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