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Surrey Docks

This is a self-guided walk linking sites in the GLIAS Database.

  • Surrey Commercial Docks (GTL02627)

    A large group of docks on the Rotherhithe peninsula operated in one form or another from 1696 to 1969. In the 1970s, the Port of London Authority and the London Borough of Southwark infilled 423 of the 460 acres of dock waters. The notable exceptions are South Dock which was converted into a marina and the adjacent Greenland Dock which is now primarily used as a watersports centre. Most of Norway Dock was re-excavated to form a water feature surrounded by housing. The eastern side of the former Albion Dock became the Albion Channel, linking Canada and Surrey Waters. Canada Water and the infilled Russia Dock became nature reserves.
    linked sites: Greenland, South, Stave

    Start at Surrey Quays tube.

  • The Dockers' Shelter, Redriff Road, Surrey Quays, SE16 2LW (GTL00884) TQ 35788 78992

  • Dock Managers Offices, Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 2XU (GTL01172)
    (London College of International Business)
    'Former Surrey Commercial Docks Superintendents' Office built in 1887 and restored to its original condition by LDDC in 1985.'

  • Sands Films, 82 St Marychurch Street, SE16 4HZ (GTL01079)

  • Rotherhithe tunnel

  • entrance to Grand Surrey Canal (GTL00093)

  • Lavender Pumphouse, lavender dock pump house (GTL00613)
    'This was constructed by the Port of London Authority in 1930 to maintain the water level in the old Surrey Commercial Dock.'

  • Nelson Dock (GTL00930)

  • Stave Hill, Canada Water, Rotherhithe, London SE16 6SD (GTL03731) TQ 36109 79847


    Greenland Dock (originally known as Howland Great Wet Dock), together with South Dock, is one of only two functioning enclosed docks left on the south bank of the River Thames. Originally excavated in 1696 and enlarged in 1904, it closed in 1969 along with the rest of the Surrey Commercial Docks. Now primarily used as a watersports centre.

    A number of historic features remain including:

  • Norway cut swing bridge (Grade II list entry number: 1385942; National Grid Reference: TQ 36582 79238)
    Plaque reads: 'This footbridge, with its granite paving, formerly stood across the entrance lock to South Dock and dates from about the time of its reconstruction by the Commercial Dock Co. in the 1850s. It was moved here in 1986.'

  • Hydraulic Lock Gate Engine (Grade II list entry number: 1385943; National Grid Reference: TQ 36616 79262)
    Plaque reads: 'This machinery was installed in 1902, at the time the Greenland Lock was enlarged, to open and shut one of the lock gates by high pressure water power. It was heated by gas in winter to stop the water freezing.'

  • Tide gauge house (Grade II list entry number: 1385947; National Grid Reference: TQ 36667 79244)
    Plaque reads: 'It was vital for the correct operation of the lock that the men on duty knew the exact state of the tide. This building housed a tide gauge that indicated the height of water in the river.'

  • Lock Keepers Office (Grade II list entry number: 1385944; National Grid Reference: TQ 36618 79226)
    Plaque reads: 'The crews of men who worked ships in and out of Greenland Lock were based here. They provided a service in three shifts around the clock to suit the tides, under the command of the Lock Keeper.'

  • Swing Bridge (Grade II list entry number: 1385946; National Grid Reference: TQ 36410 79117)
    Plaque reads: 'Like all the equipment around the dock, this footbridge was opened and closed by high pressure water acting through pistons in the cylinders you can see in the pits. The water came from a pump house nearby.'


    South Dock, together with Greenland Dock, is one of only two functioning enclosed docks on the south bank of the River Thames. Built between 1807-1811, it closed in 1969 along with the rest of the Surrey Commercial Docks. Now London's largest marina.

    A number of historic features remain including:

  • Yard Office (TQ xxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
    Plaque reads: 'This little building is one of the few which survive from the days of the Surrey Commercial Dock Co. It was erected in 1902 when the Greenland Dock was doubled in length. Nobody is sure what it was used for.'

  • Hydraulic Sluice (Grade II list entry number: 1385909; National Grid Reference: TQ 36663 79074)
    Plaque reads: 'The sluice gate inside this pit was raised and lowered using high pressure water. Raising the sluice allowed water to flow in or out of the lock to balance the levels on both sides of the gates.'


  • Earl Pumping Station, Chilton Grove, SE8 (GTL01055)

  • Turnpike Stone (GTL01139)

  • Deptford Dockyard (GTL03718)

  • Deptford Creek (GTL00632)

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