Post to the west Leamouth
LA Lounge This was The Ram which stood at the junction with North Woolwich Road. “Unique high-end sophisticated ethnic themed venue. It features various stunning atmospheres”. This was the Ram Tavern and still retains an art deco Truman’s exterior. Has had a variety of names recently.
Lyle Park Entrance – the park is in the square to the south.
West Silvertown Board School. This opened in 1885 with an infants' department added later. It was extended until there were 1200 pupils in 1910. The school was wrecked in the 1917 Silvertown explosion but was repaired immediately. In 1945 it became a school for juniors and infants and closed in 1962. As West Silvertown School. The address is also given as Evelyn Road – and a school appears to have continued here after 1962. It appears to be current site of Britannia Village School with an address in Westwood Street
1 Waterfront Studios. Business Centre built in 2003 under the Silvertown Way viaduct. This is on the site of what was the western entrance lock for Victoria Dock
Docklands Light Railway
There are two DLR lines on this square:
The line which runs alongside North Woolwich Road is part of the Woolwich Arsenal extension to the railway, opened in 2005. It runs along the approximate route of the former Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway
The line which runs parallel to Royal Victoria Dock Road is on the Beckton Extension opened in 1994. It runs parallel to the North Woolwich Railway
Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway Plaistow
This opened in 1846 and connected the Royal Docks with the Eastern Counties Railway and initially ran to the south along what is now North Woolwich Road. When the Royal Victoria Dock opened in 1855 journey times were increased and the line was rerouted north of the dock.
Emirates Air Line
This is the cable car across the river to Victoria Dock from North Greenwich. It was built by Doppelmayr with sponsorship from the Emirates airline. It opened in 2012 and is operated by Transport for London.
The original road ran parallel to the dock wall, and was used for housing later replaced by a 1960s scheme. London Docklands Development Corporation oversaw the demolition in the early 1990s of two 1960s local authority tower blocks with a shopping and community area and replaced with housing association and private housing named Britannia Village.
65 Britannia Village Hall. Provided as a community facility for Britannia Village. Replacement housing project from the 1990s.
53 Britannia Village Green. This green space is on the site of the two local authority tower blocks demolished because apparently they were ‘an eye sore’.
The road is named after Knights Soap Works which was in the east side of the road near the river (and thus in the square to the south)
Primrose Hall. This stood at the junction with North Woolwich Road. It has a hall which held 500 people. A library, billiards, bagatelle, coffee and smoking rooms plus hot and cold baths. It was built for the Primrose Library Society which included employees of John Knight & Sons. It was in December 1885. Since demolished.
Plaistow Wharf – the Tate and Lyle golden syrup works is now accessible from Knights Road.
Named after local ARP wardens killed during the Blitz.
North Woolwich Railway
This began in 1846, when the Eastern Counties and Thames Junction railway opened from Stratford to, Canning Town as part of a scheme promoted by George Parker Bidder. This was built to carry coal, initially from a wharf on Bow Cree, but was extended to North Woolwich the following year and from then took passengers. It was shortly afterwards taken over by the Eastern Counties Railway. At that time it ran along what is now North Woolwich Road. When the Victoria Dock opened in 1855 it meant the railway had to cross the dock entrance via a moveable bridge and this increased journey times. The line was therefore rerouted north of the dock parallel to what is now Victoria Dock Road. The older line, by then south of the dock, was kept in use and became known as the Silvertown tramway. . As goods and passenger traffic changed it became little used but in the 1980s, following public sector investment, the line became part of the North London Line running from North Woolwich to Richmond. It was eventually closed in 2006 and the line is to be used for the Crossrail service
North Woolwich Road
DLR viaduct. The viaduct runs parallel to the road and was opened in 2000. It is a double track line supported on concrete columns. It carries he Woolwich Arsenal extension on the approximate route of the former Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway
Victoria Dock Entrance. This was the original entrance to Victoria Dock built 1850 – 1855 but which necessitated an awkward turn in the river. Only the lock area is in this square. It had two lock gates and connecting channels. The walls were concrete and brick walls in excess of 20 feet thick with the lock structures founded on brickwork with timber piles. A new lock fitted in 1928. However when Silvertown Way was built ships could not use it and it was only used for barges. At the same time a Tidal Basin - the site on the dock side of Silvertown Way was incorporated into the main dock. The lock was rebuilt by Mowlems in 1967. It was subsequently back filled and used as a car park. It is likely that the lock gates remained in-situ closed. The Silvertown Tunnel is planned to use the site.
Cable Car – one of the pylons for the car is on the site of the filled in Victoria Dock entrance
Swing bridge. The swing bridge took the railway across the lock entrance here. It was a big obstruction to traffic.
Gibbs' Oil of Vitriol and Manure Works. This dated from the late 1850s. They burned crude sulphur and pyrites. The site became later Ohlendorff & Co., been founded in 1873, and remained a German company until the First World War, when it was reconstituted under British control. It was later Anglo Continental Guano Works Ltd. It was taken over in 1937 by Fisons Ltd. and closed in 1946.
Odam's Wharf. Part of this wharf is on this page. It was an Oil of Vitriol and chemical manure works dating from 1851.and one of the largest manure establishments in the area. Crude sulphur and pyrites were burned for the manufacture of oil of vitriol. Materials used for manure making were shoddy, dry blood, guano, dry bones, coprolites, and mineral phosphates generally. In 1920 it became part of the neighbouring Anglo-Continental Guano Works Ltd.
Alexandra Wharf. British Oil and Cake Mills. Union Works. This was an animal feed manufacturer. They began in the 19th as crushers of oilseeds to produce vegetable oils for the human food industries and for soap manufacture and this was an oilseed crushing plant, owned by Unilever. It was established here in order to receive foreign seed but from the late 1960s these 'port mills' were closed. What is now The Silver building was built as their canteen and offices in 1964 by architects Munce & Kennedy. The site was later owed by the Carlsberg-Tetley Brewing Company. It was known locally as Charrington's and the building carried Whitbread signage and was apparently used as a brewer’s distribution depot.
Clyde Wharf. In 1864, James Duncan, from Greenock built Clyde Wharf Refinery as Duncan, Bell & Scott. It was bought by David Martineau in 1887, but later burnt down. It was the largest sugar refinery in London. Producing up to 2 thousand tons of sugar a week.
Clyde Wharf. This was a soda works started by Brunner, Mond & Co 1894 to produce soda crystals from soda ash shipped from Cheshire. Caustic soda plant opened 1895. Later became ICI.
Silvertown Services Lighterage. Barge and tug repairs for Tate and Lyle from 1961. Silvertown Services Limited was opened by Tate and Lyle in 1938. Larger steam ships as Sugar Line Ltd. Ran from the Tate wharf further down river. From 1961 they operated from Clyde Wharf,
Hall's Wharf .Thomas Farmer & Co chemical manure manufacturers and sulphuric acid manufacture. Farmers originated in Kennington in the later 18th century.
Pinchin's Wharf. This was Pinchin Johnson paint works founded in 1834 as a producer of oils and turpentine. They were later taken over by Courtaulds becoming eventually the Akzo Nobel Nippon paint works. Following another take over the site is now Nuplex Resins
Minerva Works. Oil paint and colour works in the 1950s, this is now part of the Nuplex site
Walmsley and Sons, malt roasters. This works was present in the mid 19th century. The firm originated in Whitechapel and made malt suitable for Porter
Peruvian Wharf. In 1873 this was the Peruvian Guano Wharf, becoming Anglo-Continental Guano works in 1883, owned by the German company Ohlendorff & Co. They had the exclusive right of importing and selling guano shipped in from the Chilean government. In the Great War it was taken under British control. The works were taken over by Fisons Ltd in 1937 and closed down in 1946. The site was then taken over by Tate and Lyle. The site was to be developed as yet another housing site but is to become a PLA backed freight handling facility.
Plaistow Wharf. This appears to have been an oil storage depot before becoming Lyle’s golden syrup works in the 1880s. Golden syrup is still made there but the works is much reduced in size and is now entered from Knight’s Road. Fronting onto North Woolwich Road was a handsome Portland stone-faced framed building built in 1946-50. The firm's trademark of the lion killed by Samson surrounded by bees and, from Judges XIV, the answer to Samson's riddle "Out of the strong came forth sweetness' was displayed on it. It is since demolished but the relief trademark was displayed in a small garden area, which also appears to have gone. Tate and Lyle badging is on the current building which is difficult to see now.
Barnwood Court. This consisted of two twenty-two-storey tower blocks of 1966. Dunlop Point and Cranbrook Point which won a Civic Trust Design Award in 1968 for their architecture. They were linked by crescents of shops, community rooms etc. Designed for West Ham Council by Stillman & Eastwick-Field. In 1994 residents voted in a tenants’ ballot for their demolition. They were demolished in 1998 and Britannia Village is now on their site
West Silvertown station. West Silvertown is a Docklands Light Railway station lying between Canning Town and Pontoon Dock Stations. It opened in December 2005 and is on the Woolwich Arsenal branch. It is an elevated station positioned on the viaduct above the road.
Jubilee Tavern. This was a Taylor Walker house, present by 1896 and rebuilt in the 1960s. It was then at 9 Barnwood Court. It was demolished in 2005.
Baptist tabernacle. This was a branch church for the Baptist Central Mission at Stratford. It was built in 1903 to seat 250. It found it difficult to compete with the Docklands Settlement and local Methodists. It closed in 1939 and the site was sold.
291 West Silvertown Ambulance Station, NHS facility. A new station was opened in 2007.
Fire station. A fire station for the area was built in 1914. It was completely destroyed by the Silvertown explosion of January 1917. The current station is in the 1960s house style. It is now closed and has been flogged off.
This is an extension of Mill Street built on the site of the Rank Empire Mill.
Rank’s Empire Mill. Flour mill opened in 1904. Rebuilt and enlarged with new concrete buildings in the 1930. Demolished and only chimney remains. There was a mill house to the south.
Chimney from Rank's Empire Mills, tall mid-C20 brick. Apparently saved because Prince Charles said so.
Millennium Mills. This was the Spillers Mill and is still extant. Built in the early 20th century, these roller-mills processed North American grain for white, reﬁned ﬂour at a price that undercut traditional millers. It was one of the largest automated ﬂour mill complexes ever built in London. Some equipment dating from the 1950s remains which was installed by Henry Simon Ltd of Manchester, a pioneer of the roller milling process. The mill was built by Vernon’s flour millers, and producers of Millennium Flour. Work began in 1904 to designs by John Clarke who used the structural details of the Mouchel-Hennebique reinforced concrete system and positioned to interact with shipping in the Victoria Dock... It was damaged in the 1917 Silvertown explosion. In 1919 Vernon’s amalgamated with Spillers. There was some reorganisation and rebuilding in the 1930s. In 1946, Spillers Ltd asked L.G. Mouchel Ltd to organise reconstruction of the mill. A ‘New Mill and Warehouse’ was completed before 1953. This had a concrete structure, with brick inﬁll panels in a ‘stripped classicism’ Art Deco style. The name “Millennium Mills“ ran across the parapet in red tile. Spillers were then technically innovative and Millennium Mills was the largest totally mechanised, automatically controlled, pneumatic mill. There were three separate mills on the site – A and B flour Mills, and C Mill for animal feed. The mill closed in 1983 after the construction of the Tilbury grain terminal. The building has been derelict for many years but is being redesigned to house small businesses.
Royal Victoria Dock
This square covers the western section of the dock.
Victoria Dock was opened by the Victoria Dock Company in 1855 and was the first dock in the port to take large steam ships and with main line railway connections The Company had been set up by the railway contractors, Samuel Morton Peto, Edward Ladd Betts and Thomas Brassey with the engineer G. P. Bidder. The site been bought at its agricultural value and 200 acres were allocated as pasture for a cattle trade which did not materialize. The dock was constructed with eight jetties projecting from the north quay, and a pontoon dock to the south. It was 1 mile long with 94 acres of water and hydraulic power, with machinery by W. G. Armstrong & Co. It was built with economic earth bank with warehouses added The owners had intended to sell it quickly and in 1864 the London and St Katharine Dock Co. bought it because of lack of space in the older docks. It was ¬¬renamed ‘Royal Victoria in’ 1880 when the Royal Albert Dock opened. The dock was extensively reconstructed from 1935 and the north quay rebuilt from 1937. It closed to commercial traffic in 1980 it is however still accessible to ships, but it is chiefly used for watersports. Most of the original warehouses have been demolished. It is dominated by the ExCeL Exhibition Centre. On the south side is Britannia Village.
Royal Victoria Exchange Sidings. This was sited between the British Rail and the Port of London Authority rail systems near Custom House station. It handled around 60 trains a day. After being marshalled trains were hauled by P.L.A. locomotives to the appropriate quays of the docks.
North Quay. This is three quarters of a mile long, completed 1944 with projecting false quays instead of the finger jetties plus three-storey reinforced-concrete warehouses with transit facilities. The top two storeys of the buildings were for tobacco while the ground floors served as transit sheds.
Cranes – some cranes are preserved along the dock edge. 6 by Stothert & Pitt are of the high pedestal type from 1953. The steelwork has been renovated bur most of the mechanical and electrical equipment has been removed.
Z shed and berth. This was built in 1926 for chilled meat from larger vessels. It also handled some fresh fruit and butter and had integral rail access. The Royal Mail Lines offices were also here.
Electricity substation in stainless steel
Emirates Cable Car. Royal Docks Terminal. This is on the dock roughly on the Z Shed location. It is the smaller of the terminals and is built on a deck over dock water. It houses the electric motor which drives the Emirates Air Line
Good Hotel. This is a floating hotel moored off the wharf here founded by Marten Drese .its profits don’t go to the company’s shareholders, but they go back into the business, which offers training and jobs to long-term unemployed people in the local community. The floating platform came from Amsterdam.
F This transit shed was used for meat, fruit, and general cargo from South America, usually from the Argentine. It served an unallocated berth
Paolozzi's Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and metalwork. Artwork on the quayside
Work No. 700 by Martin Creed artwork on the quayside
Ibis Hotel and Novotel. Along with offices, shops and blocks of flats these stand roughly on the site of F shed.
E this transit shed was rented to a Canadian line for exports and imports
D This transit shed was rented to a United States line for exports and imports;
Ex-Cel Centre. The square covers about half of the center which stands on the sire of some of the transit sheds and the Custom House. It opened in 2000 with 90,000 sq ft of exhibition space on a 100 acre site. It was built 1999-2000 by Moxley Jenner & Partners in three storeys with sixteen white tubular-steel roof hangers which allow for a column-free interior with the largest single-span roof in the UK. There is also a first-floor lorryway that serves the entire building. On the ground-floor are services and the exhibition halls are on the first floor. There is a big pyramidal glass entrance with steps to the dockside.
Landed Sculpture. Also called The Dockers. This is on the west side of the Excel Centre. Sculptural group in Bronze by Les Johnson.
X, W, M. These warehouses were once on the waterside but following post war rebuilding stood behind DEF. They were originally tobacco warehouses. Their sites are now covered by roads.
Royal Victoria Square. Created by Paul Taylor with landscape architect EDAW. Japanese-style, geometric mix of hard and soft landscaping,
W Warehouse. When built this was nearest the dock and built in 1883 by the company engineer Robert Carr. It was in the style of the St Katharine Docks warehouses and stood over the dock edge with its wall on brick arches Restored by Feilden & Mawson as a block of flats. Act one time it was used as the Museum in Docklands store.
Custom House. This stood north of the dock and near the road. It was built 1920-4 and designed by Sir Edwin Cooper in a stripped classical style in red brick. It was also called the Dock Director’s Access Centre. It was originally intended by the PLA as office premises for letting to the Railway Company and importers. It was restored 1994-5 but demolished for Excel.
Nursery School and Creche. This was designed to serve the Excel centre by Walters & Cohen 2001-2. Three parallel timber-clad building with steel butterfly roofs.
K Warehouse. This was a bonded store for tobacco built in 1859 by Bidder and the only remaining 19th warehouse. It has timber floors on cast iron columns. Inside are two storeys plus a loft, and a basement ventilated. Attached to it, but now demolished, was another warehouse of similar length.
K Annexe. A pitched-roofed range with tall upper windows lighting a single large hall used for stacking tobacco casks. This was built in 1919 by the PLA in yellow stock brick. Restored for the LDDC by Rees Johns Bolter in 1994-5, as a public hall and exhibition space.
Millennium Bridge. Built 1997 by Lifschutz Davidson Bid Techniker this is a pedestrian bridge span the Dock from Britannia Village to ExCeL. This was designed to be a transporter bridge.
The south side of the dock was remodelled after the Silvertown explosion of 1917. Private millers erected huge factories here, handling 114,000 tons of grain unloaded by suction.
3, 2, and 1 sheds. These were used for exports and imports from America and the West Indies. The upper floors were used to store tobacco.
5 – 8. These were corrugated iron sheds used as warehouses but some distance from the water: 5 and 7 for general cargo, 6 defunct, and 8 for tidal models of the Thames.
Britannia Village. This stretches along the south quay of the Royal Victoria Dock. It was designed by the LDDC as a contained community with shops, a village common, a village hall and a primary school. It is of course just a housing estate with homes for sale by Wimpey Homes. Proposals for community facilities still not finished. Building began, 1995-7 with Wimpey homes for which Tibbalds built conventional streets of terraced houses leading from a central crescent.
Pneumatic grain elevators. Four of these stood in the dock on dolphins by the flourmills. One has been re-erected as a feature. It is on the edge of the pontoon dock – the rest of which is in the square to the east. Built by the London Grain Elevator Co., 1898, but damaged in the Silvertown explosion of 1917. One was rebuilt in reinforced concrete in 1920 as D Silo. Bulk grain was lifted from ships and barges into the central cube and the two side towers, both by bucket and by suction and loaded through weighing machines.
The Crystal. Siemens exhibition centre on the future of cities. It is also one of the world's most sustainable buildings and events venues. It was designed by Wilkinson Eyre, and includes an auditorium, conference facilities, meeting rooms and office spaces. It showcases state-of-the-art technologies to make buildings more efficient.
Consolidator #654321 art work bySterling Ruby. This is on the quayside outside the Crystal Building
Oiler Bar. Floating beer garden in an ex-Royal Navy refuelling barge.
Open Water Swimming Centre. With safety features and wet suit hire.
Wake Up Docklands. Wake Boarding Centre on the Western Beach – this is the area at the far western end of the dock previously the site of a warehouse
Sandy Beach – at the western end of the dock
SS Robin. Robin is a steam coaster, designed for carrying bulk and general cargoes in coastal waters, and the oldest complete example in the world. She was built in Orchard Yard, Bow Creek in 1890. In 1974 she was purchased for restoration as Robin and was moored for many years in the West India Dock. In 2011 was renovated in Lowestoft and placed on a pontoon. She is moored here with the SS Robin museum, theatre and educational centre.
Lightship LV 93. This vessel was ordered by Trinity House, and launched in 1938. In the Second World War she was a mine watching vessel in the River Thames and then in 1947 went to the East Goodwin station and in 1954 to Galloper station. She was later automated and converted to solar power. She was later at Inner Dowsing station, Sunk station and at Foxtrot-3. She was sold in 2004 and converted it into a photographic studio and location.
New road laid on the site of railway lines and running at the back of the Excel Centre.
New road laid on the site of railway lines. It also follows electrical transmission lines and pylons running along the back of blocks of flats. The pylons predate the ‘regeneration’.
This was the original line of the North Woolwich Railway. When the Victoria Dock was built in the 1850s the proposed entrance cut across the existing railway and so the North Woolwich branch was diverted to the north side of the dock. The original line was kept and provided a rail connection riverside industries. It was called the Silvertown Tramway.
The final stretch of the road is in this square but does not include any of the viaducts. It was Britain’s first flyover, constructed in 1934. It was billed as 'A Road to the Empire', and opened by the then Minister of Transport, Mr. Leslie Hore-Belisha. Factory owners and traders had been pressing for improvements but it was not until 1929 that the Dock Approaches (Improvement) Act was passed. The consulting engineers were Messrs Rendel, Palmer and Tritton.
Tidal Basin Road
The tidal basin was part of the original western entrance to the Royal Victoria Dock. It was removed when the entrance was rebuilt.
Victoria Dock Road
Royal Victoria Station. Opened in 1994 it lies between Custom House and Canning Town on the Docklands Light Railway Beckton branch. This station is near the site of what was Tidal Basin Station It is on part of the stretch which was once the British Rail North London Line which was paralleled by the Docklands Light Railway between Canning Town and Custom House. This closed in 2006. In 2009 the Beckton branch joined this stretch of line via a new flyover.
Tidal Basin Station. This lay between Canning Town and Custom House stations on the Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway. It opened in 1858 and was damaged by bombing in 1941 and closed in 1943 and never reopened.
Steam ship design in brick wall
190 Immanuel House of Worship. This was The British Flag Pub.
271 The Barge Pub. This dated from 1862 when it was called The Freemason's Tavern and was a Courage house later the Kilkenny Castle. It closed in 2002 and was used as hostel accommodation. It has now been demolished.
272 Custom House Pub. This is attached to an Ibis hotel, both of which opened 2001. It replaced the Artful Dodger Pub which had previously been the Railway Tavern dating from 1886, or earlier. It was then an Allsopp’s house and later became a Tolly Cobbold house. It closed in the 1980s and demolished in 2001.
277 Spanish Steps Pub. Demolished in the 1990s and the site is now part of the Ibis Hotel.
Custom House Station. Originally built in 1855 this now stands between Prince Regent and Royal Victoria Stations on the Docklands Light Railway Beckton line. It was originally The Great Eastern Railway’s ‘Victoria Docks’ station built on the 'avoiding line' to North Woolwich, which resulted from the construction of the dock, the original line becoming the Silvertown Tramway. The original railway was rejoined at Albert Dock Junction. There was a bay platform on the down side, which was rented to the Dock Company and the station was adjacent to exchange sidings for the dock systems. It was rebuilt in 1891 with three platforms and a bay platform for Gallions Branch. A footbridge linked a shelter on the north side to the southbound platform. There was a signal box at the east end of the station. Following 1940s bombing passenger services ended but resumed to decline in the 1960s and the service became a shuttle between Stratford and North Woolwich. In 1969 the station buildings were demolished. From 1978 to 2006 it was part of the North London Line. A Docklands Light Railway station opened in 1994 as part of the Beckton extension and in 2006 the original rail service closed. The site of the original station will be used for a new Crosssrail station.
Custom House Engine Shed. This was built in 1881 by the London and St Katherine Docks Company. The shed’s locomotives were used shunting the various sidings, wharves and factories around the docks.
Footbridge. This links Victoria Dock Road with the dock area.
287 The Flying Angel. Built 1934-6 by Fetch & Femand to house the Anglican Missions to Seamen Institute, which moved here from Poplar. An eight-storey building for seamen's accommodation in red brick. At the top is a square-arched lantern that originally housed a flashing light and there is an angel motif on the wall. Converted to serviced flats for single people by Jefferson Sheard, 1985.
A new road running along the north quay of the Royal Victoria Dock.
This is now a pedestrianised walkway, not shown on some maps
Britannia Village Primary School. This trades as Britannia Education Trust. The school opened in 1999. It was designed on the theme of ships, with masts and portholes to reflect the ships which came to the docks in this area. It appears to be on the site of Boxley Street Board School and West Silvertown School.
Ballard. Effluvia Nuisance
Baptists in Newham. Web site
Bird. Geography of the Port of London
BOCM History, Web site
A Brief History of Housing in Newham. Web site
British History on line. West Ham. Web site
Britannia Village School. Web site
Curwen. Old Plaistow
Dee Zeen. Web site
Docklands History Survey
Docklands Light Railway. Official Handbook
Donald Insall. Heritage Assessment.
Kelly’s Trade Directory
London Borough of Newham. Web site
London’s Industrial Archaeology.
Lost Pubs Project. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. East London
Port Cities. Web site
Silvertown Tunnel. Development Options
Tate and Lyle. Web site
The Crystal. Web site
Victoria County History. West Ham
Wake Up Docklands. Web site
Waymarking. Web site
Wikipedia. As appropriate