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Where were the twelve mooring chains in the River Thames?

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      Colin Greenstreet

      Primary sources

      E 367/5903. Burrell: Mooring chains and dues in the river Thames between Bugby’s Hole and London Bridge. Date: 22 Geo.III.


      Report from the committee appointed to enquire into the best mode of providing sufficeint accomodation for the increased trade and shipping of the port of London (London, 1796)


      “Appendix (Q.)


      Explanation of the Plan for an Improved System of

      Mooring Vessels in the River Thames, from London Bridge

      to the King’s Mooring Chains at Deptford; with an Estimate

      of the Expence of carrying the same into Execution.


      (I.) The Bed of the River to be excavated to a Depth of not less than

      from 16 to 20 Feet at Low Water.


      (II.) Mooring Chains to be laid either quite across the River, upon the

      same Principle as the King’s Morring Chains at Depftfor, or to extend

      only from each Side of the River to within 125 Feet of the Center of the

      River. – To commence just below Billingsgate, and to be continued quite

      down to the King’s Chains at Deptford – The Distance from Chain to

      Chain being to be upon an Average about 250 Feet, which will admit of 80

      (or in the latter Case of 150) Chains being ladid in the Space before men-

      tioned – Vessells to be made fast Head and Stern to these Chains, leaving

      sufficient Room either ahead or astern of each Tier for Ships to go to and

      from their Moorings without Obstruction or Inconvenience – No greater

      Number of Ships to be in each Tier, then will admit Lighters freely

      to load and unload their Cargoes between them. – The Chains to be pro-

      vided with a sufficient Number of Bridles or Rings, so that not more than

      Two Ships shall ever make fast to the same Bridle.


      (III.) A clear Channell of Passage Way of not less than 250 Feet wide

      to be always preserved in the Center of teh River for the free Passage of

      Vesells to and from their different Moorings, in which Channel Ships on

      no Account whatsoever shall be permitted to ride, in order to do away the

      many Inconveniences and Accidents that are now occasioned by the Want

      of a regular Navigation. – From 20 to 25 large Ships are frequently ladi in

      a Tier, which extends nearly from one Side to the other of the deep Water.

      whereby Vessells going to or from their Moorings are very much onstructed,

      and Accidents, not unfrequenly, occasioned.


      (IV) No vessels to be moored nearer to any of the Banks, Wharfs, or

      Quays, on either Side of the River, than 100 Feet (except such small Vessells

      as are made fast to and lay alongside of the Wharfs or Quays themselves)

      in order that free Passage Way may always left for Boats going to or from

      the different Wharfs, Stairs, & c. – In Limehouse Reach, from Durand’s

      Wharfs to the King’s Morrings, no Bessel to be moored nearer than 200

      Feet from the Banks and Wharfs, in order that no Obstruction or Impedi-

      ment may arise to Vessels going to or from the different Docks and Tards

      in that Part of the River.

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