This course will take place online.
Join this course to look at how shipping and trade have been vital for London since the Romans, covering the explosion in trade during the Tudor period, the expansion of the Empire, the birth of the Georgian docks, the dock workers strikes, and the port during wartime.
Using films and archive material, the course looks at how the port of London: helped stimulate economic growth in London, sat at the heart of the British Empire and was instrumental in the movement of people and materials around the globe, kept Britain fed, and how Thames ports operate today.
Who is this course for?
This course is for anyone with an interest in the history of London.
Will I need any equipment or materials?
This course will be held via Zoom. You need a computer/laptop or mobile phone to access the Zoom website, and a reliable internet connection. For further information on how to join a Zoom meeting, you can watch the joining video here.
You will need a computer or other device to connect with Zoom and a notebook/paper and pen/pencil, or digital equivalent.
Image: LAMAS Glass Slides Collection
You will learn
By the end of this course, you will have:
- Developed a broad understanding and knowledge of the history of the Port of London
- A detailed understanding of key episodes in the life of the port
- An understanding of the place of the port in the wider histories of London and Britain.
Meet the Tutor
Robert studied London History at Birkbeck College and then qualified as a guide at the University of Westminster.
His love affair with London began at the age of ten when his father took him on a whirlwind tour of the city. Robert knew from that moment that he would come to live in London, and he has been living and working in the capital for nearly thirty years.
He loves the stories hidden in the streets of the city, especially about crime, spies, military, and industrial history. As well as guiding, Robert also teaches London history at Morley College and South Thames College.
- Why London?
- The Roman Port begins
- Londinium’s role as a trading city.
- The Medieval Port
- The Thames as a source of food for London - fishing in the Thames estuary
- The wool trade with Antwerp and its impact on London
- The port of London and its impact on making London a diverse city
- Elizabethan ship owners and traders
- Students will use photographs of archaeological finds and photographs of items from the Museum of London and Verulanium Museum to make a map of Roman trading routes
The coming of Global trade
- The East India Company and its activities in London
- Exploration of the Americas
- The pool of London in the seventeenth century
- Emigrants and migrants
- Shipbuilding on the Thames in the 17th century
Expansion and challenges in the eighteenth century
- The Dagenham Breach
- John Harle and the port at Rainham
- Howland Wet Dock
- The perils of the river and the founding of the river Police
- Students will use court records to look at crime on the Thames
The first modern docks
- The building of St Katherine Docks and the London docks
- Linking the docks with canals
- The sugar trade and links with slavery
- The impact of the Industrial revolution on London’s trade
- Students will use slave owners records to see how these tie in with ownership of ships arriving in London
The docks in the age of steam
- George Parker Bidder
- The construction of the Royal Docks
- Cranes and warehouses
- The Port of London at the heart of the British empire
- The fishing port of Barking
- The dockworkers strike
- The expansion of the docks Eastward
- Tilbury docks
- The founding of the Port of London Authority
- The docks during World War Two
- Students will use paintings of the Port of London to see how it was portrayed as being at the heart of Empire. Students will watch archive films and assess the impact of the Port of London Authority
The decline of the old docks
- The impact of containers on global trade
- Attempts to revitalise London’s docks
- The transformation of St Katherine Docks to a marina
- The story of Docklands and Canary Wharf
- Changing jobs in East London
- Students will watch excerpts from the film “The Long Good Friday” to see how Docklands has changed and how reality differed from the vision of the future portrayed in the film
The Port of London today
- London Gateway and its contribution to the UK economy
- The Port of London post Brexit
- Jobs on the River
- The work of river pilots and lightermen
- Heritage buildings
- Students will look at heritage buildings from the Port of London and devise a tour to illustrate the story of the Port of London
Need to Know
- 19:00 - 21:00
- £111/£83 conc.
- Robert Smith
- Max Students
- No. of Sessions
- Course Code