Royal Naval Reserve
The Royal Naval Reserve is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. The present RNR was formed by merging the original Royal Naval Reserve, created in 1859, the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, created in 1903; the Royal Naval Reserve has seen action in World War II, the Iraq War and Afghanistan. The Royal Naval Reserve has its origins in the Register of Seamen, established in 1835 to identify men for naval service in the event of war, although just 400 volunteered for duty in the Crimean War in 1854 out of 250,000 on the Register; this led to a Royal Commission on Manning the Navy in 1858, which in turn led to the Naval Reserve Act of 1859. This established the RNR as a reserve of professional seamen from the British Merchant Navy and fishing fleets, who could be called upon during times of war to serve in the regular Royal Navy; the RNR was a reserve of seamen only, but in 1862 was extended to include the recruitment and training of reserve officers. From its creation, RNR officers wore on their uniforms a unique and distinctive lace consisting of stripes of interwoven chain.
A number of drill-ships were established at the main seaports around the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, seamen left their vessels to undertake gunnery training in a drill-ship for one month every year. After initial shore training, officers embarked in larger ships of the Royal Navy's fleet for one year, to familiarise themselves with gunnery and naval practice. Although under the operational authority of the Admiral Commanding, the RNR was administered jointly by the Admiralty and the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen at the Board of Trade throughout its separate existence. In 1910, the RNR was formed to recruit and train fishermen for wartime service in minesweepers and other small warships. Officers and men of the RNR soon gained the respect of their naval counterparts with their professional skills in navigation and seamanship, served with distinction in a number of conflicts including the Boer War and the Boxer Rebellion. Prior to the First World War, one hundred RNR officers were transferred to permanent careers in the regular navy—later referred to as "the hungry hundred".
In their professional careers, many RNR officers went on to command the largest passenger liners of the day and some held senior positions in the shipping industry and the government. At the turn of the 20th century, there were concerns at the Admiralty and in parliament that the RNR was insufficient to bolster the manning of the greatly-expanded fleet in the event of large-scale war. Despite the huge growth in the number of ships in the British merchant service since the RNR's foundation, many of the additional seamen were from the colonies or were not British subjects; the pool of potential RNR officers had shrunk since 1859 and experience in the Boer War showed that it would not be possible to call up a sufficient number of reservists without negatively impacting the work of the merchant and fishing fleets. In 1903 an Act of Parliament was passed enabling the Admiralty to raise a second reserve force – the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. While the RNR consisted of professional civilian sailors, the RNVR was open to civilians with no prior sea experience.
By the outbreak of the First World War there were six RNVR divisions in major ports around the UK. On mobilisation in 1914, the RNR consisted of men. Officers of the permanent RNR on general service took up seagoing appointments in the fleet, many in command, in destroyers, auxiliary cruisers and Q-ships. Others served in larger units of the battle fleet including a large number with the West Indies Squadron who became casualties at the Battle of Coronel and at Jutland. Fishermen of the RNR section served with distinction onboard trawlers fitted out as minesweepers for mine clearance operations at home and abroad throughout the war, where they suffered heavy casualties and losses. One such casualty was armed naval drifter HMT Frons Olivae, which hit a mine off Ramsgate on 12 October 1915 in an explosion that killed at least five other seamen. One casualty, a Newfoundlander serving with the Royal Naval Reserve, was subsequently buried in the Hamilton Road Cemetery, Kent. A number of RNR officers qualified as pilots and flew aircraft and airships with the Royal Naval Air Service, whilst many RNR ratings served ashore alongside the RN and RNVR contingents in the trenches of the Somme and at Gallipoli with the Royal Naval Division.
Merchant service officers and men serving in armed merchant cruisers, hospital ships, fleet auxiliaries and transports were entered in the RNR for the duration of the war on special agreements. Although smaller than both the RN and the RNVR, the RNR had an exceptional war record, members being awarded twelve Victoria Crosses. On commencement of hostilities in the Second World War, the RN once again called upon the experience and professionalism of the RNR from the outset to help it to shoulder the initial burden until sufficient manpower could be trained for the RNVR and'hostilities only' ratings. Again, RNR officers found themselves in command of destroyers, sloops, landing craft and submarines, or as specialist navigation officers in cruisers and aircraft carriers. In convoy work, the convoy commodore or escort commander was an RNR officer; as in the First World War, the RNR acquitted itself well. On the outbreak of the Second World War, no more ratings were accepted into the RNVR and new intake to the RNR stopped.
The RNVR became the route by which all new-entry commissioned officers joined the naval service during the w
West India Docks
The West India Docks are a series of three docks on the Isle of Dogs in London, England the first of which opened in 1802. The docks closed to commercial traffic in 1980 and the Canary Wharf development was built on the site. Robert Milligan was responsible for the construction of the West India Docks. Milligan was a wealthy West Indies merchant and shipowner, who returned to London having managed his family's Jamaica sugar plantations. Outraged at losses due to theft and delay at London's riverside wharves, Milligan headed a group of powerful businessmen, including the chairman of the London Society of West India Planters and Merchants, George Hibbert, who promoted the creation of a wet dock circled by a high wall; the group planned and built West India Docks, lobbying Parliament to allow the creation of a West India Dock Company. Milligan served as Chairman of the West India Dock Company; the Docks were authorised by the West India Dock Act 1799 - the first parliamentary Act for dock building.
The Docks were constructed in two phases. The two northern docks were constructed between 1800 and 1802 for the West India Dock Company to a design by leading civil engineer William Jessop, were the first commercial wet docks in London. British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger and Lord Chancellor Lord Loughborough were assisted in the foundation stone ceremony on 12 July 1800 by Milligan and Hibbert; the docks were formally opened on 27 August 1802 when the unladen Henry Addington was hauled in by ropes. Echo, a ship laden with cargo from the West Indies, followed. For the following 21 years all vessels in the West India trade using the Port of London were compelled to use the West India docks by a clause in the Act of Parliament that had enabled their construction; the southern dock, the South West India Dock known as South Dock, was constructed in the 1860s, replacing the unprofitable City Canal, built in 1805. The City of London Corporation acquired the Company in 1829. In 1909 the Port of London Authority took over the West India Docks, along with the other enclosed docks from St Katharines to Tilbury.
The original docks consisted of an Import Dock of 30 acres of water named North Dock, an Export Dock of 24 acres named Middle Dock. Between them, the docks had a combined capability to berth over 600 vessels. Locks and basins at either end of the Docks connected them to the river Thames; these were known as Blackwall Basin and Limehouse Basin, not to be confused with the Regent's Canal Dock known as Limehouse Basin. To avoid congestion, ships entered from the Blackwall end. A dry dock for ship repairs was constructed connecting to Blackwall Basin. Subsequently, the North London Railway's Poplar Dock was connected to Blackwall Basin; the Docks' design allowed a ship arriving from the West Indies to unload in the northern dock, sail round to the southern dock and load up with export cargo in a fraction of the time it had taken in the congested and dangerous upper reaches of the Thames. Around the Import Dock a continuous line of five-storey warehouses was constructed, designed by architect George Gwilt and his son named George.
The Export Dock needed fewer buildings. To protect against theft, the whole complex was surrounded by a brick wall 20 ft high; the three docks were separate, with the two northern docks interconnected only via the basin at each end, South Dock connected via a series of three basins at the eastern end. Railway access was difficult. Under PLA control, cuts were made to connect the three docks into a single system, the connections to the Thames at the western end were filled, along with the Limehouse basin and with it the western connection between the two northern docks; this allowed improved rail access from the north and west. South Dock was connected to the north end of Millwall Dock, its enlarged eastern lock becoming the only entrance from the Thames to the whole West India and Millwall system. From 1960 to 1980, trade in the docks declined to nothing. There were two main reasons. First, the development of the shipping container made this type of small dock inefficient, the dock-owners were slow to embrace change.
Second, the manufacturing exports which had maintained the trade through the docks dwindled and moved away from the local area. In 1980 the docks were closed and the Government took control of the land. After the closure of the upstream enclosed docks, the area was regenerated as part of the Docklands scheme, is now home to the developments of Canary Wharf; the early phase one buildings of Canary Wharf were built out over the water, reducing the width of the north dock and middle dock, the Jubilee line station was constructed within the middle dock. Since 2009, the Canary Wharf Crossrail station and the Crossrail Place development above it have been under construction within the north dock. Further parts of the western end of the south and middle docks are being built over in new developments under construction. However, the docks remain open to ships and structural aspects are now protected from future major change by national and London Government policy. South Dock in particular plays host to medium-sized military vessels visiting London as it is the furthest point upstream that they can be turned around.
In 2005 planning permission w
A frigate is a type of warship, having various sizes and roles over the last few centuries. In the 17th century, a frigate was any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description used being "frigate-built"; these could be warships carrying their principal batteries of carriage-mounted guns on a single deck or on two decks. The term was used for ships too small to stand in the line of battle, although early line-of-battle ships were referred to as frigates when they were built for speed. In the 18th century, frigates were as long as a ship of the line and were square-rigged on all three masts, but were faster and with lighter armament, used for patrolling and escort. In the definition adopted by the British Admiralty, they were rated ships of at least 28 guns, carrying their principal armaments upon a single continuous deck – the upper deck – while ships of the line possessed two or more continuous decks bearing batteries of guns. In the late 19th century, the armoured frigate was a type of ironclad warship that for a time was the most powerful type of vessel afloat.
The term "frigate" was used because such ships still mounted their principal armaments on a single continuous upper deck. In modern navies, frigates are used to protect other warships and merchant-marine ships as anti-submarine warfare combatants for amphibious expeditionary forces, underway replenishment groups, merchant convoys. Ship classes dubbed "frigates" have more resembled corvettes, destroyers and battleships; some European navies such as the French, German or Spanish ones use the term "frigate" for both their destroyers and frigates. The rank "frigate captain" derives from the name of this type of ship; the term "frigate" originated in the Mediterranean in the late 15th century, referring to a lighter galley-type warship with oars, sails and a light armament, built for speed and maneuverability. The etymology of the word remains uncertain, although it may have originated as a corruption of aphractus, a Latin word for an open vessel with no lower deck. Aphractus, in turn, derived from the Ancient Greek phrase ἄφρακτος ναῦς - "undefended ship".
In 1583, during the Eighty Years' War of 1568-1648, Habsburg Spain recovered the southern Netherlands from the Protestant rebels. This soon resulted in the use of the occupied ports as bases for privateers, the "Dunkirkers", to attack the shipping of the Dutch and their allies. To achieve this the Dunkirkers developed small, sailing vessels that came to be referred to as frigates; the success of these Dunkirker vessels influenced the ship design of other navies contending with them, but because most regular navies required ships of greater endurance than the Dunkirker frigates could provide, the term soon came to apply less to any fast and elegant sail-only warship. In French, the term "frigate" gave rise to a verb - frégater, meaning'to build long and low', to an adjective, adding more confusion; the huge English Sovereign of the Seas could be described as "a delicate frigate" by a contemporary after her upper decks were reduced in 1651. The navy of the Dutch Republic became the first navy to build the larger ocean-going frigates.
The Dutch navy had three principal tasks in the struggle against Spain: to protect Dutch merchant ships at sea, to blockade the ports of Spanish-held Flanders to damage trade and halt enemy privateering, to fight the Spanish fleet and prevent troop landings. The first two tasks required speed, shallowness of draft for the shallow waters around the Netherlands, the ability to carry sufficient supplies to maintain a blockade; the third task required heavy armament, sufficient to stand up to the Spanish fleet. The first of the larger battle-capable frigates were built around 1600 at Hoorn in Holland. By the stages of the Eighty Years' War the Dutch had switched from the heavier ships still used by the English and Spanish to the lighter frigates, carrying around 40 guns and weighing around 300 tons; the effectiveness of the Dutch frigates became most evident in the Battle of the Downs in 1639, encouraging most other navies the English, to adopt similar designs. The fleets built by the Commonwealth of England in the 1650s consisted of ships described as "frigates", the largest of which were two-decker "great frigates" of the third rate.
Carrying 60 guns, these vessels were as capable as "great ships" of the time. The term "frigate" implied a long hull-design, which relates directly to speed and which in turn, helped the development of the broadside tactic in naval warfare. At this time, a further design evolved, reintroducing oars and resulting in galley frigates such as HMS Charles Galley of 1676, rated as a 32-gun fifth-rate but had a bank of 40 oars set below the upper deck which could propel the ship in the absence of a favourable wind. In Danish, the word "fregat" applies to warships carrying as few as 16 guns, such as HMS Falcon, which the British classified as a sloop. Under the rating system of the Royal Navy, by the middle of the 18th century, the term "frigate" was technically restricted to single-decked ships of the fifth rate, though small 28-gun frigates classed as sixth rate; the classic sailing frigate, well-known today for its role in the Napoleonic wars, can be traced back to French deve
QF 4-inch naval gun Mk IV, XII, XXII
The QF 4-inch gun Mk IV was the main gun on most Royal Navy and British Empire destroyers in World War I. It was introduced in 1911 as a faster-loading light gun successor to the BL 4 inch Mk VIII gun. Of the 1,141 produced, 939 were still available in 1939. Mk XII and Mk XXII variants armed many British World War II submarines. Mk IV armed many British destroyers and some cruisers in World War I, it was used to arm merchant ships in World War II. The guns armed the following warships: Forward-class scout cruisers as re-gunned in 1911 Sentinel-class scout cruisers as re-gunned 1911-1912 Pathfinder-class scout cruisers as re-gunned 1911-1912 Adventure-class scout cruisers as re-gunned 1911-1912 Acasta -class destroyers of 1911 Laforey -class destroyers of 1913 Yarrow M-class destroyers laid down 1912 - 1915 Admiralty M-class destroyer of 1913 Thornycroft M-class destroyers laid down 1913 - 1915 Hawthorn M-class destroyer of 1914 Talisman-class destroyers of 1914 Medea-class destroyers of 1914 Faulknor-class leaders of 1914 Marksman-class destroyers of 1914 Parker class leaders of 1915 Yarrow Later M-class destroyers of 1915 R-class destroyers of 1916 S-class destroyers of 1917 Fundy-class minesweepers of 1938 The Mk XII variant was developed for arming submarines from 1918, Mk XXII was developed to arm submarines during World War II.
These submarine guns fired a heavier 35 pounds projectile from late 1944. Shortly after the end of hostilities, the Mk XXII was superseded in new British submarines by the lighter QF 4 inch Mk XXIII. L class Odin class Parthian class River class Grampus class Triton class S class Some of the Amphion class The Mk IV gun from HMS Lance which fired the first British shot of World War I on 5 August 1914 is on display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. List of naval guns 10.5 cm SK L/45 naval gun: German WWI equivalent 10.5 cm SK C/32 naval gun: Slightly more powerful German equivalent WWII submarine gun 4"/50 caliber gun: US Navy equivalent Tony DiGiulian, British 4"/40 QF Marks IV, XII and XXII Campbell, John. Naval Weapons of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4
In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian period and preceded the Edwardian period, its half overlaps with the first part of the Belle Époque era of Continental Europe. In terms of moral sensibilities and political reforms, this period began with the passage of the Reform Act 1832. There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodist, the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England. Britain's relations with the other Great Powers were driven by the colonial antagonism of the Great Game with Russia, climaxing during the Crimean War. Britain embarked on global imperial expansion in Asia and Africa, which made the British Empire the largest empire in history. National self-confidence peaked. Ideologically, the Victorian era witnessed resistance to the rationalism that defined the Georgian period and an increasing turn towards romanticism and mysticism with regard to religion, social values, arts.
Domestically, the political agenda was liberal, with a number of shifts in the direction of gradual political reform, industrial reform, the widening of the franchise. There were unprecedented demographic changes: the population of England and Wales doubled from 16.8 million in 1851 to 30.5 million in 1901, Scotland's population rose from 2.8 million in 1851 to 4.4 million in 1901. However, Ireland's population decreased from 8.2 million in 1841 to less than 4.5 million in 1901 due to emigration and the Great Famine. Between 1837 and 1901 about 15 million emigrated from Great Britain to the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia; the two main political parties during the era remained the Conservatives. These parties were led by such prominent statesmen as Lord Melbourne, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Derby, Lord Palmerston, Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, Lord Salisbury; the unsolved problems relating to Irish Home Rule played a great part in politics in the Victorian era in view of Gladstone's determination to achieve a political settlement in Ireland.
In the strictest sense, the Victorian era covers the duration of Victoria's reign as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, from her accession on 20 June 1837—after the death of her uncle, William IV—until her death on 22 January 1901, after which she was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII. Her reign lasted for seven months, a longer period than any of her predecessors; the term'Victorian' was in contemporaneous usage to describe the era. The era has been understood in a more extensive sense as a period that possessed sensibilities and characteristics distinct from the periods adjacent to it, in which case it is sometimes dated to begin before Victoria's accession—typically from the passage of or agitation for the Reform Act 1832, which introduced a wide-ranging change to the electoral system of England and Wales. Definitions that purport a distinct sensibility or politics to the era have created scepticism about the worth of the label "Victorian", though there have been defences of it.
Michael Sadleir was insistent that "in truth the Victorian period is three periods, not one". He distinguished early Victorianism – the and politically unsettled period from 1837 to 1850 – and late Victorianism, with its new waves of aestheticism and imperialism, from the Victorian heyday: mid-Victorianism, 1851 to 1879, he saw the latter period as characterised by a distinctive mixture of prosperity, domestic prudery, complacency – what G. M. Trevelyan called the "mid-Victorian decades of quiet politics and roaring prosperity". In 1832, after much political agitation, the Reform Act was passed on the third attempt; the Act abolished many borough seats and created others in their place, as well as expanding the franchise in England and Wales. Minor reforms followed in 1835 and 1836. On 20 June 1837, Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom on the death of her uncle, William IV, her government was led by the Whig prime minister Lord Melbourne, but within two years he had resigned, the Tory politician Sir Robert Peel attempted to form a new ministry.
In the same year, a seizure of British opium exports to China prompted the First Opium War against the Qing dynasty, British imperial India initiated the First Anglo-Afghan War—one of the first major conflicts of the Great Game between Britain and Russia. In 1840, Queen Victoria married her German cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield, it proved a happy marriage, whose children were much sought after by royal families across Europe. In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi established British sovereignty over New Zealand; the signing of the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 ended the First Opium War and gave Britain control over Hong Kong Island. However, a disastrous retreat from Kabul in the same year led to the annihilation of a British army column in Afghanistan. In 1845, the Great Famine began to cause mass starvation and death in Ireland, sparking large-scale emigration. Peel was replaced by the Whig ministry of Lord John Russell. In 1853, Britain fought alongside France in the Crimean War against Russia.
The goal was to ensure that Russia could not benefit from the declining status
World War I centenary
The First World War Centenary is the centenary of the First World War, which started on 28 July 2014 with commemorations of the outbreak of the war and ended on 11 November 2018. In Australia, the occasion is known as the Anzac Centenary. Committees planning the event included the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary and the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board; the government had budgeted $83.5M for a seven-year programme which will include commemorative events in Australia and overseas. The Brisbane City Council has spent $13.4 million to refurbish the Shrine of Remembrance, Brisbane located in ANZAC Square and $1 million revitalising 31 suburban war memorials. Many commemorative events were organised by other organisations. During the centenary of the First World War, Australia is said to have spent more than any other country put together to celebrate the Anzacs; the centenary of World War I was marked by a program of exhibition and academic research focusing on the theme of Belgian involvement in the conflict and the occupation.
The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History in Brussels hosted an exhibition titled "Expo 14–18: It's Our History" from 2014 to 2015. The city of Sarajevo, where the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand took place, organized a commemoration in the period 21–28 June 2014; the event was named "Sarajevo, heart of Europe". Filmmaker Emir Kusturica announced an initiative to hold a ceremony on 28 June 2014, in which a re-trial of Gavrilo Princip would be started; the motivation behind the initiative was that Austria-Hungary never ratified the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, that a verdict of high treason therefore should be considered illegal. "It was a political murder, but not high treason. If Princip was convicted of murder, it wouldn't have been possible to sentence him to lifetime imprisonment", Kusturica commented. Further, he will exhibit letters written by Oskar Potiorek, argues that they prove that a war was planned long before the Sarajevo Assassination; the centenary of the First World War was commemorated on 3 August, the date of the German declaration of war on France.
A wreath-laying ceremony was held at the National War Memorial, before continuing at the Canadian War Museum. During the ceremony, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the permanent extension of the Ceremonial Guard's sentry hours, from Vimy Ridge Day to Remembrance Day. Other tributes were held in Halifax, where lights were shut off at major landmarks, an ecumenical service at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist in St. John's; the event was commemorated in Toronto in an event organized by the tourism office for Flanders, where a group of men in newsboy costumes distributed fictitious historical newspaper describing the major events of the war. The centenary of the war was the theme of the 93rd annual Warrior's Day Parade, held on 10 August at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition; the Czech Radio ran several accounts on the social networks where they are remembering all the events from the World War I day-by-day. That was accompanied by a special website with an archive of radio programmes with stories from World War I.
The Czech Republic was part of Austria–Hungary. The cultural network "Golden Days" planned a commemoration in September 2014, "1914, the Gateway to Modern Europe". Denmark did not take part in the warfare; the biggest event from a Danish perspective is the reunification with Northern Schleswig in 1920. After the Second War of Schleswig in 1864, Denmark was forced to cede Schleswig and Holstein to Prussia. In 1918, the Versailles powers offered to return the region of Schleswig-Holstein to Denmark. After the Schleswig Plebiscites Northern Schleswig was recovered by Denmark in 1920; the reunion day is celebrated every 15 June on Valdemarsdag. In France, the government carried out a policy of national remembrance. An early start was made in 2011 with the opening of Le Musee de la Grande Guerre in Meaux on Armistice Day. France set up an official board for the commemoration of the centenary under the name of Mission du Centenaire. A military ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe took place on November 11, 2018 and was led by President Emmanuel Macron.
Over 60 heads of state and government took part in the ceremony, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, American President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Paris Peace Forum was organized as part of the celebrations; the centenary of the First World War was marked in Ireland. A cross of sacrifice was erected in Glasnevin in Dublin, which included a joint Irish-British commemoration ceremony. A season of First World War programmes will be broadcast on RTÉ; the Centenary commemorations were marked in Taita Taveta County, with events starting from 16 August 2014 and going on for another 5 years. Kenya, known as British East Africa during World War I, borders Tanzania known as German East Africa. Taita Taveta County was therefore the site of several important battles in what was known as the East African Campaign of World War I; the German Schutztruppe occupied Taveta and built fortified outposts with an intention of blocking the British from using the Voi-Taveta Railway.
Major battle sites and commemoration locations include: The German outpost on Salaita Hill where a big battle was fought on 12 February 1916, followed by a German retreat towards the Kenya-Tanzania border. Latema and Rianta Hills where a major battle was fought between 12 and 16 March 1916, the final World War I battle in British colonial territory. Mile 27 on the Voi-Maktau Railway F
St Katharine Docks
St Katharine Docks is a former dock and now a mixed-use development in Wapping in Central London, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and within the East End. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames downstream of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. From 1828 to 1968 it was one of the commercial docks, it is in the redevelopment zone known as Docklands, is now a popular housing and leisure complex. St Katharine Docks took their name from the former hospital of St Katharine's by the Tower, built in the 12th century, which stood on the site. An intensely built-up 23 acre site was earmarked for redevelopment by an Act of Parliament in 1825, with construction commencing in May 1827; some 1250 houses were demolished, together with the medieval hospital of St. Katharine. Around 11,300 inhabitants port workers crammed into unsanitary slums, lost their homes; the scheme was his only major project in London. To create as much quayside as possible, the docks were designed in the form of two linked basins, both accessed via an entrance lock from the Thames.
Steam engines designed by James Watt and Matthew Boulton kept the water level in the basins about four feet above that of the tidal river. By 1830, the docks had cost over £2 million to build. Telford aimed to minimise the amount of quayside activity and specified that the docks' warehouses be built right on the quayside so that goods could be unloaded directly into them; the docks were opened on 25 October 1828. Although well used, they were not a great commercial success and were unable to accommodate large ships, they were amalgamated in 1864 with the neighbouring London Docks. In 1909, the Port of London Authority took over the management of all of the Thames docks, including the St Katharine; the St Katharine Docks were badly damaged by German bombing during the Second World War. All the warehouses around the eastern basin were destroyed, the site they had occupied remained derelict until the 1990s; because of their restricted capacity and inability to cope with large modern ships, the St Katharine Docks were among the first to be closed in 1968, were sold to the Greater London Council.
The site was leased to the developers Taylor Woodrow and most of the original warehouses around the western basin were demolished and replaced by modern commercial buildings in the early 1970s, beginning with the bulky Tower Hotel on a site parallel to the river just to the east of Tower Bridge. This was followed by the World Trade Centre Commodity Quay. Development around the eastern basin was completed in the 1990s; the development has been cited as a model example of successful urban redevelopment. In 1980, a plan was approved to open a St Katharine Docks Underground station on the proposed extension of the Jubilee line, it would have been between Fenchurch Wapping. An eastwards extension was built as part of the Jubilee line, but took a different route south of the Thames; the closest stations to the Docks today are Tower Hill and Tower Gateway DLR station, both equidistant from the north-west corner of the Docks. Between 2005 and 2008 the former Danish lightship "Lightship X" was moored on the west dock, used as a restaurant, before returning to Denmark.
The marina, including restaurants and offices, was owned by Max Property Group, operated by investor Nick Leslau, since 2011, was sold to Blackstone Group in 2014. Over the next three years, Blackstone completed a major restoration. In May 2017, the company retained agents to find potential buyers for the complex. In October 2017, Blackstone withdrew the property from the market because bids were below the asking price; the area now features offices and private housing, a large hotel and restaurants, a pub, a yachting marina and other recreational facilities. It remains a popular leisure destination; the east dock is now dominated by the City Quay residential development, comprising more than 200 owned flats overlooking the marina. The south side of the east dock is surrounded by the South Quay Estate, social housing; the dock is still used by small to medium-sized boats on a daily basis. The anchor from the wreck of the Dutch East Indiaman Amsterdam is on display at the entrance to the east dock.
Notable boats moored in the docks include: Gloriana, royal barge MV Havengore, former Port of London Authority hydrographic survey vesselSeveral Thames sailing barges are based in the docks. David Mellor and former politician, Penelope, Viscountess Cobham David Suchet, actor Jo Cox, assassinated Labour Party MP St. Katharine Pier is close to the St Katharine Dock, providing river transport services managed by London River Services; the main service from St Katharine Pier is a circular river cruise operated by Crown River Cruises which goes non-stop to Westminster Millennium Pier before returning via the South Bank arts centre, as well as a Westminster-Greenwich express service run by Thames River Services. The nearby Tower Millennium Pier, located on the other side of Tower Bridge, now provides the main commuter river boat services to Canary Wharf and Greenwich in the east and the West End in the west, a fast visitor service to the London Eye. Media related to St Katharine Docks at Wikimedia Commons Official website St Katharine Docks