Saturday the 8th came and went – it was also the last ever day the Woolwich ferry’s MV James Newman came and went from the city too. This time next year there will be two new ferries, Dame Vera Lynn and Ben Wollacott. One of these (the latter I would think the most likely) will possibly take over the annual charity run from Woolwich to London Bridge.
Here’s a report and some pictures of the very last trip upriver for these now famous London icons.
Heading for Tower Bridge
James Newman does its spins in mid-river!
The bridge begins opening on the dot at 14.30pm
Through the gates into the top end of the Pool of London!
The ferry by London Bridge with the Telecom Tower visible. Three sixties icons within sight of each other!
The Woolwich Ferry James Newman spins round at London Bridge on its annual charity river cruise to the Upper Pool of London. pic.twitter.com/C2GNTKWvb5
— London SE1 Community Website (@se1) July 7, 2018
Is this the very last trip for the 1960s ferries? Who knows. That is why I put a question mark in the title. Its been known they have made other trips upriver – the most recent apparently as a role in a spot of night-time filming. One never knows, when the ferry service closes in October, they may do a series of final public tours!
James Newman by the Tower. Nine hundred years difference in their ages!
Back through Tower Bridge for probably the last time
The ferry heads away from Tower Bridge towards Rotherhithe church and downstream
Dave whom I met at Tower Bridge photographing James Newman on its last visit to this part of the river, says he was sad to see the boat making its last trip this way.
Dave tells me that as a boy living in North Woolwich he remembers the introduction of these new ferries, as well as the old paddle steamers that worked the famous river crossing. Although I was around when the old ferries were still at work I don’t remember them! Dave was telling me about the old ferry boats and the engines and their big paddle wheels.
These double chimney ferries were probably something like the Humber ferries – quite wide with a low superstructure (the Humbers had single chimneys though.) I used the Humber ferries at one time (this was Lincoln Castle in 1976/1977.) Both types of vessel have the same evocative Edwardian/Georgian style of engineering and I can imagine what the old Woolwich ferries would have been like.
I know one who worked as a fireman on the last Humber ferries (you may have seen my friend’s book) and its great I have now met Dave who knew the old Woolwich ferries!