The Woolwich Ferry was opened in March 1889. It was an initiative of Sir Joseph Bazalgette (famous for sorting out London's sewage problems) and replaced an existing service with a history stretching back to the 14th century.
Just eleven minutes by ferry-ride on the south bank of the river is the London suburb of Woolwich. Historically, Woolwich grew as home to the world's largest munitions facility. Started in Henry VIII's reign, the arsenal grew to cover more than 100 acres. Henry also established royal dockyards in both Deptford and Woolwich.
After the end of the Napoleonic War, demand for warships fell off and both the Deptford and Woolwich yards eventually closed in 1869 hitting the local workforce very hard. Woolwich's old arsenal warehouses are now being redeveloped into swish residential properties.
Did you know...?
Fishing was the most important industry in Barking from the 14th until the mid-19th century.
At the turn of the 19th century nearly 3,000 salmon a year were being sold in London's fish markets. Yet within forty years, the Thames had become so polluted that commercial fishing had all but ended. In 1833 the last salmon was caught on the Thames, and by 1850, the river environment had become so bad that it was unable to sustain any fish at all.
But recently, a remarkable recovery has taken place and in 1974, salmon finally returned to the Thames.
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