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Notes on the Geography of The United Kingdom: London 1: Older Docks: Photo 4

world pictures The United Kingdom: London 1: Older Docks

We hardly have to go any distance downstream before we bump into relics of the 19th century river--gloomy, filthy, but rich with cargoes of silk and spice, tea, wine, and more. By the early 19th century, engineers were looking for ways to provide more parking space. They hit upon the idea of excavating basins that ships could enter through short canals, whose gates could be closed at high tide to keep the basin's water level constant. The first such docks were the West India Docks, now the center of today's prodigiously successful office park and more, Canary Wharf. The St. Katharine Dock, its entrance gate shown here, opened a bit later, in 1806. Its owner, the London Docks Company, had just won a 21-year monopoly on handling all the rice, tobacco, wine, and brandy arriving in London, except for ships from the East and West Indies.

The black metal posts or bollards are dated 1818.

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