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Woolwich Free Ferry

560 of 1170 nominations


Woolwich Free Ferry

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Woolwich Free Ferry

A cross-Thames ferry service, run by waterman William de Wicton, operated from Woolwich in the 14th century, when it was a fishing village. The current service was set up by Sir Joseph Bazalgette (responsible for London’s sewer system) and officially opened on 23 March 1889, replacing an earlier service that had transported soldiers and armaments. Owned and financed by Transport for London, it’s run by the London Borough of Greenwich.

The Woolwich ferry used paddle steamers until 1963; by the time they were taken out of service, the steamers had clocked up some 400,000 miles, carried 180 million passengers, and 55 million vehicles and cycles.

Many believe that the development of a new bridge, the Thames Gateway Bridge, close to the Woolwich Ferry, may lead to its closure by 2013.

Read about ICONS' trip down the river Thames here.

Photo: Dave Patten


Your comments

1. Because it has been around for quite a long time. 2. Because it is free and not many useful things are. 3. Because it is a pleasurable journey, albeit a very short one. 4. Because I grew up in Woolwich and remember it with affection. (It used to look much better in the 1950s.)

sheelagh panton

As a little boy in the 1950s, my grandmother used to take me on the ferry just for the ride.We would board at Woolwich and I would spend the entire trip standing in the doorway to the engine room, watching the machinery working. I found it fascinating. We might get off at North Woolwich or simply stay on for the return trip. It did not matter to me, just experiencing the sight, sound and smell of that steam engine was all I wanted. Wonderful memories.
David Williams

When my children were younger they had school visits to see the ferry and find out its history. It has great educational value as well as being something that gets us from A to B. It would be a real shame if it ever closed for good, as its part of the Newham history.
Ellen Fursland

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My nomination is the garden shed.