BRIEF HISTORY DURING THE SNOW ERA (1813-58)
Saint Katherine's Dock was built between 1825 and 1828 on 23 acres next to the River Thames, situated between the Tower of London and the London Docks. Ten of the acres are of water, while 13 are of land. The site was the former location of the Royal Foundation of Saint Katharine, an entity that provided comfort, charity and education for the poor. Also at the site was St. Katharine's Church, built in the 12th century and the personal property of the Queens of England (see picture) and Saint Katharine's Hospital, a non-medical charity, religious and educational center ruled by the royal families. Originally all property was built on leases from the Royal Foundation, but with time the leases were passed from one person to another. In 1825 the St Katharine Docks Bill was adopted by Parliament, authorizing the purchase of the Royal Foundation of Saint Katharine and all its property. The intent was to expand the trading capacity of London. Despite extensive protests, the St. Katharine's Church and 11,300 habitants of the area were dispossessed of their leased homes and land, to make way for the new commercial dock. Saint Katharine's Hospital relocated to Regency Park.
The new dock was designed by Thomas Telford (see picture) and opened with a great ceremony on October 25, 1828. It was Telford's only complete work in London. The area consisted of a large basin of 1.5 acres leading to two four-acre docks. These were surrounded by warehouses of yellow brickwork, six floors high, that could provide storage for 1.25 million square feet items. While considerable in acreage, the port was not deep enough for large, steam-driven ships which would soon play a more dominant role in international commerce. St. Katharine's Dock was never a great financial success and was forced to merge with the nearby London Docks in 1864.
Inwood S. A History of London, 1998.
Richardson J. The Annals of London, 2000
Watson A. London Bridge to Gravesend in The Royal River, 1885.
Weinreb B, Hibbert C (eds). The London Encyclopaedia, 1993.