Pool of London

Pool of London

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The Pool of London is a part of the Tideway
Tideway
The Tideway is a name given to the part of the River Thames in England that is subject to tides. This stretch of water is downstream from Teddington Lock and is just under long...

 of the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 from London Bridge
London Bridge
London Bridge is a bridge over the River Thames, connecting the City of London and Southwark, in central London. Situated between Cannon Street Railway Bridge and Tower Bridge, it forms the western end of the Pool of London...

 to below Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name...

. It was the original part of the Port of London
Port of London
The Port of London lies along the banks of the River Thames from London, England to the North Sea. Once the largest port in the world, it is currently the United Kingdom's second largest port, after Grimsby & Immingham...

. The Pool of London is divided into two parts, the Upper Pool and Lower Pool. The Upper Pool consists of the section between London Bridge and Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name...

, while the Lower Pool traditionally runs from Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name...

 to the Cherry Garden Pier in Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe is a residential district in inner southeast London, England and part of the London Borough of Southwark. It is located on a peninsula on the south bank of the Thames, facing Wapping and the Isle of Dogs on the north bank, and is a part of the Docklands area...

.

History



Originally, the Pool was the stretch of the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 along Billingsgate
Billingsgate
Billingsgate is a small ward in the south-east of the City of London, lying on the north bank of the River Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge...

 on the south side of the City of London
City of London
The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of...

 where all imported cargoes had to be delivered for inspection and assessment by Customs Officers, giving the area the name of "Legal Quays". Smuggling, theft and pilferage of cargoes were rife on both the busy open wharves and in the crowded warehouses. The term was later used more generally to refer to the stretch of the river in between London Bridge
London Bridge
London Bridge is a bridge over the River Thames, connecting the City of London and Southwark, in central London. Situated between Cannon Street Railway Bridge and Tower Bridge, it forms the western end of the Pool of London...

 and Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe is a residential district in inner southeast London, England and part of the London Borough of Southwark. It is located on a peninsula on the south bank of the Thames, facing Wapping and the Isle of Dogs on the north bank, and is a part of the Docklands area...

, which constituted the farthest reach that could be navigated by a tall-masted vessel.

The Pool was of vital importance to London for centuries - as early as the 7th century the Venerable Bede wrote that the Pool was the reason for London's existence - but it reached its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries. By this time the river was lined with nearly continuous walls of wharves running for miles along both banks, and hundreds of ships moored in the river or alongside the quays. The Pool saw a phenomenal increase in both overseas and coastal trade in the second half of the eighteenth century. Two thirds of coastal vessels using the Pool were colliers meeting an increase in the demand for coal as the population of London rose. Coastal trade virtually doubled between 1750 and 1796 reaching 11,964 vessels in 1795. In overseas trade, in 1751 the pool handled 1,682 ships and 234,639 tons of goods. By 1794 this had risen to 3,663 ships and 620,845 tons. The congestion was so extreme that it was said to be possible to walk across the Thames simply by stepping from ship to ship. London's Docklands had their origins in the lack of capacity in the Pool of London which particularly affected the West India trade. In 1799 The West India Dock Act allowed a new off-river dock to be built for produce from the West Indies and the rest of Docklands followed as landowners built enclosed docks with better security and facilities than the Pool's wharves.

Even after the construction of off-river docks, the Pool of London remained an important part of the Port of London. Shipping needed unrestricted access to the Pool of London which imposed constraints on the crossings that became increasingly necessary with the commercial development on both sides of the river. The Thames Tunnel
Thames Tunnel
The Thames Tunnel is an underwater tunnel, built beneath the River Thames in London, United Kingdom, connecting Rotherhithe and Wapping. It measures 35 feet wide by 20 feet high and is 1,300 feet long, running at a depth of 75 feet below the river's surface...

 from Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe is a residential district in inner southeast London, England and part of the London Borough of Southwark. It is located on a peninsula on the south bank of the Thames, facing Wapping and the Isle of Dogs on the north bank, and is a part of the Docklands area...

 to Wapping
Wapping
Wapping is a place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets which forms part of the Docklands to the east of the City of London. It is situated between the north bank of the River Thames and the ancient thoroughfare simply called The Highway...

 was constructed between 1825 and 1843. Tower Bridge opened in 1894 as a bascule bridge
Bascule bridge
A bascule bridge is a moveable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances the span, or "leaf," throughout the entire upward swing in providing clearance for boat traffic....

. In 1909 the Pool came under the jurisdiction of the Port of London Authority
Port of London Authority
The Port of London Authority is a self-funding public trust established in 1908 by the Port of London Act to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and the authority is responsible for the public right of navigation and for conservancy of the...

.

The abrupt collapse of commercial traffic in the Thames due to the introduction of shipping container
Containerization
Containerization is a system of freight transport based on a range of steel intermodal containers...

s and coastal deep-water ports in the 1960s emptied the Pool and led to all of the wharves being closed down, and many being demolished. The area was extensively redeveloped in the 1980s and 1990s to create new residential and commercial neighbourhoods.

Urban renewal


In 1996, an organisation - the Pool of London Partnership - was established to help promote urban renewal of the areas north and south of the river. It also extended its remit slightly further eastwards to include the docks and wharves of St Katharine Docks
St Katharine Docks
St Katharine Docks, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, were one of the commercial docks serving London, on the north side of the river Thames just east of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge...

 and Shad Thames
Shad Thames
Shad Thames is an historic riverside street next to Tower Bridge in Bermondsey, London, England, and is also an informal name for the surrounding area...

. After a decade of successful regeneration and an investment of approximately £100m, the Pool of London Partnership was due to dissolve in March 2007 with its work to be partially continued by three new organisations: Team London Bridge, the Potters Fields Park Management Trust and the Tower Hill Management Group.

The 'core area' includes Borough Market
Borough Market
Borough Market is a wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, London, England. It is one of the largest food markets in London, and sells a large variety of foods from all over the world.-Information and History:...

, London Bridge
London Bridge
London Bridge is a bridge over the River Thames, connecting the City of London and Southwark, in central London. Situated between Cannon Street Railway Bridge and Tower Bridge, it forms the western end of the Pool of London...

, Guy's Hospital
Guy's Hospital
Guy's Hospital is a large NHS hospital in the borough of Southwark in south east London, England. It is administratively a part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. It is a large teaching hospital and is home to the King's College London School of Medicine...

, London Bridge railway station, Hay's Galleria
Hay's Galleria
Hay's Galleria is a major riverside tourist attraction on the Jubilee Walk in the London Borough of Southwark situated on the south bank of the River Thames.-Wharf:...

, HMS Belfast, City Hall
City Hall (London)
City Hall is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority which comprises the Mayor of London and London Assembly. It is located in Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames near Tower Bridge...

, Shad Thames
Shad Thames
Shad Thames is an historic riverside street next to Tower Bridge in Bermondsey, London, England, and is also an informal name for the surrounding area...

, Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name...

, St Katharine Docks
St Katharine Docks
St Katharine Docks, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, were one of the commercial docks serving London, on the north side of the river Thames just east of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge...

, the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

, Tower Hill tube station
Tower Hill tube station
Tower Hill is a London Underground station at Tower Hill in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.The station is in Travelcard Zone 1 and near the Tower of London...

 and the Monument to the Great Fire of London
Monument to the Great Fire of London
The Monument to the Great Fire of London, more commonly known as The monument, is a 202 ft tall stone Roman Doric column in the City of London, England, near the northern end of London Bridge. It stands at the junction of Monument Street and Panda Bear Hill, 202 ft from where the Great...

.

Cultural references


André Derain
André Derain
André Derain was a French artist, painter, sculptor and co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse.-Early years:...

 painted four works on the Thames and his Pool of London painted in 1906 is on display at the Tate Gallery
Tate Gallery
The Tate is an institution that houses the United Kingdom's national collection of British Art, and International Modern and Contemporary Art...

. Derain was a leading Fauvist  and had been sent to London by his dealer to produce Thames views in the Fauvist style.

A 1951 British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 film Pool of London was a crime drama located within the Pool. The film was directed by Basil Dearden
Basil Dearden
Basil Dearden was an English film director.-Life and career:Dearden was born at Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. He graduated from theatre direction to film, working as an assistant to Basil Dean...

 and its cast included Earl Cameron
Earl Cameron (actor)
Earl Cameron, CBE is a Bermudian actor. He is known as one of the first black actors to break the "colour bar" in the United Kingdom, along with Cy Grant...

, Joan Dowling
Joan Dowling
Joan Dowling was an English character actress.-Biography:Joan Dowling was an English Actress of the 1940–50s era. She was the illegitimate daughter of Vera Dowling and was brought up by her great grandmother in Uxbridge...

 and English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 comic actors Leslie Phillips
Leslie Phillips
Leslie Samuel Phillips, CBE is an English actor with a highly recognisable upper class accent. Originally known for his work as a comedy actor, Phillips subsequently made the transition to character roles.-Early life:...

 and James Robertson Justice
James Robertson Justice
James Robertson Justice was a popular British character actor in British films of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.-Biography:...

. The Pool has also featured as a location in various other films.

See also


  • Docklands
  • Port of London
    Port of London
    The Port of London lies along the banks of the River Thames from London, England to the North Sea. Once the largest port in the world, it is currently the United Kingdom's second largest port, after Grimsby & Immingham...

  • Safeguarded wharf
    Safeguarded wharf
    Safeguarded wharves are those wharves in London which have been given special status by the Mayor of London and the Port of London Authority which ensures they are retained as working wharves and are protected from redevelopment into non-port use....