The Tall Ships at Royal Arsenal Woolwich

Places like people deserve a second chance and Woolwich needs one. It’s packed with lovely old buildings, in fact, 112 of them are listed. But, they are not palaces like its swanky neighbour Greenwich they are places where people worked, The Royal Arsenal, Royal Dockyard and the barracks. So the fact that the Tall Ships are moored there for the second year running is great recognition.
Tall Ships Royal Arsenal

I went along on the first evening to see the ships. There were six ships at the Royal Arsenal and three were moored by the pier the remaining strung out along the river as far as Broadwater Dock. The setting sun gilded the river and provided a stunning backdrop.

Sunset at Royal Arsenal

Looking west into the sunset I was reminded of John Burn’s description of the Thames as “liquid history”. From The Royal Arsenal you could see the Woolwich ferry which was the first free crossing for the people of East London. One of the ferries is named after John Burns who led the Dock Strike of 1889 and who went on to be a prominent politician. Further along the south bank of the river is the Woolwich Dockyard and opposite is the Tate & Lyle factory one of the last industrial bastions on the river. The Canary Wharf skyline dominated the horizon and I could just make out the distinctive silhouette of the Thames Barrier.

Tall Ships Royal Arsenal

The Thames Tall Ship Cruise will take visitors from Royal Arsenal to St Katherine’s Dock passing many more places of historic interest along the river including the Greenwich World Heritage Site.