The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 34 The East End and the Docks

Surrey Commercial Docks

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On the south side of the river are the Surrey Commercial Docks, 380 acres in area (167+ acres of water), in which immense quantities of timber, grain, and Canadian produce (cheese, bacon, etc.) are landed. Much of the timber is kept in huge timber ponds, while extensive refrigerating stores are provided for more perishable goods. These docks, dating from 1807, incorporate the old Greenland Dock, used by the Greenland whalers two centuries ago, but this old name is now given to a new dock constructed in 1904. The Grand Surrey Canal, issuing from this dock on the south, extends only to Camberwell and Peckham. The West India Docks, opened in 1802, have three main basins (Import Dock, Export Dock, and South Dock) with an aggregate area of 232 acres. The chief articles handled here are rum, sugar, hops, grain, timber, and frozen meat. About 40,000 puncheons of rum are here stored in vaults lighted exclusively by reflected light, all lamps or candles being rigorously excluded for fear of fire. To the south of these docks extends the Isle of Dogs, a blunt peninsula formed by a loop of the Thames, with Millwall on its west side and Cubitt Town on its east side. It is supposed to take its name from the former kennels belonging to Greenwich Palace. At Millwall Dock (231+ acres; 35+ acres water), dating from 1864, about two-fifths of the grain, imported into London is discharged, and the elaborate apparatus for dealing with it is interesting. At the south end of the Isle of Dogs is the railway station of North Greenwich, whence Greenwich Tunnel, a subway for foot-passengers, opened in 1902, passes under the, Thames to Greenwich. Beside the station are the Island Gardens.