The Woolwich Free Ferry has been taking people across the Thames for centuries, most latterly as a key route for lorries to avoid the Blackwall tunnel. The current roll-on, roll-off boats, built in 1963, are to be taken out of service this week to be replaced by new vessels which promise hybrid diesel-electric power (check out the exhaust fumes in the picture above to see what the current boats produce), and magnetic berthing. One striking feature of the soon-to-be-redundant ferries is the large space for foot passengers under the car deck, not barely used, but a reminder of the ferry’s past role in getting dock and factory workers back and forth before containerisation and deindustrialisation arrived.
I thought I should get some pictures before these boats bow out, and went down for a trip to North Woolwich and back on a bazlingly bright late September day. See the full album ‘Last days of the old Woolwich Ferry here’.