PortCities London

The Tudor and Stuart port

Royal Dockyards and Trinity House

Shipbuilding centre

Henry VIII, 1491-1547.

View full size imageKing Henry VIII (1491-1547). © NMM

The Thames became an important shipbuilding centre during the Tudor period.

Henry VIII's attempts to recover English possessions on the continent led to war with France in 1512. To transport his army across the Channel and defend England and her trade routes he needed a strong navy. 

At that time, Portsmouth was the country's most important naval dockyard. However, it was a long way from the Royal Armouries in the Tower of London, where ships were fitted with cannons and artillery.

So Henry decided to construct two dockyards on the Thames to build warships. They were built during 1513-14 at Woolwich and Deptford - places close enough to London to obtain arms and a labour force.

Woolwich and Deptford

<TABLE class="embedTableRight" width="70" b