Chairman: Peter Finch
Secretary: Susan Raber
The area covered by the Branch extends from Putney to the Estuary – from largely residential with occasional working wharves, through the historic centre of London, to converted warehouses and docks, down to the existing port areas , open country on both banks, to the sea.
Ships range from recreational craft to ferries, tugs towing barges to very large container vessels, visiting square-rigged ships to cruise liners.
Our Branch deals with many planning and environmental issues, from an application to modify a listed building through to large-scale developments, with those proposed at Convoys’s Wharf, Deptford and Swanscombe just two current examples. We also seek to maintain and improve public access to the river, such as the former waterman’s stairs, draw-docks and other former boat-landing places, together with preserving the current, vitally important ship repair and building facilities.
We have a volunteer River Warden scheme ( shared with Upper Tideway Branch), with members responsible for particular stretches or reaches of the river, reporting and problems on the Thames Path or foreshore, which are then taken up with the appropriate authorities. Members also organise clean-ups along the banks, often in co-operation with local groups and Thames 21, a major environmental charity.
The Branch, as did the Society as a whole, supported the construction of the Tideway Tunnel, which will end the scandal of sewage entering the river at times of heavy rainfall, we have taken part in campaigns to create nature reserves and for using the river rather than roads for transporting goods and materials.
We maintain liaison with the Port of London Authority, regional and local councils, industrial and recreational groups , including rowing and sailing clubs and seek to take part in conferences, research and other activities looking at aspects of river life.
On the social side we organise events, ranging from talks with visiting speakers to river walks and trips to visits to places of interest. Recent examples include a screening of a film about the river made by a member who is a former BBC director, to a walk along the Thames Path in Wapping and Limehouse, to a visit to the PLA’s pilots’ simulator at Gravesend.
Details of our branch events are listed in the Events Diary.
Branch Chairman's Update - November 2021
In September, branch members visited Canvey Island, walking along the sea wall and lunching in a local pub.
In October we visited the Grade 11* listed Royal Foundation of St. Katharine, founded in 1147 and originally based on land now occupied by the St.Katharine Dock. Followed by a pub lunch.
We continued to support efforts to maintain the Swanscombe Peninsula as a nature reserve and opposed the London Resort plan for a “ theme park” . We welcomed the City of London Corporation’s opposition to plans to re-develop the historic Customs House in the Upper Pool as a hotel, preferring the building to have a significant public use as well as maintain full access to the Thames Path.
We continued to seek improvements to sections of the Thames Path in Southwark and were represented on the London Group of the Thames Path Partnership in extending the route past the Barrier to link with the new English Coast Path, which will go to Grain on the Medway.
The re-opening of the Thames Path in front of the Tower of London was welcomed.
We continued to support efforts of local groups to influence the future of the former Convoys Wharf site in Deptford, the largest development project since that at Canary Wharf , which has remained empty for over 20 years.
Future branch events are listed on the Events page.