Difference between revisions of "Thames Ironworks"

From London's Ghost Acres

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Latest revision as of 14:44, 12 May 2016

Thames Ironworks began in 1837 as Ditchburn and Mare. The company was originally located in Deptford before moving to Orchard Place a year later after a devastating fire. The new location between the East India Dock Basin and Bow Creek was one of the first shipyards in the area to build small iron paddle steamers. Within a couple years the shipyard was producing vessels of over 300 tons and within a decade it expanded across the River Lea into Canning Town as production increased. Ditchburn and Mare became C.J. Mare and Company when Ditchburn retired in 1847. Unfortunately C.J. Mare wasn’t good with finances, and the company went bankrupt in 1856. The shipyards were saved by Peter Rolt, who renamed the company as Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd. The company flourished under Rolt, who turned it into the biggest shipbuilder on the Thames. Thames Ironworks also provided iron for various construction projects, including the Westminster Bridge that bankrupted C.J. Mare. By 1863 the Thames Ironworks was building ships of over 10,000 tons. The shipyards also began producing lifeboats in 1895. The Thames Ironworks produced many famous ships for the Royal Navy and was one of the largest employers in East London. By 1899 the Thames Ironworks had 6 departments: shipbuilding, boatbuilding, civil engineering, cranes, switches/drills/marine engines, and motor vehicles. However, due to the global economic downturn in the early 20th century and the rising costs of materials such as nickel and iron, Thames Ironworks shut down in 1912 – just missing the militarization boom of WWI that could have brought prosperity.


1838 to 1912


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Located in



Iron, Ships, Boats

Used Raw Materials

Iron, Nickel


From To Owner
1837 1847 Ditchburn and Mare
1847 1856 C.J. Mare and Company
1856 1912 Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd.


From To Industry
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