The Thames & Royal Docks in 2014 – a retrospective

As we come to the end of another year it is worth looking back at the happenings in the #dlr_blog area of coverage and whilst the blog only came in to being part way through the year I had still been busy with the camera.

What follows is a month by month review of the highlights, for me, in what was, yet again, a hugely varied and interesting year for river traffic as well as many other events and activities around the Gallions Point area.


The year started off with a demonstration of just how varied the traffic on the Thames really is – from a massive bulk carrier:

Wuchang (1) @ Gallions Reach 14-01-14

To a small little tug that works the barges:

Olympian @ Gallions Reach 06-01-14


This was a quieter month but still brought a visit from the French Navy in the form of one of their Minesweepers:

FS Andromede M643 @ Gallions Reach 24-02-14

It also saw the arrival of a new small tug Express as part of the Walsh fleet:

Express (5) @ Gallions Reach 10-02-14


This month saw a couple of major events in the docks – the first was a welcome return of powerboat racing to the docks – a full report can be seen here.

P1 SuperStock London Challenge trophy 2014 (10) @ RVD 29-03-14

The second event was the biennial Oceanology conference at Excel which always brings in a number of vessels that undertake live technology demonstrations in the docks – a full report can be found here.

Survey vessels (1) @ KGV Lock 08-03-14


The Royal Navy visited London with a number of their Archer Class Patrol boats making appearances during the month.

HMS Blazer P279 (2) @ Gallions Reach 19-04-14

A new resident for the docks also arrived in the shape of the Sunborn floating yacht hotel – more details can be found here.

Sunborn London (10) @ Gallions Reach 01-04-14


There were lots of naval visitors this month but the highlight was the arrival of HMS Bulwark to help celebrate the 350th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Marines. More pictures of these events can be seen here.

HMS Bulwark L15 (2) @ Gallions Reach 28-05-14

May was also the start of the summer cruise ship season for London – more details here.

Le Boreal (1) @ Gallions Reach 15-05-14

A slightly less exotic but no less important aspect of the working life of the river and docks was one of many movements of pipe segments from the docks – a full report can be seen here.

Pipe fishing (3) @ KGV Lock 01-05-14


June brought some more events to the area – the first was Dragon Boat racing in the docks.

Ready for take off @ Royal Albert Dock 29-06-14

Whilst out on the Thames the Venture Challenge took place.

Tally-Ho & Hot Lemon V (VC) (3) @ Gallions Reach 07-06-14


In a quite historic event working cargo ships returned to the Royal Docks – full report here.

Wilson Bilbao & Yasam Rose (1) @ KGV Lock 23-07-14

Whilst the Clipper race fleet returned to London after it’s year long round the world race – more pictures can be seen here.

Clipper Fleet (6) @ Thames Barrier 12-07-14


There were strange goings on down in the KGV Lock – full story here.

In the Newham jungle

I was also fortunate enough to be able to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the historic steam ship SS Robin – more details here.

SS Robin (7) @ Royal Victoria Dock 27-08-14


The month-long celebration of the river Thames took place under the banner of the Totally Thames festival and included the Hippo mentioned above and the source-to-sea relay which came through the Royal Docks. Sadly neither Newham Council nor the Royal Docks Management Authority did much to publicise or participate in the events.

Out on the river we were treated to a fantastic display of sailing ships of all shapes and sizes as part of the London Tall Ships Regatta which culminated in a fantastic parade of sail.

J.R. Tolkien (2) @ Gallions Reach 06-09-14

Meanwhile the everyday working life of the river continued with another bulk carrier departing after having delivered its load of raw cane sugar.

Lake Deer (3) @ Gallions Reach 07-09-14


The paddle steamer Waverly completed another season of running trips up and down the Thames early in the month – always an impressive sight and sound as she powers along the Thames.

Waverley (4) @ Gallions Reach 04-10-14

There was also a new addition to the fleet of a local river company in the shape of a new workboat by the name of Prowler.

Prowler (2) @ Gallions Reach 12-10-14


The Royal Navy and French Navy both sent one of their Offshore Patrol Vessels to take part in various Remembrance events.

FS Pluvier P678 (6) @ Gallions Reach 09-11-14

Towards the end of the month 7 ships of NATO’s SNMCMG1 spent several days in West India Dock.

ORP Flaming 621 (5) @ Gallions Reach 24-11-14


The month started with a fleeting visit from the Trinity House support vessel Alert – a 12 hour stay alongside HMS President near Tower Bridge replicating a similar quick visit the same time back in 2013.

Alert (6) @ Gallions Reach 02-12-14

The year comes to a close as it started with arrivals for the London boat show held at Excel.

Princess Yachts (3) @ KGV Lock 17-12-14

That concludes the review of 2014 – as ever the Thames provided a huge variety of ships and boats but the highlights for me must be the sheer number of warship visitors and the spectacular tall ships regatta.

Please take a moment to complete the poll as to your favourite topics that have been covered this year and I’m already looking forward to what 2015 will bring to the #dlr_blog area.


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