Rotherhithe had a long history of shipbuilding dating back to at least the 17th Century, but by the mid-19th Century contracts for the Royal Navy had dried up, there were no more contracts for the East India Company, and the days of shipbuilding along the Thames were nearly over. However, between 1853 and 1870 two shipbuilding companies moved into Rotherhithe and began to build fast clippers for the China tea trade and American emigrant and wool trade. Based at Nelson Dock and Lavender Dock respectively, Bilbe and Perry and John and William Walker built a small number of beautiful and successful clippers. Of all of them, the Walker brothers’ Lothair, built a year after the Suez Canal opened, was the most remarkable for her beauty and speed and was one of the most celebrated of the China tea clippers. She was also the last large ship to be built in Rotherhithe, and indeed on the Thames. This talk looks at some of the clippers built in Rotherhithe, and what they contributed to both the China and Australian trades in an age where steam was quickly overtaking sail on all the world’s trade routes.
After completing a Masters degree in Archaeology Andie worked as an archaeologist for several years before switching into the pioneering days of mobile communications. She later worked in ecommerce and the development of applications for internet, interactive television and mobile before becoming a freelance consultant. She returned to archaeology in 2004, specializing in the prehistory of arid environments. She has always had an interest in ships, having grown up listening to stories about her father’s family, most of whom were in the merchant navy sailing out of Liverpool. When she first moved into Rotherhithe and realized that the area had an important shipbuilding past, she started to research and write about those ships and their builders on her Rotherhithe blog. She is currently working on a website dedicated to clippers and their development, using the Rotherhithe clippers as a case study.
PLEASE NOTE: This event will be held at T&T2 inside Surrey Quays Shopping Centre (opposite TESCO) and will be part of the exhibition World by the Water.
As part of the exhibition, we will be offering FREE membership on the night (renewal 1st April 2018)