|Canada Dock under construction 1875-6|
Canada Dock was established specifically to handle the larger iron vessels and their cargo. Engineer James Adair McConnochie, who had been appointed Resident Engineer to the Surrey Commercial Dock Company in 1865, was chief engineer on the project. McConnochie was a successful engineer who worked in a number of British docks and was also responsible for attractive dockside architecture like the Surrey Docks Office opposite Canada Water tube station. The dock was established on the last segment of land at the base of the peninsula, and was right up against both existing buildings along Lower Road and the immovable presence of the East London Railway. McConnochie's main challenge was to resolve problems caused by the close proximity of the East London Railway, which was semi-subterranean and could have been under threat from both subsidence and leakage from the dock, had measures not been taken to prevent it. As a result, Canada Dock was equipped with vast concrete walls. It also has a slightly curved shape, which reflects that its upper part had to be built along the line of the railway.
|The Michael Rizzello sculpture on Stave Hill showing the |
docks as they were in 1896 before the extension of Greenland Dock.
On the far left is Canada Dock with the slight kink
in its shape, together with the remaining ponds.
Due to the new entrance (or "cut") between Canada Dock and the older part of the system, the old cut became redundant and was turned into a small dry dock for the repair and maintenance of barges and lighters. This was unearthed in 2016, during construction work at the sit. The dry dock has been named locally Albion Dry Dock and has been covered on a post of its own, here. The dry dock can be seen in the photograph at the very bottom of this page.
A contemporary account from 1878 was provided by Edward Walford (Rotherhithe. Old and New London; Volume 6, pages 134-142):
"The Commercial Docks have an entrance from the Thames, between Randall's Rents and Dog and-Duck Stairs, nearly opposite the King's Arms Stairs in the Isle of Dogs. They are the property of the Surrey Commercial Dock Company. A considerable extension of their area has been made within the last few years, with a view to meeting the increased requirements of the timber trade in the port of London, by the addition of a new dock which has been named the Canada Dock. It is 1,500 feet in length, 500 feet in width, and has a water area of sixteen acres and a half. It communicates with the Albion Dock by an entrance fifty feet in width, and the quay space around is upwards of twenty-one acres in extent."
|Canada Dock in 1876 and 1914|
|Canada Water in 1996, the last patch that remains of Canada Dock, as|
it was during the construction of the Jubilee Line station, also
called Canada Water. The Albion Dry Dock is shown at far left, centre.
Photo from the London Docklands Past and Present site