Postcard of the month - #86 - July 2007

Blackwall Pier Steamer Braemar Castle Entering East India Dock

Brunswick Quay had been built in the 1830s by the East India Dock Company.  They wanted to take advantage of the increasing passenger traffic on the Thames by providing landing facilities and a direct link to the City along East India Dock Road and Commercial Road by horse buses.  This would save the river passenger the long and slow journey around the Isle of Dogs to the Pool of London.  Also built on the quay were Brunswick Hotel and Brunswick Wharf.  

In the 1840s the eastern portion of Brunswick was acquired by the London and Blackwall Railway to build their impressive Blackwall Terminus.  Once again the Railway Company wanted to capture the river passenger market by providing an even speedier connection between Blackwall and the City.  In 1841, they renamed their portion of Brunswick Quay, “Blackwall Pier”.  

In the late 1930s it was decided to build an oil-power Electric Generating Station on the site.  Despite protests from local people that the Power Station would deprive them of their wonderful views of the River, permission was given for its construction.  Delays cause by the war meant that Brunswick Power Station was not completed until 1956.  

In 1928 a plaque, Virginia Settlers Memorial, had been erected on the quay to commemorated the setting up of the first English Settlement in America.  The settlers sailed in three ships from “near this spot”.  The plaque that was attached to the Dock Masters House which received bomb damage in the Blitz and the plaque was removed.  In 1951 the PLA erected a new Virginia Settlers Memorial, with the original plaque, huge granite blocks and a bronze mermaid.  The plaque and the mermaid disappeared. when the Brunswick Power Station was demolished in 1984

Happily a recent housing development has once again open the wonderful views of the Thames familiar to the people of Poplar. On the riverside walk, a new Virginia Settlers Memorial has been reinstated, with some changes to the 1951 one.

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