Ancient and Modern

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The ‘Arco Arun’ spent Christmas alongside the great aggregate Victoria Deep Water Wharf adjacent to the O2 – her crew enjoyed a seasonable break away from their non-stop dredging of the entrance channels of the Thames Estuary.  A constant channel clearance enables London Gateway Port, recently opened by DP World, to receive the largest ships ever to come and go at will.  ‘MOL Caledon’ arrived just before Christmas to open Europe’s newest trading hub accepting 400 metre long VLCS container ships which can carry 18,000 shipping containers at one time – wow!!

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All this maritime activity into the Thames started centuries ago with traders to and fro from the low countries and Scandinavia;  Rome’s armies were supplied with essential weaponry as well as the good things of life by fleets of shallow draft galleys which navigated through the hazardous channels landmarked by lighthouses at Dover, Reculver, and on Mersea  Island which marked  the entrance to Colchester’s River Colne part at Hythe.  My home town was once the Roman capital and garrison before the growth of Londinium.  As a lad, I used to cycle down to the Hythe, attracted by Dutch coasters, Thames sailing barges and Everards motorised colliers which brought fuel to both electricity and gas works.  Small shipyards on the Colne produced small ships of all sorts, which were shipped out to the Empire.  The Victorians built J-class yachts at Rowhedge and a daily aggregate service to Deptford Creek still gladdens my eye as the Prior ships still come and go with their cargoes of golden sand.

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About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

One response to “Ancient and Modern”

  1. Paul Reynolds says :

    Hi Peter, so pleased to see you are still creating your wonderful illustrations. Hope you are keeping well and all your family too. Will visit your exhibition.
    Regards and Best Wishes. Paul Reynolds.

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