West India Dock has been the home of the Mischief super yacht whilst its Australian owner enjoys the Rugby World Cup, yesterday saw the arrival of another super yacht, the Latitude.
The 142.72ft /43.5m TM47 motor yacht ‘Latitude’ was built in 2010 by the Timmerman in Russia and was previously named Alexandra.
Latitude’s can accommodate up to 12 guests in 6 staterooms, including a master suite, 4 double cabins, 4 pullman beds. She usually carries up to 7 crew onboard
The ship has all the latest amenities including all the latest modern technologies for entertainment and plenty of toys for use in the water.
Like many super yachts there is an element of secrecy over who owns the ship which was sold in 2013, however it has been available for charter over the last few years.
Super yachts are regular visitors to West India Dock but it’s virtually impossible to find out any information about how long they are here for and where they are going next.
Although the late 17th and 18th terraced housing on Narrow Street is considered of great historical interest, Limekiln Dock and especially Dunbar Wharf convey some of the atmosphere of 19th century docklands industry. The original loading doors and cast iron windows of the small, early 19th century warehouses of Dunbar Wharf are a reminder of how much of the riverside would have looked in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Although often overlooked today, Dunbar Wharf was home to one of the richest men in Britain who ran a large shipping fleet with connections all over the world. The story really begins with Duncan Dunbar senior who leaves Scotland and founded a brewery in Fore Street in Limehouse in the 1790s. His career as a brewer and wine merchant was obviously very successful because when he died in 1825 he left around £ 40,000 in his will. This wealth allowed his son Duncan Dunbar Jnr who was born in Dunbar Wharf to branch out into shipping. Young Duncan’s bought his first ship in 1827 and by 1842 his fleet stood at 11 ships, over next 20 years he ordered 42 new ships. remarkably there is little evidence that he had the ships built locally in Limehouse or nearby Blackwall.
Many of his new ships were built-in the North east at the works of Philip and James Laing, a small number were built at Duncan Dunbar’s own building yard that had built at Moulmein in Burma. the Dunbar clipper ships were famous around the world and were often named after family members or Scottish place names from the family’s home county of Morayshire.
Although there has been suggestions that he exported beer and spirits abroad, the ships carried a variety of cargo. Chartered by the government, Dunbar’s ships made 37 voyages carrying convicts mainly to Australia, a number of his ships were also used as a troopships in the Crimean War. Making full use of the cargo space, ships on the way back from Australia would go to India or China to pick up a cargo which often included spices, jute, teak, rice and ivory.
These perilous voyages around the world occasionally ended in disaster, his ship the Dunbar was lost when the captain mistook the entrance to Sydney Harbour in a gale leading to a shipwreck and a large loss of life. These disasters did not deter Duncan Dunbar in his business activities which included founding the London Chartered Bank of Australia, being deputy-chairman of Lloyd’s Registry, chairman of the General Shipowner’s Society and deputy-chairman of the East and West India Dock Company.
Duncan Dunbar jnr lived in initially at Dunbar Wharf until he moved in with his parents at Howrah House in Poplar, his mother’s died there in 1853 when Dunbar bought a house in Porchester Terrace, London. It was at Porchester Terrace that he built on a picture gallery and became a patron of the fine arts. In 1862, Dunbar suddenly died and left an estate worth between one and two millions (which would be worth around £65 million today). He never married and had no children, therefore the majority of his wealth went to other family members who showed no interest in carrying on the business. Within the next two years all of Duncan Dunbar’s ships were sold and that was the end of the Dunbar shipping line.
Remarkably one of Duncan Dunbar’s ships still survives, he bought the Edwin Fox for long distance voyages. Regular contributor Coral Rutterford in New Zealand remembers in the 1970 seeing the remains of the Edwin Fox at Picton where it had been for a number of years, since then it has been made into an attraction called the Edwin Fox Maritime Museum in appropriately enough Dunbar Wharf in Picton.
Regular readers will know that I often try to find books that feature the Isle of Dogs, it is often surprising just how many have featured the Island. Much rarer is writers who locate a series of books on the Island, one writer that does is best selling author Carol Rivers and I was delighted last week to receive a copy of her latest book, The Fight for Lizzie Flowers .
Carol’s gritty and heartwarming East End family dramas are greatly influenced by her grandparents who lived in Gavrick Street and then Chapel House Street on the Island. The books are widely praised for their realism and have appeared regularly in many bestseller charts and have a loyal readership in the UK and increasingly in the United States.
The Fight for Lizzie Flowers is second of the series of Lizzie Flowers dramas, the first in the series was Lizzie of Langley Street which took place in the period of the First World War. The Fight for Lizzie Flowers is set in the 1930’s and begins with Lizzie preparing to marry Danny Flowers. It was Danny who had asked Lizzie to leave for a better life in Australia but Lizzie was not willing to make the break from her family and ended up marrying Danny’s brother Frank instead. It was a decision she came to regret but had stayed with him until he met an untimely end when he was drowned and fished out of the Thames at Limehouse.
Since Frank’s death, Lizzie had made a great success of running the Flowers greengrocer’s and Danny had come back to ask her to marry him. For all her hardships of the past, it now seemed her future was bright and full of hope. However an unwelcome guest arrives and Lizzie’s life is turned upside down.
What sets Carol’s book apart from many others of the type is that she creates believable characters who inhabit an Island that is still reliant on the docks and where family is still of great importance. Whilst the extended families were a great source of support, sometimes loyalties were divided that leads to conflict. This is another characteristic of Carol’s book, she often displays some of negative aspects of London life when characters go off the rails.
But for all the conflict, Carol pays tribute to the strong characters, often women who kept families together through adversity. Lizzie Flowers is one such character who is full of true East End grit who will not be defeated by life’s injustices and hardships.
I am sure that The Fight for Lizzie Flowers will be just as successful as Carol’s other books and will generate plenty of interest in the Island’s fascinating past. If you would like to read The Fight for Lizzie Flowers, it is available in many formats at Simon and Schuster, you can visit the page here
Photo Eric Pemberton
Many thanks to regular contributor Eric Pemberton who managed to take some photographs of the RRS Discovery has it made it way past the O2. The rare visit of the research vessel is to celebrate 50 years of the Natural Environment Research Council. RRS Discovery will be moored alongside the HMS Belfast in London from Wednesday morning until Sunday 11 October when she will return to Southampton to mobilise for her next research cruise in the Bahamas as part of the RAPID climate change project.
Science and technology from all NERC Centres will be showcased on board, and hundreds of members of the public, industry professionals and government stakeholders will visit the ship.
Photo Eric Pemberton
Members of the public have won tours of the ship through competitions held by the Natural History Museum and radio stations. On Friday afternoon and Saturday in Potter’s Fields on the South Bank, staff from NOC, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, British Geological Survey, National Centre for Earth Observation and National Centre for Atmospheric Science will be undertaking ‘science busking’ – talking to passers-by about the ship and the research undertaken at their centre.
The Royal Research Ship Discovery has completed her first year of research. Over a series of nine research expeditions, scientists studied the seasonal events taking place in UK shelf waters throughout the year. The vessel, procured by the Natural Environment Research Council for UK science is the latest in marine technology.
Photo Eric Pemberton
Science teams used robot subs, landers and underwater gliders and other tools on board the ship to measure the processing and transport of material between relatively shallow shelf seas.
The ship was launched in April 2012 and named in October the following year, RRS Discovery is the newest addition to the UK’s fleet of research vessels. She cost £75m and is designed to support world-leading marine research everywhere from tropical seas to polar oceans.
The ship actually left Tower Bridge on the 12th of October and I managed to catch her making her way around Limehouse Reach and took a few photographs.