Pictorial History of the West India Docks. Part 2: Early 20th Century (Pre-WWII)

Survey of London:

Inefficiencies and competition between the various dock companies along the Thames led to the appointment of a Royal Commission on the Administration of the Port of London which, in 1902, recommended the incorporation of a port authority to purchase and manage all London’s docks. The government bought the docks, and the new Port of London Authority (PLA) assumed control on 31 March 1909.

The PLA declared its long-term plans for London’s docks in January 1911, with the publication of Palmer’s ‘Proposals for Improvement and Extension of Dock Accommodation in the Port of London’. In 1914 the PLA made plans for a large basin linking the docks (Blackwall Basin) and for the first time a communicating passage from the South Dock to the Millwall Inner Dock (Millwall Cutting).

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However, the start of WWI meant it would be almost 1925 before work was commenced, which by then included connecting passages between all three West India Docks and an extended east South Dock entrance lock to handle larger ships.

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1908. Millwall Docks Extension Railway looking north, at site of present-day Churchill Place

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c1910. The Call-On

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1912. North Quay

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1919. West India Dock Volunteer Army Unit

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1926

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1929. Entrance lock reconstruction

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1930. The Jamaica Tavern, the Maritime Hall and the dock entrance

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Canary Wharf, opened in 1937

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