welcome to london’s royal docks
London’s Royal Docks
The Royal Docks are London’s unique and historic water space – some four kilometres long, the equivalent of walking from Oxford Circus to Bank. They were once the largest enclosed docks in the world and today the 250 acres of water provide a spectacular setting for the area’s transformation into a vibrant 21st century destination to live, work and play. It’s never been easier to get here – and few areas of London can boast of a more dramatic method of transportation than the Emirates Air Line across the river Thames.
London’s Royal Docks are home to a host of attractions, events and activities, all centred around the water. The heritage and history of the area plays an all-important part in the continuing story of the docks. It’s the combination of old and new that makes this place so special, as communities grow, new restaurants, cafés and bars open and the calendar of activities gets busier with each month. Welcome to London’s Royals Docks. We hope you enjoy your time here.
RoDMA were pleased to receive the email below which reiterates the importance of why life rings are situated around the docks.
Hi, Last April a woman jumped from the top of the middle of Royal Docks bridge. I happened to be helping out with the local Parkrun that morning and saw her fall. I managed to swim out to her, get her to the excel side and with the help of the excel security and emergency services she was pulled out of the water and taken to hospital. I also was taken to hospital for hyperthermia.
As I swam out to try and help her, I turned around and asked a passer by to throw me one of the orange life rings that are dotted around the docks. When I got to the struggling lady I managed to prop her up on the life ring and swim us both to the other side. Without the life ring I don’t think this would have been possible and who knows what would have happened.
I know this summer especially, people have been removing rings constantly around the dock edge for a casual dip and not putting them back.
I just wanted to email to thank whoever from the Royal Docks team is putting them back everyday for their tireless work and that while I’m sure it is frustrating for them, having the life rings there is very much appreciated. Thanks.
RoDMA would like to thank everyone who helped with the rescue. We hope that all parties have recovered well.
Despite our continuous patrols and efforts to try and stop the public from swimming in the docks, we are still experiencing a high number of unauthorised swimming, particularly around the beach area. While we appreciate how tempting it is to cool off in the water, please can we ask that you refrain from doing so, as it is extremely dangerous due to sudden drops into deep water, false quays and hidden dangerous objects.
1. The Royal Victoria Dock (RVD) Footbridge is a high-level bridge which bisects RVD and provides a route from Excel (close to the DLR Custom House Station) over to Britannia Village. It had two lifts that were installed at each end of the bridge. These lifts were poorly designed for the situation. The top of the lifts are open to the elements and should have been fully enclosed. This has caused numerous issues over the years. The lifts are now beyond their economic life and have real reliability issues, regardless of the sums of money which are spent on them.
2. RoDMA are responsible for the maintenance and refurbishment of the RVD Footbridge, but not capital replacement of items such as the lifts. In 2014 it was announced that the developer for the Silvertown Quays (Millennium Mills) had included in their design a new bridge at dock level to cross RVD from the same location on the Excel side to link up with the new development and provide direct access from the planned Crossrail Station. The intention was to have an opening (swing bridge) mechanism to allow ships to pass into the western end of RVD. The plan was that the high-level bridge would then be removed. At this point it was decided that no further options would be considered for replacement of the lifts and that their life would be extended until the new bridge was constructed. This was delayed when the investor pulled out of the development but was recommenced by the new developer in 2018.
3. In 2016 a decision was made to reduce the number of operating lifts on each side to one and focus all the effort in keeping these two running. In 2017, £40k was spent on refurbishing the bridge, dealing with corrosion spots and refreshing the paintwork. Many planks on the top of the bridge and walkways were also replaced. This was followed later in that year by investing a similar amount in the lifts to replace the door controllers and increase their reliability under guidance from Alimak, the manufacturer. This has increased their reliability, but the lifts are still subject to random breakdowns. Towards the end of 2018, RoDMA invested in a purchasing spare parts for the most likely breakdowns to save on the manufacturers extended lead times. The has resulted in a reduction in time from failure to rectification.
4. In 2018 a decision was made by the GLA to retain the existing bridge. The capital replacement of the lifts are now the responsibility of the developer, who are looking to deliver this in Phase 1 of their plan in 2020, subject to obtaining consent in 2019. In 2019 RoDMA will carry out a feasibility study to look at design options to replace the lifts.
5. The bridge is cleaned daily. Unfortunately, RoDMA staff have to deal regularly with the results of individuals urinating and defecating in the lifts. The doors of the lifts are frequently kicked in by individuals which causes failure and then they have to be removed from service. RoDMA continue to do all they can to present the bridge in its best condition and welcome the support of the general public in doing so.
6. The current issue is that both gearboxes failed earlier this year and require extensive overhaul and replacement parts. There has been significant delay in rectification due to COVID-19 and the company responsible furloughing most of their staff. Now that restrictions have eased work on the gearbox rebuild has recommenced.
7. It is planned to have everything installed, commissioned, and the lifts fully operational the first week of August 2020.
8. We apologise for the continuing inconvenience this causes the people which live and work around the area.
RODMA worked with Kilnbridge, Mammoet and Thamescraft on a pioneering project. The Royal Docks locked in a 91m LOA semi-submersible barge, loaded two 36 x18m concrete hulls (built in the Royal Docks) with SPMTs onto the semi-submersible barge, then submerged the barge to 8m below chart datum in KGV Lock in order to float off the two concrete hulls. The hulls will now be turned into floating restaurants for Canary Wharf. Great project!
If you would like to view the operation please click here