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More Glen Terrace and the Canal Dockyard


Glen Terrace on the left, Canal Dockyard to right with section of wall cut out (1918)

My post last week about Glen Terrace resulted in a number of people getting in touch to give me  further information about the area.

David Carpenter who wrote the book Dockland Apprentice about his time working in the Graving Dock just off Preston Road  was very familiar with the area in the 1950s and 1960s and would often go into Katies Café which was at the end of  Glen Terrace. David shares some of his memories:

 Regarding your recent piece on Glen Terrace, During the 1950’s the property next to what is now Ladbrokes and adjacent to the lock was the eating house known as Kate’s. Kate was known as Aunty Kate by the apprentices of the nearby London Graving Dock as she always made sure they had a good dinner at a special price. Half way along the Terrace was a stall that took absolutely filthy boiler suits for cleaning at a laundry somewhere or other. When you handed over your boiler suit, you were given a raffle ticket. The following week you handed in your ticket and were given back a spotless boiler suit. How they kept a record of everyone’s boiler suit has always remained a mystery to me! The cost was 1/-  (5p).

Another  mystery  connected with the well known picture above was solved  by local writer Alfred Gardner  who explained that the ship above was not near the dock entrance which was further along the road, but was in dry dock in the old Canal Dockyard opposite Glen Terrace .

The original docks were excavated by Thomas Pitcher and William Wallis in 1806, they were both about 230ft in length,with wooden sides and floors and wooden gates.

In 1895 the lower dock had again been extended, to 295ft which bought the dock  very close to the boundary wall, so much so that a stretch of the wall was lowered to allow the dock to take large ships with high bows like the one in the photograph which was taken in around 1918,  The two docks were filled in  1927–8 and the land used for houses . These houses were still visible in the following photograph from the 1980s before the site was redeveloped.


Although the docks were filled in,  there are still traces near the river where the dock entrances were, and even though a large development was built here, they are still visible.


This is the left section


The middle section


The middle and right section.


The Canal Dockyard  is now underneath the Pierhead Development.

So typically in the Docklands , the past has not quite disappeared if you know where to look, many thanks to Alfred Gardner and David Carpenter for their contributions.

If you are interested in David Carpenter’s book Dockland Apprentice you can find more details here

And Alfred Gardner’s book about the 50s and 60s Dockland area An East End Story is available here.

If you want to find out more about the area and the Blue Bridge, read the interesting article on the Isle of Dogs Past Life, Past lives, blog here