This image is of the 46 m (150 ft) span bridge made in 1901 for the Shalimar Ferry on the Bengal-Nagpur Railway in India.

Major projects

Section of Blackwall tunnel.
View full size imageA section of the Blackwall Tunnel. 
The projects undertaken at the works also included:

  • the iron ribs for the domes of the International Exhibition Building at South Kensington, in 1862
  • roofs for the Royal Aquarium in Westminster and Alexandra Palace
  • Blackfriars Railway Bridge (1860-69)
  • Hammersmith Bridge (1883-87)
  • sections of Sir Alexander Binnie's Blackwall Tunnel in 1895. The tunnel was more than 1300 metres (4410 feet) long and passed under the Thames to Greenwich.

Cars and lorries

Thames Ironworks Exhibition at Crystal Palace Automobile Show
View full size imageThames Ironworks exhibition at the Crystal Palace Automobile Show. 
The company also diversified into vehicle manufacturing. These two photographs show lorries from the Thames Ironworks exhibitions at the 1905 Crystal Palace Automobile Show and the 1906 Olympia Show.

Thames Ironworks exhibition at Olympia
View full size imageThames Ironworks exhibition at Olympia.

 

 


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Glossary
Buoy
Dock

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StoriesHMS 'Warrior': 'A black snake among rabbits'?
Britain's first iron-hulled warship
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StoriesThe 19th-century port
Docks and industry transform the Thames
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GalleriesFamous Thames ships
The great and the good
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Fact fileHMS ‘Thunderer’
The HMS Thunderer was the last ship constructed at Blackwall.
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GamesShip Trumps
Which ships were the fastest? (Flash 6 player needed for game)
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Related Resources
Related Images46 Images
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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