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Picture of ruined crane pillars

picure of cranes at Lovell's Wharf

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Here at Lovell's Wharf you can see the concrete pillars that made up the base of a crane. These enormous cranes used to unload cargo from the ships and barges. These were a major feature along the riverscape, and some people were very upset when all the cranes were removed from the river here, as they had been such a major feature on the riverscape. When the docks closed some cranes were given to the Museum of London, and there may be a possibility that one will get put back on Greenwich Peninsula. The first speaker is Mr Ellis, a crane driver who later became a crane-driving instructor; he did not work at this particular wharf, but his voice still has the power to bring the hidden story of these strange pillars to life. These pillars are monuments, in their way they are just as impressive as the monuments to heroes like Bellot that we passed - and pointedly ignored - earlier in the walk through 'Maritime Greenwich'.

Walking on you will see one of the last boat repair yards on the tidal Thames. It may not be here for long as there are plans for redevelopment. Along the walk ahead you are likely to see lighter barges, barges without engines, that were often used to transport goods up river to smaller wharfs that could not accommodate the big ships. They were the responsibility of lightermen, hired to move them safely around the river - here you can hear recordings from several lighterman about their work which was so crucial to the running of London Docks. It is a job that goes back many centuries; as long as there are boats here, there will be a visual 'peg' to hang these memories from.

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