Greenland Dock

Greenland Dock, Southwark

The largest remaining dock in south London, situated east of Surrey Quays station


South Dock
South Dock

The dock was excavated in 1696 and was originally named Howland Great Wet Dock after the family that owned the land. By the mid-18th century it had become a base for Arctic whalers and was renamed Greenland Dock.

During the 19th century Greenland Dock handled trade in Scandinavian and Baltic timber and Canadian grain, cheese and bacon. The dock was enlarged in 1904.

Greenland Dock closed in 1969, along with the rest of the Surrey Docks and the London Docklands Development Corporation commis­sioned a plan for mixed devel­op­ments of squares and streets integ­rated into the existing envir­onment and community.

Between 1984 and 1990, 1,250 homes were built at Greenland Dock, notably townhouses and apartment blocks by the Danish company Islef. The scheme was a success and demand for the new housing exceeded expect­a­tions. In 1990 the Surrey Docks Watersports Centre and a waterside pub opened.

The smaller South Dock (shown in the photo­graph above) now serves as a marina.

A pedestal-mounted bronze bust at the east end of Brunswick Quay commemorates James Walker, the Scottish civil engineer who oversaw Greenland Dock’s conversion to handling timber and grain in 1808–9, when he was 27 years old. Unveiled in 1990, the bust was commissioned by the London Docklands Development Corporation and sculpted by Michael Rizzello.

Postal district: SE16
Riverboat pier: Greenland
Recommended blog post: A Rotherhithe Blog: A short history of Greenland Dock 1806–1970