Skip to main content

SS Robin to move to Trinity Buoy Wharf on December 10th 2023

21 November 2023

The move to Trinity Buoy Wharf takes SS Robin back home to the Orchard Yard on the River Lea where she was built by Mackenzie, MacAlpine & Co in 1890.

These piles are over 20m long and weigh over 17tons each

Pilling works are in progress in preparation for the move on Sunday December 10th 2023. Follow our social media channels for more information and timetable of the day.

The SS Robin is an outstanding ship which epitomises the important history of the East End. I am looking forward to the new future for the Robin

— Eric Reynolds, the Chairman of the SS Robin Trust and founding director of Urban Space Management

The ship will be open to the public by appointment as soon as the 40m long access brow has been installed. As the fit out to the pontoon progresses more of the spaces will be opened to the public.

Left: Orchard House Yard in red on banks of River Lea at Bow Creek 1890, Right: SS Robin in 1895 loading casked Herring at Lerwick, Scotland

Laid down at Orchard House Yard at Bow Creek, Blackwall, London, in December 1889, ‘Robin’ and her sister ship ‘Rook’, were launched into the River Lea in 1890.

Bow Creek and the banks of the Thames have been considered the world centre for shipbuilding with a proud tradition going back many hundreds of years, supporting the capital as a global trading empire and supplying the bulk of the ships used in the Royal and Merchant Navies.

The Thames Iron Works was one of the largest yards in the country, building the biggest ships either side of the River Lea at Bow Creek.

By 1890 newer ship builders in Scotland and on the north east coast with lower overheads had become fully established and had taken over the market, causing the yard to finally close in 1912. This brought large shipbuilding to an end in London and few smaller yards to go into a steady decline from which they never recovered. Subsequent bombing in World War 2, development and urban regeneration have largely cleared the area of its maritime past.

Trinity Buoy Wharf Lightship Depot and the basin of East India Dock remain as important reminders and are shown as green above.

Robin survives as one of very few London built ships left of this incredible era.

Visit SS Robin website HERE.

More like this