I had used the old Woolwich Ferries but I wish I’d made a final crossing on one before they were replaced. If you haven’t heard – and I heard a bit too late – the service is now closed until late December, the piers are being repaired and two new boats are on their way from their manufacturer in Poland to replace the 50-odd year-old ones. One of the new vessels is called Ben Woolacott after a teenage deckhand who died in 2011 while going about his work and the other will be called Dame Vera Lynne, who you might have heard of.
The new ferries will carry more passengers and be more fuel-efficient, cleaner and less noisy, so we shouldn’t complain. But to mark the passing of the old ones, here’s a video from the 1000 Londoners series, dated September 2015.
And here’s a filmed of a crossing made by a passenger from October 2015.
Footnote: in the 1982 BBC TV adaptation of John Le Carré’s novel Smiley People, George Smiley visits someone in Battle of the Nile Street, Charlton. I can find no real life trace of a street of that name. But if you watch the episode carefully, you can spot his cab turning in to Greenlaw Street, SE18. There’s a down hill view towards that part of the Thames. You don’t see a Woolwich ferry, but you can easily imagine one.