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 - August 2021
On Thursday July 15th, Central Thames & Estuary branch members met for lunch on P.S Tattershall Castle on London's Victoria Embankment. In June, members went on a Thames Path walk.
We have kept in touch with local groups seeking to influence the large Convoys Wharf development in Deptford, with members attending site meetings.
We opposed the London Resort scheme on the Swanscombe Peninsula, on the grounds it is an inappropriate place for a “ Thorpe Park “ scheme, causing great environmental damage. The case has recently been strengthened by Natural England’s decision to award SSSI status to the area.
We commented on a proposal to develop the Customs House in the City, currently occupied by HMRC, to ensure that the Thames Path access will not be endangered and we have questioned why Historic Royal Palaces is maintaining closure of the walkway in front of the Tower of London, which has re-opened to the public.
Also on Thames Path access, we are trying to engage with Southwark Council over a “ pinch-spot” in Rotherhithe, which has caused clashes between walkers and cyclists and a signage issue at Odessa Wharf.
We welcomed the PLA’s search for a company interested in creating a shipyard on Albert Island, Royal Docks, a trial scheme involving the carriage by ship of material for Guy’s & St.Thomas’ Hospitals from a Dartford wharf and a test run by Thames Clippers from Gravesend to central London.