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Credit – Barry Ashworth
Recently, I mentioned Barry Ashworth and his long career at Dunbar Wharf, when he first started work at the wharf in the 1960s he came across a number of documents and photographs from Dunbar Wharf’s previous owner, Francis Vernon Smythe.
I am publishing a couple of these remarkable photographs of Dunbar Wharf in the 1920s, I have taken a couple of pictures recently in roughly the same place and was amazed that the facade of Dunbar had changed very little in the pass 90 or so years.
Credit – Barry Ashworth
In the photo the coastal schooner is the Plymouth registered ‘Alfred’ offloading alongside Open Wharf. Michael Murnoir in conversation with Barry Ashworth guessed it had offloaded the pile of staves which can be seen on the wagon. Vessels such as schooners could settle in the mud without damage because they were shoal draft or very shallow keeled.
The photo is posed as you can see from the group standing on the wharf (Smythe with a very dapper boater) and the workmen in the lofts. Both Michael and Barry guessed the photograph was taken in the 1920s and the oak staves came from Germany and Spain mainly, but also from America, and the schooners cargo was a transhipment. Staves were transported a short distance to the cooperage on Ropemakers Fields which had a frontage to Narrow Street right opposite Duke Shore Wharf and ran through to Ropemakers Fields.
In the background on the left looms the much larger Barley Mow Brewery building, since demolished. It is unlikely it would have backloaded beer or barrels because the railways carried most of beer and there were plenty of local brewers. Oak barrels which left Limehouse full of beer, port and sherry could return to the Port of London from all over the globe refilled with juices, preserved vegetables in brine, rum or molasses.
Many of the original warehouse doors and fittings are still there, although the buildings are now used for residential use.
Both Barry and Michael believe this is Dunbar Wharf between 1920-30. The guy in the light grey suit, legs apart is Cyril Legge, Wharf Superintendent until at least 1970. His father was before him.
Credit – Barry Ashworth
The guy in the gabardine raincoat is Francis Vernon Smythe, owner of Dunbar Wharf.
Once again the original layout of the wharf are still recognisable with still the same doors and fittings.
Creeks: Sailing barges packed into Limekiln or Limehouse Creek in October, 1930 by Albert Gravely Linney ( Museum of London )
I have also managed to find a picture of Dunbar Wharf from roughly the same period by well known Thames photographer Albert Gravely Linney.
Many thanks to Barry for permission to publish the photographs and to Michael and Barry for the information about one of the most interesting parts of modern Limehouse.
May I wish the readers of Isle of Dogs Life, A Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Unknown photographer Lower Pool, with Tower Bridge under construction Glass lantern slide c. late 19th century © Museum of London
In recent weeks I have published a number of posts about London Bridges centred around the Bridge Exhibition in West India Quay.
As part of the promotion for the exhibition , the Museum of London took some of the photographs from the exhibition and added the modern view.
These then and now hybrid photographs are very popular at the moment, so I thought I would share some of the best ones.
What is perhaps most noticeable is that in the older photographs , that the Thames was a working river filled with ships and with cranes and warehouses dominating the riverfronts.
The modern photographs seem more dominated by the large buildings that have multiplied in the City in the last few years.
Henry Turner (active 1930s) A Windy Evening on London Bridge c. 1937 From Wordsworth to T S Eliot, the crowds streaming across London Bridge have always attracted attention. Turner was a photographer and General Secretary of the Empire Press Union (later Commonwealth Press Union). He made this image for E Arnot Robertson’s book Thames Portrait (1937).© Henry Turner/Museum of London
Unknown photographer Charing Cross Railway Bridge Glass lantern slide c. late 19th century Taken from South Bank. © Museum of London
Albert Gravely Linney Tower Bridge framing the Dome of St Paul’s Cathedral c. 1930 Taken from the river, looking west. © Albert Gravely Linney/Museum of London
Henry Turner (active 1930s) Southwark Bridge c. 1935 © Henry Turner/Museum of London
Albert Gravely Linney Beginning the Demolition of Old Waterloo Bridge c. 1934 Taken from Hungerford Bridge. © Albert Gravely Linney/Museum of London
George Davison Reid (1871–1933) Looking north across London Bridge ) c. 1920s Taken from inside on the 5th floor of No1 London Bridge. © George Davison Reid/Museum of London
Christina Broom (1863–1939) Waterloo Bridge from the Embankment c. 1903–10 Taken from the North Bank of the Thames. © Christina Broom/Museum of London
Museum of London Docklands – Bridge exhibition
27 June – 2 November 2014,
For more information visit the Museum of London Docklands website here
Miscellaneous Views: The north bank of the Thames between Blackwall and Trinity Buoy Wharf, on 3rd February, 1929. To the left is J.W. Cook’s Orchard Wharf, Orchard Stairs and causeway. The lighthouse on Trinity Buoy Wharf is in the centre distance, and to the left of that the towers of the Thames Ironworks building at the mouth of the River Lea.
A.G. Linney ,1929 (Museum of London )
In a recent post on the Bridge exhibition, there were a couple of photographs by Albert Gravely Linney , although he was not a professional photographer, his work is now considered very important because he captured all aspects of the River Thames just before the destruction of World War Two.
Albert Gravely Linney was a writer and journalist who in 1925 became the first editor of the new Port of London Authority Monthly Magazine which gave him full access to most of the docks and wharves along the river.
Wherever he went, Linney took his camera. He also published a number of books featuring stories and the history of the Thames, his most popular books being Peepshow of the Port of London and The Lure and Lore of London’s River .
The Museum of London holds thousands of Linney’s photographs and over the next few weeks I will do a series of posts showcasing his work in relation to the Isle of Dogs.
First of all is the photographs that Linney took at Trinity Buoy Wharf in the years 1927 – 1930, what is really fascinating about this series of pictures is to see Trinity Wharf as a working centre.
For nearly 200 years, from 1803 to 1988, Trinity Buoy Wharf was occupied by the Corporation of Trinity House, initially for storing buoys and sea-marks, but in the 19th century took over the responsibility for testing chains, anchors and cables which led to the building of number of workshops and a lighthouse for testing, repairing and making equipment.
In the 1930s that work was still being undertaken, so we have pictures of men painting Buoys and the mountains of chains and cables. We also have next to Trinity Buoy Wharf , the famous Thames Ironworks which closed in 1912 but a few buildings at this time still remained.
Miscellaneous views: A Trinity House vessel moored alongside the Trinity Buoy Wharf, Blackwall, in August, 1930. Bow Creek, the entrance to the River Lea is on the right. A.G. Linney ,1930 (Museum of London )
Miscellaneous views: Buoys lined up on the quayside at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Blackwall, in March, 1929. In the background is the Engineering Department building of the Thames Ironworks, which was demolished around 1948. A.G. Linney ,1929 (Museum of London )
Miscellaneous views: Mooring chains awaiting tests at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Blackwall, in July, 1927. The man in the foreground is the Superintendent of the Trinity House Depot, Mr Reynolds. A.G. Linney ,1927 (Museum of London )
Miscellaneous views: Painting buoys at the Trinity Buoy Wharf, Blackwall, in July, 1927. Linney did not take many photographs of people actually at work. A.G. Linney ,1927 (Museum of London )
Miscellaneous views: The experimental lighthouse at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Blackwall, in June, 1929. Built in 1864, the lighthouse has survived although Trinity House sold the site in the late 1980s.A.G. Linney ,1927 (Museum of London )