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National Maritime Museum

Potter's Ferry


Reference code(s): GB 0064 XX(63010.1)

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Potter's Ferry

Date(s): 1798-1884

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 3ft: 91cm

Name of creator(s): Potter's Ferry


Administrative/Biographical history:

Potter's Ferry, also known as the Isle of Dogs Ferry, connected Garden Stairs, Greenwich, with the Isle of Dogs. In 1550 Edward VI granted to Sir Thomas Wentworth (1501-1551) the lord-ships and manors of Stepney and Hackney which included rights of running the ferry. Pepys recorded that he used the ferry twice in 1665. In 1762 the ferry was purchased by the Potter's Ferry Society set up by a number of Greenwich watermen. Potter's Ferry was limited to foot passengers only until in 1812 a horse ferry was established by Act of Parliament, creating a statutory ferry for horses and vehicles in favour of the Poplar and Greenwich Ferry Company. The nineteenth century saw the Ferry Society involved in a great deal of litigation. In 1826 an act was passed confirming its rights. The ferry was leased to the Thames Steamboat Company and from them to the London and Blackwall Railway Company which became part of the Great Eastern Railway Company. Towards the end of the nineteenth century the ferry was said to be transporting 1,300,000 passengers annually. Its long history ended with the completion of the Greenwich to Millwall foot tunnel in 1902.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers relating to Potter's Ferry. The great majority are loose legal documents, 1807 to 1884, and reflect the Ferry Society's obsession with legal matters during the nineteenth century. Some include details relating to the history of the ferry and there is a copy of the original charter granted in the reign of Edward VI. There are three volumes: a minute and account book, 1832 to 1847, which includes lists of members of the Ferry Society; an account book, 1798 to 1827; and a cash book, 1813 to 1828. There is an account book of the Society, 1847 to 1878, in the Greenwich Local History Library at Woodlands.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were presented by Mr J. Doust in 1954 and by Mr A. Ferguson in 1967.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Sep 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2010-08-26

Ferries | Boats | Vessels | Vehicles | Transport

Personal names

Corporate names
Potter's Ferry

Greenwich | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Poplar | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Tower Hamlets