Surrey Quays Overground Railway Station | Map
Guided by Canal Guides
Short read: Fire in the hole!
Long read: Avast! All hands on deck! Action stations! Anchors away! Cunard liners and Dunkirk Little ship and timber-laden barquentines and Thames sailing barges and London's largest marina and Phoenix section of the Mulberry Harbour being built and floated out before D-Day and rum and ship's biscuit and... well, we could be in 1805. Or 1905. Or 1605. Or May 28, 1940. Or June 6, 1944. We've got an old canal here. And a dock. And memories – let alone traces – of the Royal Navy's leading victualling yard. Walking this stretch fore to aft – maybe the dimensions of a couple of Super Tankers laid bow to stern – is to stowaway in the past. Decks heaving with history. Awash with memories. The tang of salt-sea air. What a past. This place kept Nelson's fleet fed and seaworthy. It built some of his ships that fought at Trafalgar. Samuel Pepys visited it when he forged the scabbard that held the sword that Nelson used. Still further back – a sou'wester ripping the calendar pages off and carrying us way back – we've got Elizabeth I knighting Sir Francis Drake. And still further back – top sails just glimpsable, coming over the horizon – her father, King Henry VIII's shipyard. Our canal and dock and victualling yard lead on to the Thames of course. And to walk there: ZOWIE! It's like crow's nesting our naval, our maritime history. A view of the Cutty Sark and Greenwich Naval College. On to Greenland Dock (the earliest wet dock in London – more than a century older than St. Katherine's Dock – it served the East India Company's ships). Arr! Shiver me timbers! Becalmed your historical imagination ain't gonna at the end of your watch. 1630 hours. Tea ration time. Steady as she goes.
The Grand Surrey Canal – Royal Navy Victualling Yard & Greenland Dock walk takes place at 2.30 pm on Sunday, October 6.
Meeting place is Surrey Quays Overground Station.
If you can't make one of the regularly scheduled, just-turn-up, public Grand Surrey Canal walks do think about booking one as a private tour. If you go private you can have the Grand Surrey Canal Walk – or any other London Walk – on a day and at a time that suits your convenience. We'll tailor it to your requirements. Ring Fiona or Noel or Mary on 020 7624 3978 or email us at email@example.com and we'll set it up and make it happen for you. A private London Walk – they're good value for an individual or couple and sensational value for a group – makes an ideal group or educational or birthday party or office (team-building) or club outing.
A private London Walk makes a marvellous – and unusual gift. Be it a birthday or anniversary or Christmas present or whatever. Merchandise schmerchandise (gift wrapped or not) – but giving someone an experience, now that's special. Memories make us rich.
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