... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Friday 10 August 2018

Harland and Wolff

Apologies for the lack of a witty title. Diamond Geezer set me off this morning. He's visiting points across London, travelling from east to west, along the line of latitude 51.5 degrees north. This is the line of latitude that Greenwich is on, and he doesn't see why its line of longitude (albeit that that's zero) should get all the attention.

Now, I've always had trouble pinning down just where the Woolwich shipyard was, but I reckoned it must be somewhere roughly near that line. And it was while searching online for its co-ordinates (unsuccessfully) I came across a website I hadn't previously seen, dedicated to Harland and Wolff.

It's a bit thin on the Woolwich operation, which does in the scheme of things seem to have been rather small beer - from what I can tell, although they did refurbishments, no massive ships were built here, but largely barges, lighters and of course narrow boats.  The yard was in operation from 1924 - 1972. One interesting suggestion that the site makes is that there are now probably more Harland and Wolff built boats on the English canal system than anywhere else.

The site isn't fantastically written, and its coverage of narrow boats is quite superficial, but the few pictures make it well worth a look. There is a list of boats (although it doesn't distinguish between motors and butties) but the dates on it (assuming they are delivery dates) don't tie up with those provided by Faulkner - for example, it shows Chertsey's birthday as 25th February 1937, whereas I've previously had it as 29th January.

Now, if I could just find those co-ordinates, I could finally track the place down and make a pilgrimage...


  1. 51 deg 30' 04" N, 0 deg 04' 19" E.

  2. Good Evening Sarah.
    I think the H&W works were between Manor Way and the river, in the area marked 'River Ward' on this map:

    Hope this helps.

    NB 'Red Wharf'

  3. PS
    Looking on a modern road map the area now seems to be used for housing, Fishguard Way and Grimsby Grove.


    1. Thank you Sam. I knew it was under a housing estate, and I'd despaired of ever finding it - but with co-ordinates and sat nav, it's surely possible - for what that's worth. Perhaps I should just go to Lyle Park and look at the gates. Dear me, what sort of a name is Grimsby Grove.

    2. The name Grimsby Grove was presumably chosen by someone who'd never been to Grimsby. (With apologies to anyone living there). It reminds me of the housing estate my brother once lived on in Lowestoft. The roads were called Airedale, Wensleydale, Wharfedale, Swaledale and, er. . .Rochdale!

  4. Sarah,
    Picture of the North Woolwich site, taken from a Large Woolwich (Fulbourne) at

    Taken on a St Pancras Cruising Club trip to the Royal Docks.
    More at