|The Grand Surrey Canal system in 1843 showing|
the expansion of the canal to create dock areas
but before the addition of the new lock,
Surrey Basin, Albion Dock and the new
timber ponds. Compare with the map below.
The success of this venture confirmed to the Grand Surrey Canal Company that its future lay not in the canal but in the development of further inland docks. In 1855 its named was changed to the Grand Surrey Docks and Canal Company, after which it set about modernizing and expanding in order to accommodate the larger and deeper vessels that were being built. The upgrades were necessary to accommodate a new and larger type of ship. When the Grand Surrey Canal was built, most of the ships traveling through the outer basins and the canal itself were wooden, and powered by sail. With the advent of steam and the the development of steel hulls, ships became faster and bigger. Older locks were often neither long enough nor deep enough to handle the bigger ships, and dock systems had to upgrade in order to remain competitive. Bigger cargo holds meant a requirement for greater cargo handling efficiencies and storage facilities. Steam ships, which were not at the mercy of tides, required a quick turnaround, and therefore cargo handling facilities needed to improve. This all represented opportunity for the Grand Surrey Docks and Canal Company.
|The new Surrey Lock, with narrowboats in the foreground and|
timber stacked on its eastern side, a gas light on the left.
|The newly excavated Grand Surrey Dock|
and Canal System, with the two lock entrances
highlighted at the top of the map. 1868.
By 1862 the Grand Surrey Canal Dock and Canal Company had added four timber ponds to their system for the first time: Timber Ponds 1, 2, 3 and 4 (later named Albion Pond, Centre Pond, Quebec Pond and Canada Pond respectively). These were designed to compete with similar ponds in the Surrey Commercial Dock system and were intended for the flotation and handling of timber. The ponds were linked into the rest of the system by a connection between Timber Pond 1 and Main Dock.
The first lock was sealed off from the dock system in 1888 and was later used as a Thames wharf. Today its position is marked as an inlet downriver of Pacific Wharf, the modern apartment block next to the Old Salt Quay public house.
|Partial view of the Surrey Entrance Lock from the |
Thames, to the right. From "Lure and Lore of
London's River" by AG Linney, 1932.
Canada Dock completed this part of the dock system, and was built in 1875 by the amalgamated Surrey Commercial Dock Company, and will be discussed in a post that will be published in the next few days. A new cut was made between Canada Dock and the older part of the system, and the old cut was converted into a dry dock, now known as Albion Dry Dock (about which more can be found here).
Thanks as usual to Stuart Rankin's booklets for being such a great resource for local history. His book, A Short History of the Surrey Commercial Docks can be downloaded as PDF, free of charge, from: http://www.docklandshistorygroup.org.uk/downloads/RankinSurreyDocks.pdf