Trinity Buoy Wharf
Orchard Place, Leamouth, London E14
date 1822 and 1851 - 1852
era Georgian |
category Docks/Slipway |
ICE reference number HEW 2309
The 1822 river wall at Trinity Buoy Wharf is the oldest surviving construction on this important site. Trinity House occupied the site from 1803 until 1988, an occupancy record for a river-side site in London's Docklands.
The Elder Brethren of Trinity House commissioned the design of the 1822 wall to reinforce the bank of the River Lea where it meets the Thames, from Ralph Walker, engineer of East India Docks. The wall is 130ft long and made of brick with a stone coping. It replaces a timber predecessor.
The south section of the river wall and two thirds of the Thames-side wall, including the steps were designed by James Walker, nephew of Ralph, and built in 1851-2. They are made of ashlar stone.
Trinity House, the lighthouse authority for the coast of England and Wales, used the wharf as a maintenance depot and there are several interesting buildings on the site, including the Experimental Lighthouse, designed by James Douglass. It was here that Michael Faraday carried out his first experiments in electric lighting for lighthouses.
As its name suggests, Trinity Buoy Wharf was also associated with buoys. A workshop for the repair and testing of wrought iron bouys — a new idea at the time — was set up here. They also used the wharf for the docking of lightships.
These days the site is used for housing and the sheds and lighthouse are used as an arts centre.
Wall construction (1822): George Munday of Old Ford
Wall construction (1851-2): Thomas Earle