West Ham reconnecting with their Thames Ironworks heritage

10:00 14 March 2014

Southend rowers

Southend rowers


Southend rowers embark on marathon trip to Olympic stadium

Rowing boatRowing boat

When West Ham United move to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford in 2016 it will finally reconnect them with the waterways on which the club was born in the 19th century as Thames Ironworks.

And one group of intrepid sailors are looking to highlight that fact with a 38-mile endurance tow from Southend Pier to the new stadium to raise funds and awareness for the work of the Thames Ironworks Trust.

Southend Coastal Rowing Club, whose chairman is Hammers season ticket holder Pat O’Connor, will be undertaking the rowing marathon in August, but not just in any boat.

Rather than use modern lightweight sliding seat boats it seemed more appropriate for the rowers to use a gig almost identical to those rowed by Thames Lightermen back in the days of Thames Ironworks.

The row is to take place on Saturday, August 2. It will depart Southend Pier and head up the Thames going past Canvey Island, Tilbury Docks, the QE2 Bridge and the Woolwich Ferry before reaching the Millennium Dome and turning right up Bow Creek until reaching the Olympic Stadium.

The Thames Ironworks Heritage Trust are looking to restore a boat and found a museum close to the stadium which will prove a permanent reminder of the link between the Thames Ironworks and West Ham United.

There is a plan to restore a fully functional recently discovered RNLI Lifeboat named ‘the Helen Smitton’ which was built by Thames Ironworks over 100 years ago and to have it moored at a specifically built boathouse and small museum.

It will offer educational heritage tours of the surrounding waterways that focus on this industrial heritage, teaching local young people the history of the area, something that is at risk of being lost as the area slowly gentrifies. Boat trips would also be available to football fans on match days.

Once West Ham United move to the Olympic Stadium it is hoped that these waterway tours will provide work and training for locals, and will generate surplus funds that can be invested back into charitable causes based along the East London stretch of the Thames.


Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 14:05
Diane and Darren Reed and sons Josh, 11, Finn, eight, and Lewis, six, were among the families taking part

Runners of all ages and abilities took to the track in the Lee Valley VeloPark this morning for the NSPCC’s inaugural 60 Minute Challenge.

Yesterday, 08:00
The Galloping Cuckoos

Head out on a musical journey with an artistic performance group this week.

Saturday, October 3, 2015
General view of Anchor House in Barking Road, London E16.

A charity based in Canning Town is hosting a reception in the House of Lords this week to mark World Homeless Day.

House of Lords
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Cathy Tyson in She Called Me Mother

“The story is about suffering, empowerment and relationships.”

Most read news


You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Read more
Shop till you drop!

Here’s your chance to treat yourself to a new wardrobe and a whole lot more with this MyOffers competition to win an incredible £2,500 to spend at Primark on whatever you like!

Read more

Digital Edition

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

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder