Clippers: The Final Days of Rotherhithe Shipbuilding with Andie Byrnes
Wednesday 28 February @ 7.15pm£2
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.
This month’s lecture is at T&T2 in Surrey Quays Shopping Centre as part of the World by the Water exhibition.