My favourite books 23: London’s Lost Riverscape

London’s Lost Riverscape by Chris Ellmers & Alex Werner

Viking 1988

The cover is deceptive.  This book consists of a series of photographs commissioned by the Port of London Authority in 1937, which stitched together would create a giant panorama of the north and south banks of the Thames, from the Upper Pool to Greenwich and back again.  The Empire was in decline, the Blitz was just three years away, but Britain was still a great manufacturing and trading nation, and London’s docks were the world’s busiest.  One third of all Britain’s trade passed through this dock system – none of it survives today, except where maintained for heritage or lifestyle purposes.

This photo is typical:

It shows the western entrance to the West India Docks, which were in the process of being modernised; Sufferance Wharf on the right was the home of Morton’s Foods, whose factory football team in due course became Millwall FC.

Here is roughly the same view today: