Search

Royal Docks’ rich history to be brought to life with education pack

10:52 12 August 2014

Early trials of container cargoes at No.4 berth, Royal Victoria Dock in 1964 Picture:  PLA Collection/Museum of London

Early trials of container cargoes at No.4 berth, Royal Victoria Dock in 1964 Picture: PLA Collection/Museum of London

Museum of London- PLA collection

London has been the centre of trade and commerce since its foundation by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago.

RMS Rangitiki is seen berthed at Number 29 Shed, Royal Albert Dock, circa.1955 Picture:PLA/Musuem of LondonRMS Rangitiki is seen berthed at Number 29 Shed, Royal Albert Dock, circa.1955 Picture:PLA/Musuem of London

They chose the site, where the River Thames narrows, as a suitable crossing point for their armies. Soon the river became a vital part of the development of the city as a port.

Now, when children who live and study in the area around the Royal Docks (and further afield) return to school after their summer holidays, they will be learning about both the ancient and the more recent history of the Royal Docks,

They will be using an education pack called Your Royal Docks that has been specially designed for the Key Stage 2 part of the curriculum with the aim of bringing the area’s rich history to life.

The pack has been developed by the Museum of London Docklands in partnership with London City Airport and features cross-curricular links with geography, art, design and technology. Teachers will also be able to cover literacy, numeracy and ICT through some of the activities.

The staves of a hogshead of tobacco being removed before it is weighed at the Royal Victoria Dock, the heart of the Port's tobacco trade in 1930 Picture:   PLA/Museum of LondonThe staves of a hogshead of tobacco being removed before it is weighed at the Royal Victoria Dock, the heart of the Port's tobacco trade in 1930 Picture: PLA/Museum of London

In addition to photographs, the pack also includes a timeline. It charts the history of the Royal Docks from 1855 when Royal Victoria Dock was built by the London and St Katharine Dock Company. It was for vessels that were too large to use the upriver docks near the Tower of London. The timeline goes right up to the present, as the Silvertown Partnership announces plans to regenerate Silvertown Quays into a waterfront destination with global brands and a residential zone.

As well as background on the development of the area there are suggestions for pupils to learn more about its history.

Kirsty Sullivan, from the ­Museum of London Docklands, said: “I think the history of the Royal Docks is a key part of the new development and focuses people’s minds on the area as an important part of east London, as well as helping people understand why it is still so important to London’s economy even though the commercial docks have closed.

“The Royal Docks are the last great opportunity for ­inner London regeneration; we know this massive area is ripe for ­redevelopment.

Royal Docks historian Kirsty Sullivan at the museum of London, DocklandsRoyal Docks historian Kirsty Sullivan at the museum of London, Docklands

“It is the last great space in east London that is open enough to become as regenerated as ­Canary Wharf or Stratford – it’s the gateway to the River [Thames] and from there to the rest of the world.

“It can be a place for Asian businesses to establish key ­import and export bases, and the proposed new housing will be a forerunner in the drive ­towards sustainable cities, especially with the development of the super sewer along the river and improvements in local ­waterways like the Lea. Thinking about the environment is key to what will be happening in London in the future.

“In the post war years, regeneration meant total destruction and building skywards rather than focusing on traditional communities, and these ­experiments in modern building weren’t always a success... and a lot of the past was lost.

“People are a lot more sensitive to the past now so the original character of the area is being included as part of the ­redevelopment – for example, we have the ExCeL centre which is very modern but the cranes are still there alongside it. The Millennium Mills are still there and the beautiful old warehousing is a feature of the destination with bars and restaurants.

Damage caused by a V1 rocket which hit Royal Victoria Dock in 1944 Picture: PLA/Museum of LondonDamage caused by a V1 rocket which hit Royal Victoria Dock in 1944 Picture: PLA/Museum of London

“The past has been assimilated into the present incarnation of the Royals and, quite rightly, there is a recognition that the history and development of this part of east London has come out of the Docks.”

The Docks opened in the mid-19th century and the population of east London boomed.

Sailors came from Australia, India, Africa and Canada – from all over the British Empire, crewing ships into what was known as the ‘warehouse of the world’.

East London as we know it today did not develop until the Docks were built.

Mrs Sullivan added: “On the Isle of Dogs and where the Royal Docks are now there was nothing but marshes.

“There was a single man, George P Bidder who built a railway – people called it Bidder’s Folly! People thought he was mad to build the railway in a marsh but he bought up the land around it and made his profits selling it to people like Tate & Lyle and the London and St Katharine Dock company.

“The sailors from Pakistan and India formed part of the large population in the mid-1800s and they settled in the Docks, marrying local women in the early days and spreading through the area – the Docks are the reason the area is so diverse, as it was an entry post for people from all over the world. There was also a huge Irish community working on the canals and the railways when they were being built, then they worked on the building of the Docks and finally became dockers.

“As someone who is involved with the past, present and future of the area, I think it is incredibly important that schools and local communities are taught how their population has developed.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:37
Police at City of London Cemetery in Manor Park

A man who stabbed a “loving husband and father” to death during a family funeral in Manor Park has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Homicide and Major Crime Command
Yesterday, 16:58
Take part in our social media hustings from 7pm to 8pm

Take part in our live social media hustings this evening where you’ll be able to quiz candidates battling to become MP for West Ham in this year’s general election.

Facebook
Yesterday, 16:51
Take part in our social media hustings from 7pm to 8pm

Take part in our live social media hustings this evening where you’ll be able to quiz all the candidates battling to become MP for East Ham in this year’s general election.

Facebook
Yesterday, 16:46
Supt Simon Dobinson from the Met's Firearms Command, Borough Commander Tony Nash, Sir Robin Wales  and Pc Justin Wiseman from the Territorial Support Group (picture: Paul Boyling)

Police officers have marked the sixth anniversary of the death of a colleague who suffered a fatal head injury in the line of duty.

Metropolitan Police

Most read news

Competitions

Glen Moray whiskey could be winging its way to you.

The Glen Moray Classic is a classic Speyside single malt and forms the starting point for the Classic Range.

Read more
Seasons 1-4 on Blu-ray, as well as a shiny new Sony Blu-ray player could be coming your way!

To celebrate the fifth series of George RR Martin and HBO’s epic fantasy Game of Thrones, Ladbrokes is giving away a series one to four Blu-ray box set along with a Sony Blu-ray player to one lucky winner!

Read more

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder