Greenwich Map

The River Today

So far in this blog, we have given some brief impressions of how the London River had evolved from being the principal highway for people and goods through the capital since medieval times to becoming the greatest port in the world, alive with ships and shipbuilders, industry and commerce while also serving, until the late 19th century, as the city’s principal sewer and source of much of its ill-health.

A low point was reached between 1940 and 1945 as the City, port and shipping became principal targets of frequent and devastating German bombing raids to be followed by a very slow post-War response in rebuilding and repairing this extensive wartime damage, of which there are still many remnants and reminders.

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Over the last quarter-century, the redevelopment and rescue of the River has rapidly gained pace. The rise of the Canary Wharf high-rise buildings, among the largest in Europe, on the old Isle of Dogs and West India Docks system, has become the principal beacon for renovation, new development and new uses for the River and its immediate environment.

An important feature of this rejuvenation has been the development of the Thames Clipper services now operating between Westminster and Woolwich. These large, highspeed catamarans give a frequent and reliable service linking the 12 piers along its route both for the growing number of commuters and the very many tourists seeking a stylish and comfortable way of taking in an impression and guided tour of many of the greatest sights, buildings and monuments.

In the final part of this blog, we return to the River to examine what we consider the exciting new prospects and opportunities for the London River over the next 40 years as well as the problems and risks that need to be tackled now.

Historic craft moored along the Embankment. The Wellington has recently acquired a sliver funnel.

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