Port Cities

An error has occured. Please email errors@cmsxml.com with the following information:

HOST: www.portcities.org.uk
SCRIPT: /london/server/show/ConNarrative.41/chapterId/523/The-20thcentury-port.html
QUERY: show=ConNarrative.41&chapterId;=523

mssql_query(): message: Transaction (Process ID 129) was deadlocked on lock resources with another process and has been chosen as the deadlock victim. Rerun the transaction. (severity 13)
  inc/utility/adodb/drivers/adodb-mssql.inc.php line 341

mssql_query(): Query failed
  inc/utility/adodb/drivers/adodb-mssql.inc.php line 341

Port Cities: About maritime London - The 20th-century portJump to content | Home

Portcities London

reflecting our cultures

[Bypass: Visit the Port Cites Consortium ]
[Bypass: Search Facilities ]
      Advanced Search

Maritime London Partnership

-Bypass site links |  Full graphics | About this Site | Feedback

On this site:

[Bypass: Main Menu ]
You are here:  PortCities London home > About maritime London

The 20th-century port

Chapter Index
Send this story to a friend | Printer-friendly version | View this story in pictures

Investment dries up

The 'Surat' in King George V Dock
View full size imageThe SS Surat in the King George V Dock, North Woolwich, c. 1955 © NMM
At the begining of the 20th century the Port of London was in trouble. Small profits led to a lack of investment in new facilities.

The port's facilities became increasingly inefficient at a time of rapid advances in technology. In response to these problems the Port of London Authority (PLA) was established in 1909.

The PLA took over the powers of all the existing companies and began a programme of modernisation.

Record trade

Discharging paper from Canada into a lighter in the Royal Docks.
View full size imageDischarging paper from Canada into a lighter in the Royal Docks, 1941. © NMM
During the 1920s and 1930s the port handled an increasing amount of goods. That was in spite of the major trade depression of the 1930s.

This continued after the Second World War, once the docks had recovered from the damage caused by German bombing. In the 1960s the amount of goods handled in the Port of London reached record levels.

Beginning of decline

After that time there was a rapid decline due to:

By 1981 all of the docks had closed. At the same time, much of the industry that had grown up along the Thames also declined, leaving large areas of Docklands derelict. 


In that year the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) was established to regenerate the area. This has since been transformed by new office, housing and transport developments.

Maritime London timeline


Britain and the world timeline

Science and technology

Chapter Index
Send this story to a friend | Printer-friendly version | View this story in pictures

[Bypass: Search Facilities ]
      Advanced Search



Container ships





Port of London Authority (PLA)




3 Images

Top | Legal & Copyright |  Partner Sites: Bristol | Hartlepool | Liverpool | Southampton | About this Site | Feedback | Full graphics