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The colourful history of people who lived
and worked around London’s Royal Docks

Forgotten Stories

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Forgotten Stories

Forgotten Stories – the Ronan Point explosion

The shocking events of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 immediately brought back vivid memories of the Ronan Point tower block explosion. Next month marks the 50th anniversary of the accident, which killed four people and injured 17 more. read more…

Latest news

UPDATE ON RVD FOOTBRIDGE – July 2020

1. The Royal Victoria Dock (RVD) Footbridge is a high-level bridge which bisects RVD and provides a route from Excel (close to the DLR Custom House Station) over to Britannia Village. It had two lifts that were installed at each end of the bridge. These lifts were poorly designed for the situation. The top of the lifts are open to the elements and should have been fully enclosed. This has caused numerous issues over the years. The lifts are now beyond their economic life and have real reliability issues, regardless of the sums of money which are spent on them.

2. RoDMA are responsible for the maintenance and refurbishment of the RVD Footbridge, but not capital replacement of items such as the lifts. In 2014 it was announced that the developer for the Silvertown Quays (Millennium Mills) had included in their design a new bridge at dock level to cross RVD from the same location on the Excel side to link up with the new development and provide direct access from the planned Crossrail Station. The intention was to have an opening (swing bridge) mechanism to allow ships to pass into the western end of RVD. The plan was that the high-level bridge would then be removed. At this point it was decided that no further options would be considered for replacement of the lifts and that their life would be extended until the new bridge was constructed. This was delayed when the investor pulled out of the development but was recommenced by the new developer in 2018.

3. In 2016 a decision was made to reduce the number of operating lifts on each side to one and focus all the effort in keeping these two running. In 2017, £40k was spent on refurbishing the bridge, dealing with corrosion spots and refreshing the paintwork. Many planks on the top of the bridge and walkways were also replaced. This was followed later in that year by investing a similar amount in the lifts to replace the door controllers and increase their reliability under guidance from Alimak, the manufacturer. This has increased their reliability, but the lifts are still subject to random breakdowns. Towards the end of 2018, RoDMA invested in a purchasing spare parts for the most likely breakdowns to save on the manufacturers extended lead times. The has resulted in a reduction in time from failure to rectification.

4. In 2018 a decision was made by the GLA to retain the existing bridge. The capital replacement of the lifts are now the responsibility of the developer, who are looking to deliver this in Phase 1 of their plan in 2020, subject to obtaining consent in 2019. In 2019 RoDMA will carry out a feasibility study to look at design options to replace the lifts.

5. The bridge is cleaned daily. Unfortunately, RoDMA staff have to deal regularly with the results of individuals urinating and defecating in the lifts. The doors of the lifts are frequently kicked in by individuals which causes failure and then they have to be removed from service. RoDMA continue to do all they can to present the bridge in its best condition and welcome the support of the general public in doing so.

6. The current issue is that both gearboxes failed earlier this year and require extensive overhaul and replacement parts. There has been significant delay in rectification due to COVID-19 and the company responsible furloughing most of their staff. Now that restrictions have eased work on the gearbox rebuild has recommenced.

7. It is planned to have everything installed, commissioned, and the lifts fully operational the first week of August 2020.

8. We apologise for the continuing inconvenience this causes the people which live and work around the area.

Pioneering Project @ the Royal Docks

RODMA worked with Kilnbridge, Mammoet and Thamescraft on a pioneering project. The Royal Docks locked in a 91m LOA semi-submersible barge, loaded two 36 x18m concrete hulls (built in the Royal Docks) with SPMTs onto the semi-submersible barge, then submerged the barge to 8m below chart datum in KGV Lock in order to float off the two concrete hulls. The hulls will now be turned into floating restaurants for Canary Wharf. Great project!

If you would like to view the operation please click here

Opening of Albert Island Marina

The Department for Media, Culture and Sport have issued new guidance on opening of Marinas, it is as follows:

Marinas may re-open to allow people to visit their boats to carry out maintenance, ensuring appropriate measures are in place to follow social distancing guidelines.

In line with this, we are opening the Marina for all boatowners from Monday 18 May at 10:00 Hrs. We reserve the right to reverse this decision if the situation changes. This will be driven either by a change in Alert State; an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Marina; or boatowners not following the basic guidelines.

This week we are now cleaning the toilet and shower facilities daily (Mon-Fri).

For clarity we will not permit the following at this time:

• Leisure travel on the Thames.
• Free Movement around the Marina – please stick to going to your boat and use the ablutions if necessary.

For those who have been seeking to move your boats to another Marina/Area, this will now be supported.

We urge you to follow the Government Stay Alert Guidelines:

1. Stay at home as much as possible
2. Work from home if you can
3. Limit contact with other people
4. Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
5. Wash your hands regularly
6. Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Please apply your common sense.

Scott Derben
Managing Director

London’s Royal Docks

The Royal Docks are London’s unique and historic water space – some four kilometres long, the equivalent of walking from Oxford Circus to Bank. They were once the largest enclosed docks in the world and today the 250 acres of water provide a spectacular setting for the area’s transformation into a vibrant 21st century destination to live, work and play. It’s never been easier to get here – and few areas of London can boast of a more dramatic method of transportation than the Emirates Air Line across the river Thames.
London’s Royal Docks are home to a host of attractions, events and activities, all centred around the water. The heritage and history of the area plays an all-important part in the continuing story of the docks. It’s that combination of old and new that makes this place so special, as communities grow, new restaurants, cafés and bars open and the calendar of activities gets busier with each month. Welcome to London’s Royals Docks. We hope you enjoy your time here.