No Longer an Island: The Port of London and the Thames in the First World War
A talk by Chris Everett from the Docklands History Group
Tuesday September 24, 2019, 7.30 pm at Chiswick Pier Trust
Historian Chris Everett from the Docklands History Group reflects on the role of the Thames during WW1, and the impact war had on the river in terms of trade and munitions; and the impact the river had on the war in terms of keeping the army supplied at the Front in September’s Talks by the Thames at Chiswick Pier Trust.
Until 1914 Britain’s defence was dependent on the Royal Navy but with the invention of ‘lighter than air’ technologies Britain was no longer an island. The consequences for the Port of London at the very epicentre of the British Empire was significant. London, a world port, was essential for a myriad of goods and supplies for over 8 million mouths in the south and east of England. High unemployment among the casual workers in the docks soon saw severe labour shortages and backlogs of cargoes as the war machine evolved and men of fighting age enlisted or were conscripted. London’s defenders now had to consider the threat of invasion, the war from above and from beneath the waves, it was total war. With the public’s attention naturally drawn to the attrition on the battlefields of the Western Front and Gallipoli the story of the Port of London throughout the First World War has been largely untold, but the harsh lessons learned in 1914-1918 would lead directly to a readiness for the Second World War.
A 6th generation Londoner and a guide of some 20 years’ experience, Chris is a lecturer, tutor, researcher and historian specialising in London related topics. With an MA from Birkbeck, University of London, Chris has a particular interest in the docks, the River Thames and the impact of both World Wars on London. Chris has been an active member of the Docklands History Group for over 10 years and a Committee member for the last seven.
Doors open at 7 pm. £3 for non-members, FREE for members. Parking is free in nearby Pumping Station Road after 5 pm. Buses E3 or 190.
Chiswick Pier Trust. The Pier House, Corney Reach Way, London, W4 2UG