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Anorak | Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of London’s River Thames 1895-2000

Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of London’s River Thames 1895-2000

by | 14th, February 2014

ONCE upon a time, the River Thames was a working river. The docks thrived. The Ports of London was a hive of imports, business and skullduggery. No part of London has changed more than the docks. In the late 1930s, London Docks was the busiest port in the world. Forty years late, the docks were a grim hangover from a greater age. In the 1980s and 90s, the area underwent a huge transformation. Once unloved streets are now remarkable for how hard it is to book a table for lunch.

We’ve trawled the archives to bring you this story of the River Thames in London before 2000.

 

The Tram

PA 4597276 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
Trams running along the Victoria Embankment. The ancient Egyptian stele taken from Egypt and known as Cleopatra’s Needle can be seen in the background. Date: 01/02/1904

 

Tower Bridge – London

PA 13499376 1 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

A view of Tower Bridge on the River Thames in London, when the river froze over in December of 1895. Date: 31/12/1895

 

 

Deadman’s Dock – Deptford Wharf (1911)

PA 2288599 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Deadman’s Dock, or Dodman’s Dock, was named after the shipbuilders Dudman & Company, who operated here at the end of the 18th century. It was bought from them by the Brighton and South Coast Railway Company in 1850. It was then owned by Southern Railway and eventually British Rail after nationalisation, until it closed in 1970. It is now the site of the Surrey Quays shopping centre on the Isle of Dogs.

 

 

Unloading tobacco at the Royal Victoria Docks

PA 4791551 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

 

Hemp

PA 4791638 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Opened in 1855 on a previously uninhabited area of the Plaistow Marshes, it was the first of the Royal Docks and the first London dock to be designed specifically to accommodate large steam ships.

 

 

Tower Bridge – London

PA 13499276 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

A workman on one of the gantry ways high above Tower Bridge, London. Date: 01/01/1913

 

 

The Ivory Floor

PA 4791595 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

A view of the “Ivory Floor” where elephant tusks, boar tusks, narwhale horns, rhinocerous horns and sometimes mammoth tusks are ranged in incredible profusion. It is said than many, perhaps most of the tusks of elephants displayed are not of freshly killed beasts, but are old treasures of Chiefs, reluctantly surrendered, stored maybe, for centuries in remote African Villages. The picture shows men moving some of the large tusks on specially constructed trolleys. Date: 01/01/1913

 

 

PA 4791609 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Raw rubber being prepared for sale.

 

 

Floods – London – 1928

PA 2104102 1 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


A rowing boat washed up from the Thames in to Page Street, Westminster, London. On January 6, 1928 the flood tide in central London was 1.8m above predicted level. Fourteen people drowned in their basements. Four thousand were made homeless.

 


Thames Police headquarters at Wapping.

PA 5623653 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

The Thames Police originated in 1798 and was the first force of it’s kind ever set up and was to act as the blueprint for many of the police forces that were to follow it. The force was absorbed into the Metropolitan Force in 1839 and was renamed ‘The Thames Division’, but to most people on and off the river it is still just ‘The Thames Police’. Date: 07/09/1934

 

 

Children at Play – London – 1935

PA 5704912 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Children playing at Greenwich Riverside. Date: 26/09/1935

 

 

Free and easy

PA 5809047 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

A horse and along with it’s carriage take a dip in the Thames, Vauxhall to cool off in the summer heat. Date: 22/08/1935

 

 

London Mackenzie King

PA 12157470 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

W.L. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, left, leads the public over the new steel suspension bridge over the River Thames at Chelsea, London, May 6, 1937, which he opened when he cut the tape.

 

 

Leslie Burgin Inspecting Tunnel

PA 11232970 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Leslie Burgin, Minister of Transport, inspected the Dartford-Purfleet pilot tunnel, England on Nov. 28, 1938. This pilot, which is nearing completion is 12 feet in diameter, passes under the bed of the River Thames, at a depth of 92.5 feet and has a total length of approximately 3,300 feet. It is the pilot to the construction of the larger tunnel, and when completed there was an error of only 3/8 of an inch in line and 3/16 this in level. The full size tunnel will be 28 feet in diameter, with a carriageway and two narrow patrol footpaths and will be approximately a mile in length from portal to portal. Leslie Burgin, right, coming through the tunnel on a light railway. Date: 28/11/1938

 

 

Working ports

PA 8695038 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Wartime goods and supplies are unloaded from barges and boats in the London docks, on the River Thames, Nov. 9, 1939.

 

 

WWII Europe British Isles People Transportation

PA 8389596 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
Londoners went to work by boat instead of usual bus or train, for a Thames boat in service between Westminster an wool with was inaugurate at 6.30 a.m. A Thames steamer, with Londoners on board going to work, off on a trip from Westminster in London on Sept. 3, 1940.

 

 

WWII London Blitz

PA 8300144 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Thames as seen the night of Sept.7, 1940 during the biggest raid of the war on London. The shipping was illuminated as the river reflected the flames from fires started in the industrial districts of the east end.

 

 

WWII British Isles

PA 96395171 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

 

The Essex Stairs and Archway in Essex Street, Strand, that leads to the Embankment were damaged in a raid on London on June 10, 1941. Several buildings in the street were also damaged. The stairs lead down to where the Thames flowed in former days.

 

 

PA 9306887 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


A Nazi Neinkel III wings over London during battle of Britain in autumn of 1940, in German aerial view now in hands of RRF, Sept. 13, 1945. Tower Bridge over Thames is at top, slightly to the right of the plane’’s left wingtip.

 

 

PA 9639517 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

With Tower in Bridge in the background, members of the allied forces who are taking courses at London University steam up the Thames in London, August 25, 1943. British Empire and American services are all represented in this happy boatload of sightseers, all of whom are enrolled in Weekend courses in various subjects, including current social and economic problems in the United Kingdom. Among them are Sgt. Calexto Mora, of Falfurrias, Texas; Sgt. Frank A. Lambright, Akron, O.; Sgt. William A. Hassett, Staunton, Va.; Yala Jacobson, American Red Cross of Washington and Cpl. Edward Kowersli, Chicago, Ill.

 

 

PA 9146727 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

This temporary bridge at Battersea, June 11, 1945, was one of three constructed over the Thames in London, capable of carrying tanks, guns, and heavy motor traffic if the permanent bridges were bombed. When the Hungerford Bridge at Westminster was hit by a buzz bomb in 1944 the substitute was opened for pedestrian traffic.

 

 

Moving of War Bridge – London

PA 11245836 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
The main navigational span, which was removed from the war-time bridge between Chelsea bridge and Albert bridge, is seen being maneuvered on the river Thames. The bridge is to be re-erected in Uganda for use in connection with the groundnut scheme. Date: 03/10/1948

 

 

Bankside Power Station – London – 1947

PA 1148914 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
The first stage of the preparations for the erection of the new Bankside Generating station, across the River Thames from St.Pauls Cathedral, in Southwark. Date: 05/11/1947

 

 

Historical Re-Enactment – The Vikings – London

PA 10677230 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


The cranes of London’s waterfront above Tower Bridge make a 1949 setting for the Viking long-ship ‘Hugin’, as it’s crew of Viking warriors row from Tower Pier to Richmond in Surrey.
It is taking part in number of events to commemorate the landing of the Norse leaders Hengist and Horsa at Broadstairs on the Kent coast 1500 years ago. Date: 01/08/1949

 

 

Short Solent Flying Boat – London – 1949

PA 54774251 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


A BOAC Short Solent flying boat moored off the Tower of London. Date: 05/05/1949

 

 

Doggett’s Coat and Badge – London

PA 5477425 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
Wearing his picturesque uniform as Bargemaster to the Fishmongers Company and assisted by a megaphone, Mr Harry Phelps starts the 235th race of the Thames Watermen for Doggett’s Coat and badge at London Bridge. Doggett’s Coat and Badge is the prize and name for the oldest rowing race in the world, and is believed to be the oldest sporting contest in continued existence. Date: 29/07/1949

 

 

Shipping – 1949

PA 6384425 1 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Lemons being unloaded from a ship in dock.

 

 

Animal Containers destined for Zoo arrives, Royal Albert Docks 1950

PA 6391562 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Animal containers destined for London Zoo arrive at the Royal Albert Docks and workmen carefully carry a python as a young boy looks on. Date: 05/08/1950

 

 

Clement Attlee speaks at Concert Hall ceremony

PA 1670827 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
Mr Clement Attlee, laying the foundation stone of a 2m Concert Hall being erected by London County Council on the South Bank of the Thames. Date: 12/10/1949

 

 

Port of London – 1950

PA 6127543 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
An aerial view of the Port of London.

 

 

Punch & Judy Shows – London – 1950

PA 6388665 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
Mother’s and children watch a Punch & Judy show at Putney on the Thames tow-path. Date: 21/03/1950

 

 

The Festival of Britain – London – 1951

PA 6407980 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


London County Council officials inspect the Festival of Britain South Bank wall. Left to right: E Bayliss (Chairman, General Purposes Committee); F M Fuller (LCC Divisional Engineer); I J Hayward (Leader of the LCC) and J Rawlinson (LCC Chief Architect). Date: 11/04/1951

 

 

South Bank

PA 11265266 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
People lazy in the midday sun at London’s South Bank. Date: 12/05/1951

 

 

London Scenes 1951

PA 6393313 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
A little girl sits on Embankment Wall at Lambeth Bridge and looks at the River Thames. Date: 20/02/1951

 
The Festival of Britain – London – 1951

PA 64001091 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
A view of the Festival of Britain, showing the Dome of Discovery, Skylon tower and Royal Festival Hall. Date: 01/06/1951

 

 

Dock Strikes – London

PA 13098093 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


The scene as dockers were cheered by their comrades after they had been remanded, on bail of £100 each, at Bow Street Magistrates Court, London. The six men were arrested last night and charged on warrants with conspiring to incite dockers to take part in an illegal strike Date: 09/02/1951

 

 

 

The Festival of Britain – London – 1951

PA 6400109 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000
Thames Water Bus Service – Passengers disembark from a water bus at the landing stage for the festival in Battersea Park. Date: 07/06/1951

 

 

The Festival of Britain – London – 1951

PA 6400307 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Thames Water Bus Service – A TWB flag. Date: 27/06/1951

 

 

Death of King George VI – London

PA 11886325 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Thousands of people slowly move along the south bank of the Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament to pay tribute to King George VI at his lying in state in Westminster Hall. Date: 13/02/1952

 

 

Water Walker of the World – London

PA 11534902 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


1947 and 1948 Champion Water Walker of the World Joe Simms carries dancer Margaret Cooper across the River Thames, London. His system of water locomotion is called ‘hydro-ambulation’. He stands erect and moves his legs with a slow cycle action. Date: 09/07/1951

 

 

Royal Navy – Midget Submarine – London Pool

PA 7359458 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

The midget submarine XE8 arriving at the Pool of London. Date: 01/10/1952

 

 

BRITAIN FLOODS 1953

PA 5844035 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


HMS Berkeley Castle, a Castle class frigate, lies on her side in a refitting basin at Sheerness, Kent, Feb. 1, 1953, after being capsized by high winds and rampaging seas. Sheerness, on the south bank of the Thames Estuary, 30 miles from London, was hit by bad weather which flooded Britain’s east coast last night.

 

 

Tower Beach – Tower of London

PA 7432994 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

 

PA 7390284 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Children enjoy the summer in the centre of London, paddling in the River Thames on a man made beach with Tower Bridge in the background. Date: 11/08/1953

 

 

Tower Beach – Tower of London

PA 7390293 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Children enjoy the summer in the centre of London on Tower beach, a man made beach on the banks of the Thames near Tower Bridge. Date: 11/08/1953

 

 

Victoria Embankment – 1954

PA 7513750 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Victoria Embankment, London, after the construction of the roadway. Date: 01/04/1954

 

 

Royalty – 1954 Royal Tour of the Commonwealth – London

PA 12511683 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


The Royal Barge on the River Thames bringing Queen Elizabeth II from the Royal Yacht Britannia, after returning from a tour of the Commonwealth. Date: 15/05/1954

 

PA 5182943 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

The Royal Yacht Britannia passes through Tower Bridge, wearing a ‘Welcome Home’ sign, as she entered the Pool of London at the end of a 50,000 mile journey for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, whom she had brought home from the tour of the Commonwealth.

 

 

Entertainment – High-Wire Motorcycle Act – London – 1954

PA 6379841 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


The “Bugler Brothers”, Alphonse (top) and Charles (below) when the motor-cycle of their high-wire act broke down during a crossing of the Thames at Battersea. Date: 31/05/1954

 

 

Schoolchildren on a passenger barge during a tour of the docks

PA 7978092 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Date: 10/06/1955

 

 

St Paul’s Cathedral – 1955

PA 4453208 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


The River Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral from Bankside Power Station.

 

 

Westminster Pier – London

PA 7771061 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Heavy lifting gear and cranes try to raise the sunken Westminster pier. Date: 08/02/1955

 

 

Tower Bridge – 1955

PA 5426705 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Tower bridge, a combined bascule and suspension bridge over the River Thames in London.

 

 

Royal Navy HMS Apollo – Port of London

PA 7772579 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


Minelayer HMS Apollo in the port of London with a tug beside her. Date: 03/12/1954

 

 

 

Sunflower Grows on the Thames

PA 1252461 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


A seven foot sunflower with a nine inch span grows on a narrow raft in the Thames at Limehouse, East London. With the flower is Mr F Conn, who lives in Limehouse. The flower is believed to have grown from a seed dropped from a bird. Picture date: 16th Sept 1955.

 

 

Mines

PA 9431753 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

A Sailor Hauls on a rope as Lt. Commander G. Gutteridge breaks the service of the Muddy water of the West India Dock, London, Jan. 26, 1957 after inspecting a six-feet long parachute mine discovered there by divers. Bomb disposal experts plan to tow the mine down the Thames for detonation. Date: 26/01/1957

 

 

Car Park – 1963

PA 4353386 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


The view looking down onto a car park, taken from the 26th story of the great Shell Centre on the south bank of the river Thames in London. The “tree” effect is formed by the wheels of the cars as they enter and leave the park. Date: 02/01/1963

 

 

Politics – State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill – Tower Pier – London – 1965

PA 16234687 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Sir Winston Churchill’s coffin is carried aboard the Havengore, a ceremonial launch at Tower Pier in London. Date: 30/01/1965

 

 

Battersea Power Station – London

PA 16616518 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

A view of Battersea Power Station from the river Thames. Date: 06/10/1971

 

 

Warehouse Fire – Wapping – 1973

PA 7384939 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

A seven storey warehouse on fire at the Metropolitan Wharf, Wapping, east London. More than 100 firemen and 40 appliances fought the blaze. Date: 05/10/1973

 

 

PC makes a splash

PA 1839881 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


As the Thames overflows its banks at Putney, a mounted policeman, PC Rushmer, rides on his horse Redwing through the flood, looking for people caught unawares. An exceptional tide – over 25 feet at London Bridge – had been predicted, and was further swollen by heavy rain upstream. Date: 30/01/1975

 

 

Flooding in London

PA 1839883 1 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

The Thames overflows its banks at Putney. An exceptional tide – over 25 feet at London Bridge – had been predicted, and was further swollen by heavy rain upstream. Date: 30/01/1975

 

 

Tower Bridge – London

PA 13499115 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Bridge foreman Stan Fletcher stands beside one of the original Victorian steam pumping engines of Tower Bridge which the London Corporation announced was to be sold along with one of the original hydraulic engines., which had operated the bridge without fail since it opened in June, 1894. Date: 27/09/1976

 

 

Blackfriars Bankside Power Station

PA 1298126 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


London as seen from the 600ft, 52-story Nat West Tower in the City. Bankside power station can be seen over the River Thames, belching out smoke from its chimney. Blackfriars Bridge is to the right.  Date: 10/03/1977

 

 

Music – Wings – London

PA 7480385 1 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Members of the band Wings eating fish and chips on the river Thames. (l-r) Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney and Denny Laine. Date: 22/03/1978

 

 

Thames Barrier – Woolwich

PA 1416111 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

The Queen officially opening the £460 million Thames Barrier at Woolwich. Date: 08/05/1984

 

 

AIR London City Airport

PA 1016263 1 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

Library filer of a Brymon Airways Dash 7 aircraft making history as it becomes the first airplane to land at the London City Airport. The loss-making airport, based in London’s Docklands, has been sold to Irish businessman Dermot Desmond for 14.5 million, it was announced. Date: 31/05/1987

 

 

Pleasure boat tragedy

PA 1381457 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000

In 1989 the pleasure cruiser The Marchioness collided with a barge, The Bowbelle. The Thames pleasure cruiser the PV Marchioness which sank on the Thames near Southwark Bridge, London, has been taken to the north bank of the river for accident investigators to get to work on it.  The boat sank while young people enjoyed a birthday party on board. Police have said that 57 people are known to have died in the disaster and 79 people survived it.

 

 

Canary Wharf Tower – London

PA 9528589 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


The 800ft Canary Wharf Tower under construction in London Docklands. The 50 storey towers steel structure contains 27,000 tonnes of British steel fastened by 500,000 bolts. Date: 06/11/1990

 

 

MILLENNIUM Gondolas 2

PA 1239817 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


The gondolas which will hang from the London Eye make their journey by boat down the River Thames in Central London, passing the Millennium Dome and Canary Wharf, to the site of the giant wheel. The 32 capsules will take up to half an hour to travel round the wheel. * Weighing 1.5 tonnes and built in France by ski-lift company Poma will , and provide their passengers with views of up to 25 miles away. Date: 28/10/1999

 

 

2000

PA 1256816 Mud, Flood And Blood: Photos Of Londons River Thames 1895 2000


A firework explodes over the River Thames during the launch of the British Airways London Eye. However there were no passengers riding on the world’s largest ferris wheel after engineers discovered that a mechanism on one of the 32 pods was defective. Date: 31/12/1999



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