Man talking on camera

Watch: In Conversation


A Special Education

Locals got the opportunity to see..."some wonderful boats, the Peron boats Eva Peron, the Star boat [...] I can remember the Rangitiki came in had typhoid on board and they moored it up by the locks flying the yellow flag because it was under quarantine" Victor PardoeThe ships filled the yard with lively sounds and smells, but what you really had to look out for was the funnels of the ships blowing up the dirt."You would not dare let your washing…

View More

Harland & Wolff

Numerous jobs took place at Harland & Wolff! Here are some you might not have thought of... Boiler MakersSteam engines were the pioneer of ship power in the 19th century. The heating of water to create the steam was done in large metal boilers crafted by the boilermakers.  French PolishersCraftsmanship didn’t just lie in welding and carving the body of the ship, but many important processes went into the interiors. French Polishing…

View More

Life at the Yard

It wasn't just strikes that brought work to a standstill. Production could be weather dependent; floods, fog and even ice would break the dockers away from their work. The big freeze of 47, deserted the yards. The big freeze of 47, deserted the yards..."there was no buses, no trains, everything stopped. The Docks was frozen over" Victor PardoeDespite the strikes, there was a keen respect for your superiors. Apprentices..."always addressed tradesmen…

View More


The controversial decision to knock down and rebuild housing in the area could be felt by past residents, many thought they had..."made a mistake by knocking down those six streets of terrace houses […] they had only been built at the turn of the century […] nothing wrong with it" Fred BowyerThe closing of the docks and many factories lead many locals to leave the area in hope to find new work. One resident also commented that some dockers..."got…

View More

Download Our Leaflet

Produced with a group of young people from NewVic College who visited archives, attended walking tours, and spoke with locals both past and present to uncover the story of Harland & Wolff, shipbuilders and repairers based in the Royal Docks for half a century.

Download the PDF

Supported by:

More from our heritage programme

Foragers of the Foreshore

Dig deep into the history of mudlarking.

Discover this project

London's Lost Village

The history of Trinity Buoy Wharf and the Leamouth Peninsula.

Discover this project

Places of Change

Lodging houses and other spaces in London’s Royal Docks

Discover this project

The Islanders

The industrial and community heritage of Silvertown & North Woolwich.

Discover this project