Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Woolwich Free Ferry

London The Unfinished City
Looking from the south terminal to the north.

Although you can traverse the River Thames by foot, either by bridge, tunnel or cable car, you can also choose to go by train, by road or boat.

The Woolwich Free Ferry, however, is only suitable if travelling from South Woolwich to North Woolwich, but it is still a fun way of travelling and offers some great views along the Thames. Plus, it is completely free to use.

Brief History

There has been a ferry crossing, at Woolwich, since the 14th century, with commercial ferries running until the 19th century. 

The Woolwich Free Ferry was opened for vehicles, good vehicles and foot passengers in 1889, travelling between North Woolwich and South Woolwich.

It was the first successful attempt to provide a means of communication and goods between the the eastern areas of the River Thames.

London The Unfinished City
Ben Woollacott.

The original ferries were paddle-steamers, which were replaced with diesel ferries in 1963. During the following years, 1964-1966, the original floating pontoons were replaced with steel-trussed ramp terminals. These terminals can operate over a 30 foot tidal range.

In 2014 refurbishment began on the piers and, in 2016, two new boats were ordered, which entered service in 2019. They were named after Dame Vera Lynn, who was born in nearby East Ham and Ben Woollacott, a 19 year old ferry worker, who died after falling from a boat.

London The Unfinished City
Woolwich Free Ferry.

Woolwich is now one of the best connected areas in East London, what with the Free Ferry (about 5 minutes travel time), Woolwich Foot Tunnel (about 15 minutes walk) and the Docklands Light Railway (about 3 minutes travel time), getting from north to south of the river has never been easier.

No comments:

Post a Comment