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Stothert and Pitt Cranes on North and South Sides of the Royal Victoria Dock

A Grade II Listed Building in Barking, London

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5053 / 51°30'19"N

Longitude: 0.02 / 0°1'12"E

OS Eastings: 540293

OS Northings: 180424

OS Grid: TQ402804

Mapcode National: GBR LT.XBV

Mapcode Global: VHHNJ.9FGC

Plus Code: 9F32G24C+42

Entry Name: Stothert and Pitt Cranes on North and South Sides of the Royal Victoria Dock

Listing Date: 17 November 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393528

English Heritage Legacy ID: 506414

Location: Newham, London, E16

County: London

District: Newham

Electoral Ward/Division: Royal Docks

Built-Up Area: Newham

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: North Woolwich; St John

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

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Listing Text


251/0/10091 ROYAL VICTORIA DOCK
17-NOV-09 SILVERTOWN
Stothert and Pitt Cranes on north and
south sides of the Royal Victoria Dock

GV II
Fourteen cranes located in pairs along north and south docksides, three pairs to the north, four to the south. The westernmost pair on the south side are the earliest, possibly 1920s, and the rest date from 1962.

DESCRIPTION: The cranes are electrically-operated and mounted on rails which originally ran the length of the quayside. They are no longer travelling cranes, however, and are now in a fixed position.

Visually and technologically, the two types of crane exhibit important dissimilarities. The two 1920s cranes have a traditional appearance, with rivetted-steel lattice towers and jibs and a glazed cabin bearing the makers plate 'Stothert & Pitt Ltd / Bath, England'. By contrast, the 1962 cranes are early examples of the same firm's revolutionary DD2 dockside crane, an all-welded tubular steel design introduced in 1959 to critical acclaim and commercial success, winning the Council of Industrial Design Award in 1968, by which date hundreds were being used worldwide.

HISTORY: Photographs from the 1950s and 1960s show they were originally far greater in number, particularly alongside the neighbouring Royal Albert Dock where none survive now.

The Royal Victoria Dock is the largest dock in the world and opened in 1855 on a previously uninhabited area of the Plaistow Marshes. It was the first of the Royal Docks, followed by Royal Albert (1880) and King George V (1921), and the first London dock to be designed specifically to accommodate large steam ships. It was also the first to use hydraulic power to operate its machinery and the first to be connected to the national railway network. It consisted of a main dock and a basin to the west, providing an entrance to the Thames on the western side of the complex. The dock was deeply indented with four solid piers, each 152m long by 43m wide, on which were constructed two-storey warehouses. These were filled in after WWII. Other warehouses, granaries, shed and storage buildings surrounded the dock, which had a total of 3.6km of quays.

The dock was an immediate commercial success, as it could easily accommodate all but the very largest steamships. By 1860, it was already taking over 850,000 tons of shipping a year - double that of the London Docks, four times that of St Katharine Docks and 70% more than the West India Dock and East India Docks combined. It was badly damaged by German bombing in WWII but experienced a resurgence in trade following the war. However, from the 1960s onwards, the Royal Victoria experienced a steady decline - as did all of London's docks - as the shipping industry adopted containerisation, which effectively moved traffic downstream to Tilbury. It finally closed to commercial traffic along with the other Royal Docks in 1980.

SOURCES: 'Dockside crane: Stothert and Pitt's DD2' in Design 233 (May 1968) pp 57-59
RJM Carr, 'Dockland: An illustrated historical survey of life and work in east London' (1986)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The fourteen cranes at Royal Victoria Dock are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* this is the most concentrated ensemble of cranes surviving in London's Docklands and the group represents the swansong of the docklands as an industrial area in the 1960s, poignantly redolent of this vanished industry;
* twelve of the cranes are innovative DD2s of 1962, a strikingly modern design in welded tubular steel;
* all fourteen are by Stothert & Pitt, the most famous makers of cranes in the world;
* both types are impressive in scale and form and the group has an almost sublime quality, particularly in silhouette.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing

The fourteen cranes at Royal Victoria Dock, two from the 1920s and twelve from 1962, has been listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* this is the most concentrated ensemble of cranes surviving in London's Docklands and the group represents the swansong of the docklands as an industrial area in the 1960s, poignantly redolent of this vanished industry;
* twelve of the cranes are innovative DD2s of 1962, a strikingly modern design in welded tubular steel;
* all fourteen are by Stothert & Pitt, the most famous makers of cranes in the world;
* both types are impressive in scale and form and the group has an almost sublime quality, particularly in silhouette.

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