St Katherine's dock and yacht haven is a beauty spot and marina
on the outskirts of the City of London. Often missed by visitors to central
London because of it's out of the way location. A great place to visit on a
summers day with its bars and shops and riverside location. It's only a short
walk from the Tower of London and London Bridge and its right next to the
Guoman Tower Hotel.
The marina always has a large range of yachts moored up and there also a lock
that leads to the River Thames itself. It's useful to note that there's a River
bus service that stops very close by at St Katherine's Pier.
The dock enjoys a long and rich history that dates back more than one thousand
years. Before the Roman era in British history the site was in use for trading.
In the 10th century King Edgar sectioned off 13 acres which he gave to thirteen
knights for them to use for profitable returns. Its name can be traced to 1150
when Queen Matilda sanctioned the Royal Foundation of St Katherine. It wasn't
until the mid 1550's when locals would refer to the area as the modern used St
Katherine's Dock (one of several docks that were collectively known as the Port
of London). The name St Catherine's (with a 'C') was itself actually a hospital
that stood here in the 1100's. In the 1820's the Dock was totally rebuilt by
Thomas Telford in what at the time was one of the biggest ever construction
projects ever taken on in London and involved connecting the West and East Docks
and building warehouses in the surrounding roads, innovative at the time
(allowing direct unloading between ships and warehouses). The docks prospered
until the 1920's to 1940's when ships became simply too big to use the docks. On
the 7th September 1940 the docks were badly damaged on a large scale in the
first large scale German bomber raid over London. It was something the docks
never truly recovered from with some parts never being rebuilt. The 160's saw
the end of the docks for any large scale use with much of the shipping being
relocated to docks nearer to Kent. The period that followed saw the area being
redeveloped and with an emphasis on its use as a leisure and residential
location with many warehouses being converted in flats.