Friday, 27 November 2009

Boats as street furniture

The Albert Embankment runs along the south bank of the Thames in Lambeth. When it was built by the famous engineer Joseph Bazalgette in the 1860s, a line of wharves was swept away but local rights to a slipway at the end of Black Prince Road, known as the White Hart Draw Dock, forced Bazalgette to build a new one, accessed through a tunnel under the road.

Right up until the middle of the last century there were boatbuilders here, but as industry left the dock was forgotten, filling and emptying unnoticed with every tide, hidden behind the high walls and flood gates that prevent it from flooding Lambeth on spring tides.
However, when Berkeley Homes wanted to build a block of flats next to the dock, part of the planning deal was to put money towards prettifying it. and now it has several imitation Thames wherries propped up on the wall for park benches and the dock has a line of pointed timber arches over it. It looks very good - congratulations to Handspring Design of Sheffield.

1 comment:

Joe Handspring said...

Nice post and comments. I thought it was the pottery industries - Royal Doulton, etc. - that left the Embankment just over 50 years ago (?), rather than the boat building industry which was much older. Maybe you know something we don't. Happy boating.