In recent weeks, I have written about the various buildings around the Isle of Dogs, however they are not the only accommodation available on the Island. Lying in Millwall Dock is a number of large houseboats that offer a very different style of living. Most of the houseboats seem to be Dutch in origin and have been a familiar sight in the docks for a number of years.
However even this style of living is not cheap with the boats often costing £200,000 or above.
Most of the boats have not moved for years and attract their own particular wildlife, a pair of swans often nest and lay eggs amongst the boats.
With the houseboats and when the small yachts go on the water from the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre, Millwall Docks can be a lovely picturesque sight. However dotted around the docks are reminders of the days when it was a working dock.
Millwall Dock 1934
The Millwall Dock was constructed by John Aird & Co. to a design by Sir John Fowler and opened in 1868.It originally contained around 36 acres of water and had a 200 acre estate. The western end of the Outer Dock was originally connected to the Thames at Millwall by an 80 ft wide channel. However in the 1920s, the Port of London Authority connected the northern end of the Dock was connected to the West India Docks and closed the direct connection with the Thames. The dock was used mainly for timber and grain, one of the features of the dock was a massive McDougall’s flour mill which was demolished in the 1980s. It also had a dry graving dock to undertake repairs.
Millwall dock 1934
The Millwall Dock of today may not have the big ships but it still maintains its own unique style and charm. Whilst it was once a place of frantic activity, it is now a place of peace and leisure and is very popular with office workers and Islanders who enjoy sitting around the dock especially in warm weather.