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The PORT OF LONDON lies along the banks of the River Thames
River Thames
from the capital to the North Sea . Once the largest port in the world, it is currently the United Kingdom's second largest port, after Grimsby & Immingham . The port is governed by the Port of London
London
Authority (PLA), a public trust established in 1908, whose responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames.

The port can handle cruise liners, roll-on roll-off ferries , and cargo of all types. It is not located in one area - it stretches along the tidal river , including central London
London
, with many individual wharfs , docks , terminals and facilities built incrementally over the centuries. As with many similar historic European ports, such as Antwerp and Rotterdam , the bulk of activities has steadily moved downstream towards the open sea, as ships have grown larger and other uses take up land closer to the city's centre.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 The Roman Port in London
London
* 1.2 Pool of London * 1.3 Enclosed dock systems * 1.4 Dockhands * 1.5 Port industries * 1.6 The move downstream

* 2 The Port today

* 2.1 Intraport traffic * 2.2 Proposed expansion

* 3 Policing the Port * 4 See also * 5 Bibliographic References * 6 References * 7 External links

HISTORY

The Port of London
London
has been central to the economy of London
London
since the founding of the city in the 1st century and was a major contributor to the growth and success of the city. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was the busiest port in the world, with wharves extending continuously along the Thames for 11 miles (18 km), and over 1,500 cranes handling 60,000 ships per year. In World War II
World War II
it was a prime target for the Luftwaffe during The Blitz .

THE ROMAN PORT IN LONDON

The first evidence of a reasonable sized trading in London
London
can be seen during Roman control of Britain, at which time the Romans built the original harbour. The construction involved expanding the waterfront using wooden frames filled with dirt. Once these were in place the wharf was built in four stages moving downstream from the London Bridge (Brigham). The port began to rapidly grow and prosper during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, and saw its final demise in the early 5th century with the decline in trade activity. The changes made to the banks along the port made by the Romans are so substantial and long lasting that it was hard to tell where the natural waterfront really began (Milne).

London
London
became a very important trading port for the Romans at its height in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The harbour town grew and expanded quickly. The lavish nature of goods traded in London
London
shaped the extravagant lifestyle of its citizens and the city flourished under Roman colonization (Hall "> Legal Quays between Billingsgate Dock and the Tower of London
London
in John Rocque's plan of 1746. Behind Legal Quays lay Thames Street, with its warehouses, sugar refineries and cooperages.

Until the beginning of the 19th century, shipping was handled entirely within the Pool of London on the stretch of the River Thames along Billingsgate on the south side of the City of London
City of London
. All imported cargoes had to be delivered for inspection and assessment by Customs Officers, giving the area the name of " Legal Quays ". The Pool saw a phenomenal increase in both overseas and coastal trade in the second half of the 18th century. Two thirds of coastal vessels using the Pool were colliers meeting an increase in the demand for coal as the population of London
London
rose. Coastal trade virtually doubled between 1750 and 1796 reaching 11,964 vessels in 1795. In overseas trade, in 1751 the pool handled 1,682 ships and 234,639 tons of goods. By 1794 this had risen to 3,663 ships and 620,845 tons. By this time the river was lined with nearly continuous walls of wharves running for miles along both banks, and hundreds of ships moored in the river or alongside the quays. In the late 18th century an ambitious scheme was proposed by Willey Reveley to straighten the Thames between Wapping and Woolwich
Woolwich
Reach by cutting a new channel across the Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe
, Isle of Dogs and Greenwich
Greenwich
peninsulas. The three great horseshoe bends would be cut off with locks, as huge wet docks. This was not realised, though a much smaller channel, the City Canal , was subsequently cut across the Isle of Dogs.

ENCLOSED DOCK SYSTEMS

James Elmes' chart of the port, 1837, showing the enclosed docks at the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign.

London's Docklands had their origins in the lack of capacity in the Pool of London which particularly affected the West India trade. In 1799 The West India Dock Act allowed a new off-river dock to be built for produce from the West Indies and the rest of Docklands followed as landowners built enclosed docks with better security and facilities than the Pool's wharves.

Throughout the 19th century a series of enclosed dock systems was built, surrounded by high walls to protect cargoes from river piracy. These included West India Docks (1802), East India Docks
East India Docks
(1803, originating from the Brunswick Dock of 1790), London Docks (1805), Surrey Commercial Docks (1807, originating from the Howland Great Wet Dock of 1696), St Katharine Docks (1828), Royal Victoria Dock
Royal Victoria Dock
(1855), Millwall Dock (1868), Royal Albert Dock (1880), and Tilbury
Tilbury
docks (1886).

The enclosed docks were built by several rival private companies, notably the East & West India Docks Company (owners of the East India, West India and Tilbury
Tilbury
docks), Surrey Commercial Docks Company and London
London
& St Katharine Docks Company (owners of the London, St Katharine and Royal docks). By the beginning of the 20th century competition and strikes led to pressure for amalgamation. A Royal Commission led to the setting up of the Port of London Authority (PLA) in 1908. In 1909 the PLA took control of the enclosed docks from Tower Bridge to Tilbury, with a few minor exceptions such as Poplar Dock which remained as a railway company facility. It also took over control of the river between Teddington Lock and Yantlet Creek from the City corporation which had been responsible since the 13th century. The PLA head Office at Trinity Square Gardens was built by John Mowlem "> The London
London
docks in 1882. The King George V Dock (and Tilbury Docks
Tilbury Docks
, much further downstream) had not yet been built.

Summary timeline Principal enclosed docks of the Port of London
London
YEAR NAME COMPANY Area (water area unless stated) LOCATION NAME SIDE OF RIVER Approx. river distance below London Bridge COMMENTS

1802 West India Docks E Middle (Export) Dock: 24 acres (9.7 ha) Isle of Dogs north 3 mi (4.8 km)

1803 East India Docks
East India Docks
E Eastern Dock: 7 acres (2.8 ha); 30 acres (12 ha) (land) Wapping north 1.5 mi (2.4 km)

1807 Surrey Commercial Docks SCDC 17th-century original: 10 acres (4.0 ha); eventually reached: 460 acres (190 ha) Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe
south 4 mi (6.4 km) originating from the Howland Great Wet Dock of 1696

1828 St Katharine Docks L&StKDC 23 acres (9.3 ha) (land) Tower Hamlets north 1 mi (1.6 km)

1855 Royal Victoria Dock
Royal Victoria Dock
L">Plaistow Marshes today Silvertown north 8 mi (13 km)

1860s South West India Dock E 200 acres (81 ha) (land) Millwall
Millwall
north 4 mi (6.4 km)

1880 Royal Albert Dock L&StKDC ? Gallions Reach north 11.5 mi (18.5 km)

1886 Tilbury Docks
Tilbury Docks
E&WIDC ? Tilbury
Tilbury
north 25 mi (40 km)

1912 King George V Dock PLA 64 acres (26 ha) North Woolwich
Woolwich
north 11 mi (18 km)

KEY Company name abbreviation COMPANY NAME

E&WIDC East & West India Docks Company

L&StKDC London
London
"> Charles de Lacy , "Mist in port, London"

By 1900, the wharves and docks were receiving about 7.5 million tons of cargo each; an inevitable result of the extending reach of the British Empire. Of course, because of its size and grandeur, the Port was a place of work for many laborers in late 19th and early 20th century London. While most of the dockers were casual laborers, there were skilled workers in the stevedores who skillfully loaded ships and the lightermen who unloaded cargo from moored boats via barges. While these specific dockhands found regular work, the average dockhand lived day to day, hoping he would be hired whenever a ship came in. Many times these workers would actually bribe simply for a day's work; and a day's work could be 24 hours of continuous laboring. In addition, the work itself was incredibly dangerous. A docker would suffer a fatal injury from falling cargo almost every week during 1900, and nonfatal injuries happened even more often.

The London
London
dockers handled exotic imports such as precious stones, African ivory, Indian spices, and Jamaican rum that they could never dream of purchasing themselves, and so robberies were very common on the London
London
docks. Dockers would either hide goods under their clothes while leaving or break into warehouses at night, although the later strategy was only employed by professional robbers. While tobacco, pineapples, bearskins, and other goods were all targets of thievery, the most common transgression was drinking. Many reports from the early 20th century detail dockers stealing bottles of brandy or gin and drinking rather than working. More often than not, the consequences were harsh. Five weeks of hard labor for one bottle of Hennessy was not unheard of.

These conditions eventually spurred Ben Tillett to lead the London Dock strike of 1889 . Even though the workers asked for only a minuscule increase in payment, foremen initially refused. Over time the strike grew and eventually the strike helped to draw attention to the poor conditions of London
London
dockhands. The strike also revitalized the British Trades Union movement, leading to the betterment of laborers across London.

PORT INDUSTRIES

Workers of the port of London
London
unloading "Argentine chilled beef", August 1935.

Alongside the docks many port industries developed, some of which (notably sugar refining , edible oil processing , vehicle manufacture and lead smelting ) survive today. Other industries have included iron working, casting of brass and bronze, shipbuilding , timber, grain, cement and paper milling, armament manufacture, etc. London
London
dominated the world submarine communication cable industry for decades with works at Greenwich
Greenwich
, Silvertown , North Woolwich
Woolwich
, Woolwich
Woolwich
and Erith .

For centuries London
London
was the major centre of shipbuilding in Britain (for example at Blackwall Yard , London Yard , Samuda Yard , Millwall Iron Works , Thames Ironworks , Greenwich
Greenwich
, and Deptford and Woolwich dockyards), but declined relative to the Clyde and other centres from the mid-19th century. This also affected an attempt by Henry Bessemer to establish steel-making on the Greenwich
Greenwich
Peninsula in the 1860s. The last major warship, HMS _Thunderer_ , was launched in 1911. A ship berths in the busy Upper Pool in 1962

The volume of shipping in the Port of London
London
supported a very extensive ship repairing industry. In 1864, when most ships coming in were built of wood and powered by sail, there were 33 ship-repairing dry docks. The largest of these was Langley\'s Lower Dock at Deptford Green , which was 460 ft (140 m) in length. While the building of large ships ceased with the closure of the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company at Leamouth in 1912, the ship repairing trade continued to flourish. Although by 1930 the number of major dry docks had been reduced to 16, highly mechanised and geared to the repair of iron and steel-hulled ships.

There were also numerous power stations and gas works on the Thames and its tributaries and canals. Major Thames-side gasworks were located at Beckton and East Greenwich
Greenwich
, with power stations including Brimsdown , Hackney and West Ham on the River Lea and Kingston , Fulham
Fulham
, Lots Road , Wandsworth , Battersea , Bankside , Stepney , Deptford , Greenwich
Greenwich
, Blackwall Point , Brunswick Wharf
Wharf
, Woolwich
Woolwich
, Barking
Barking
, Belvedere , Littlebrook , West Thurrock , Northfleet , Tilbury
Tilbury
and Grain on the Thames.

The coal requirements of power stations and gas works constituted a large proportion of London's post-war trade. A 1959 _Times_ article states:

_About two-thirds of the 20 million tons of coal entering the Thames each year is consumed in nine gas works and 17 generating stations. Beckton Gas Works carbonises an average of 4,500 tons of coal every day; the largest power stations burn about 3,000 tons during a winter day.._

_.. Three more power stations, at Belvedere (Oil-firing), and Northfleet and West Thurrock (coal-firing), are being built._

This coal was handled directly by riverside coal handling facilities, rather than the docks. For example, Beckton Gas Works had two large piers which dealt with both its own requirements and with the transfer of coal to lighters for delivery to other gasworks.

A considerable proportion of the drop in London's trade since the 1960s is accounted for by loss of the coal trade, the gas works having closed following discovery of North Sea Gas , domestic use of coal for heating being largely replaced by gas and electricity, and closure of all the coal-burning power stations above Tilbury. In 2011, when Tilbury
Tilbury
Power Station switched fully to burning biomass, London's coal imports fell to zero.

THE MOVE DOWNSTREAM

Tilbury
Tilbury
in 1946, before major expansion as a container port.

With the use of larger ships and containerisation , the importance of the upstream port declined rapidly from the mid-1960s. The enclosed docks further up river declined and closed progressively between the end of the 1960s and the early 1980s. Trade at privately owned wharves on the open river continued for longer, for example with container handling at the Victoria Deep Water Terminal on the Greenwich Peninsula into the 1990s, and bulk paper import at Convoy\'s Wharf
Wharf
in Deptford until 2000. The wider port continued to be a major centre for trade and industry, with oil and gas terminals at Coryton , Shell Haven and Canvey in Essex
Essex
and the Isle of Grain in Kent. In 1992 Government privatisation policy led to Tilbury
Tilbury
becoming a freeport. The PLA ceased to be a port operator, retaining the role of managing the Thames.

Much of the disused land of the upstream London Docklands is in the process of being developed for housing and as a second financial district for London
London
(centred on Canary Wharf
Wharf
).

THE PORT TODAY

See also: List of locations in the Port of London _ Container ship Carpathia_ unloading at Northfleet Hope terminal, Tilbury
Tilbury

The Port of London
London
today comprises over 70 independently owned terminals and port facilities, directly employing over 30,000 people. These are mainly concentrated at Purfleet (with the world's largest margarine works), Thurrock , Tilbury
Tilbury
(the Port's current main container facility), London Gateway , Coryton and Canvey Island in Essex
Essex
, Dartford and Northfleet in Kent
Kent
, and Greenwich
Greenwich
, Silvertown , Barking
Barking
, Dagenham and Erith in Greater London
Greater London
.

The Port of London
London
handles containers , timber, paper, vehicles, aggregates , crude oil , petroleum products , liquefied petroleum gas , coal, metals, grain and other dry and liquid bulk materials.

In 2012 London
London
was the second largest port in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
by tonnage handled (43.7 million), after Grimsby and Immingham (60 million). The Port of London
London
however handles the most non-fuel cargo of any port in the UK (at 32.2 million tonnes in 2007). Other major rival ports to London
London
in the country are Felixstowe and Southampton , which handle the most and second-most number of containers of British ports; in 2012 London
London
handled the third most and the Medway ports (chiefly London Thamesport ) the fifth.

The number of twenty-foot equivalent units of containers handled by the Port of London
London
exceeded two million in 2007 for the first time in the Port's history and this continued in 2008. The Port's capacity in handling modern, large ships and containers is set to dramatically expand with the completion of the London Gateway port project, which will be able to handle up to 3.5 million TEUs per year when fully completed.

With around 12,500 commercial shipping movements annually, the Port of London
London
handles around 10% of the UK commercial shipping trade, and contributes 8.5 billion pounds to the UK\'s economy . In addition to cargo, 37 cruise ships visited the Port in 2008. Tate & Lyle refinery plant at Silvertown , London
London

Once a major refiner of crude oil, today the port only imports refined products. The Kent
Kent
(BP ) and Shell Haven (Shell ) refineries closed in 1982 and 1999, and Coryton in 2012. A number of upstream wharves remain in use. At Silvertown , for example, Tate "> Construction of London Gateway under way, 2010.

In terms of number of containers, London
London
currently ranks third in the UK after the ports of Southampton and Felixstowe. This is likely to change in future as a major new facility at the Shell Haven refinery site - DP World\'s _ London Gateway _ - is under construction. Government approval was given in May 2007 for the redevelopment of this 607 hectares (1,500 acres) brownfield site, which has a two-mile (3 km) river frontage. The developers plan a port capable of handling the largest deep-sea container ships, including a 2,300 metre long container quay with a capacity of 3.5 million standard container units a year. The development will also include a 300 hectares (740 acres) 'logistics and business park', with direct links to the rail network. This might re-establish London's pre-eminence as originally intended by the PLA in the 1960s with its proposed development of a deep-sea port at Maplin Sands as part of the proposed third London
London
airport site.

POLICING THE PORT

The Port of London
London
once had its own police force - the Port of London Authority Police - but is today policed by a number of forces. These are the local Home Office
Home Office
forces of the areas the Thames passes through (the Metropolitan , City of London
City of London
, Essex
Essex
and Kent constabularies) and the Port of Tilbury Police (formed in 1992 and a remnant of the old PLA force). The Metropolitan police have a special Marine Support Unit , formerly known as the Thames Division, which patrol and police the Thames in the Greater London
Greater London
area. A sixth police force in the Port may be established with the creation of the London Gateway port.

SEE ALSO

* London
London
portal

* London
London
River Services * Pool of London * Thames steamships

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

* Brigham, Trevor. 1998. “The Port of Roman London.” In Roman London
London
Recent Archeological Work, edited by B. Watson, 23-34. Michigan: Cushing-Malloy Inc. Paper read at a seminar held at The Museum of London, 16 November. * Hall, Jenny, and Ralph Merrifield . Roman London. London: HMSO Publications, 1986. * Milne, Gustav, and Nic Bateman. "A Roman Harbour in London; Excavations and Observations near Pudding Lane, City of London 1979-82." Britannia 14 (1983): 207-26. * Milne, Gustav. The Port of Roman London. London: B.T. Batsford, 1985.

REFERENCES

* ^ _A_ _B_ Museum of London. "Museum of London
London
Docklands". Museumindocklands.org.uk. Archived from the original on 30 January 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010. * ^ "\'\'The West India Docks: Introduction\'\', Survey of London: volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs (1994), pp. 247-248. Date accessed: 16 April 2010". British-history.ac.uk. 22 June 2003. Retrieved 30 April 2010. * ^ _Clout, H. (Ed) 1994, The Times London
London
History Atlas_, Times Books, ISBN 0-7230-0342-4 * ^ Mowlem 1822 - 1972, p.8 * ^ Lovell, John (1969). _Stevedores and Dockers: A Study of Trade Unionism in the Port of London, 1870-1914_. London. p. 19. * ^ Schneer, Jonathan (1999). _ London
London
1900: The Imperial Metropolis_. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 43. * ^ Schneer, Jonathan (1999). _ London
London
1900: The Imperial Metropolis_. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 47. * ^ Royal Museums Greenwich. "The Great Dock Strike of 1889". _Port Cities London_. * ^ "Bessemer\'s autobiography Chapter 21". History.rochester.edu. Retrieved 30 April 2010. * ^ Dockland Life: A Pictorial History of London's Docks, 1860-1970 by Chris Ellmers and Alex Werner, Mainstream Publishing Company, Edinburgh, 1995, ISBN 1-85158-364-5 * ^ Special
Special
Correspondent (16 March 1959). "Industries along the Riverside". news. _The Times_ (54410). London. col A, p. xi. * ^ "Port of London
London
2011 Trade Stable". Port of London
London
Authority. 13 Feb 2011. Archived from the original on 1 June 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012. * ^ "Port of London
London
Economic Impact Study". Port of London Authority. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2009. * ^ "Statistical data set PORT01 - UK ports and traffic". Department for Transport. * ^ "Port Freight Statistics: Provisional Annual 2012" (PDF). Department for Transport. * ^ " London
London
Plan Implementation Report: Safeguarded Wharves on the River Thames" (PDF). Mayor of London. 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2009. * ^ PLA News Crossrail
Crossrail
will move 5m tonnes via River Archived 4 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine . * ^ P;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v

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