Wesley Avenue in Britannia Village, a completed part of the Silvertown Quays redevelopment project.
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Silvertown is a district in the London Borough of Newham, in east London, England. It lies on the north bank of the Thames and was historically part of the parish and borough of West Ham, hundred of Becontree, and the historic county of Essex. Since 1965, Silvertown has been part of the London Borough of Newham, a local government district of Greater London. It forms part of the London E16 postcode district along with Canning Town and Custom House.
A £3.5billion redevelopment of part of the district was approved in 2015.
In 1852 S.W. Silver & Company moved to the area from Greenwich and established a rubber works, originally to make waterproof clothing. This subsequently developed into the works of the India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works Company, which constructed and laid many submarine cables. By the 1860s a number of manure and chemical works and petroleum storage depots had been set up. In 1864, the area became an ecclesiastical parish of its own, centred on the church of St Mark's.
Sugar refiners in the area were joined by Henry Tate in 1877 and Abram Lyle in 1881, whose companies merged in 1921 to form Tate & Lyle. Prior to the merger, which occurred after they had died, the two men were bitter business rivals, although they had never met. Tate & Lyle still has two large refineries in the area.
In 1889 Silver's factory was the scene of a twelve-week-long strike by the majority of its 3,000 workers. The strikers were demanding higher pay and were inspired by the recent successes of New Unionism in the East End of London. Management refused to negotiate with the strikers who had immense popular support. Leading figures in the strike included Tom Mann and Eleanor Marx. The workers were eventually starved back to work, with many being victimised for their role. In the aftermath of the strike, Silver's declared a half-yearly dividend of 5 percent. The rest of the industry congratulated Silver's management for holding a line against New Unionism.
On 19 January 1917, parts of Silvertown were devastated by a massive TNT explosion at the Brunner-Mond munitions factory, in what is known as the Silvertown explosion. Seventy three people died and hundreds were injured in one of the largest explosions ever experienced in the British Isles.
In the early 20th century the area suffered greatly from road congestion due to being located between the Thames and the Royal Docks, then the largest and one of the busiest dock groups in the world. The area was cut off for much of the time by lifting bridges over dock entrances and level crossings which were closed for up to three-quarters of each hour by train movements. This led in the early 1930s to the construction of the elevated Silvertown Way, one of the earliest urban flyovers.
Silver's was eventually taken over by the British Tyre and Rubber Co, later known as BTR Industries. The site closed in the 1960s and is now the Thameside Industrial Estate. Another major local employer was the Loders and Nucoline plant at Cairn Mills, a traditional port oleo industry and formerly part of Unilever. This originally milled seeds but later concentrated on production of fats from palm kernel oil.
The area was part of the ancient parish of West Ham, Essex, from the 12th century onwards. West Ham became a county borough in 1900, before merging with neighbouring areas to become the new London Borough of Newham in 1965.
The residential area of Britannia Village was developed in the 1990s.
On 21 April 2015, Newham Council gave planning permission to The Silvertown Partnership for a new £3.5 billion redevelopment of the area. The 7 million square foot (650,000 m2) development will provide offices, a tech hub, 3,000 new homes and brand experience pavilions. A school, health centre and shops are also included in the plan and a new bridge will cross the Royal Docks to get people to Custom House station and Crossrail.
The Silvertown Partnership were selected as the development partner to take forward the regeneration of the site. Their plan was to develop the site with homes, restaurants, commercial buildings, local convenience retail facilities, and significant public realm for community use. They predicted that it would provide up to 20,700 new jobs, up to 3,000 homes and contribute £260m each year of gross value to the London economy. The redevelopment is planned to include the restoration of former flour factory Millennium Mills.
In January 2015, the Mayor of London announced an initial £12m of government funding to start work on demolishing part of Millennium Mills and clearing it of asbestos. Prior to this latest development, the area was transformed in the 1970s by the construction of the Thames Barrier, an adjacent park, new housing areas and London City Airport. In the mid-1990s much of the business activity in the area was centred on the brewing firm Bass. In 2007 Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester visited Silvertown, to formally open the new Silvertown Ambulance Station on North Woolwich Road.
The Tate & Lyle Thames Refinery is a safeguarded wharf in the Port of London. It is one of the largest sugar refineries in the world, with a capacity of 1.2 million tonnes per annum. The Raw Sugar and Refined and Shore Berth jetties include two bulk-handling crane. The terminal commodities are sugar, as dry bulks, and edible and vegetable oils, as liquid bulks: it exports globally and imports from Fiji, Caribbean, Africa and South America.
From 2020/21 a new station at Custom House station will provide transport to and from the area, using the trackbed of the old North London Line. There is passive provision for a stop serving Silvertown to be built in future.
The nearest Docklands Light Railway stations is West Silvertown. Access was much improved by an extension of the Docklands Light Railway from Canning Town to Woolwich Arsenal, which opened on 2 December 2005. However, the old Silvertown railway station on the North London Line, was closed in 2006.
London City Airport is located on the eastern edge of Silvertown. A new bridge to connect Silvertown with Crossrail's Custom House station is one of the features of a £3.5bn redevelopment plan for London's Royal Docks.
The district also features in Charlie Connelly's book, Attention All Shipping. In the first chapter "Sea, Soup and Silvertown" the author describes his grandparents' flight from the area during The Blitz and the inspiration for the book.
- Frank Bailey (1925–2015), firefighter
- "Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood (Exploration and Expedition Auctions): SW Silver & Co". www.bhandl.co.uk. Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Ltd. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
- "Go-ahead for Silvertown development". BBC News. 22 April 2015 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Notes to London Sheet 80, Silvertown 1867 (Map). 1:2500 reduced to 1:4340. Old Ordnance Survey Maps, The Godfrey Edition. Alan Godfrey. ISBN 1-84151-861-1.
- Notes to London Sheet 80, Silvertown 1893 (Map). 1:2500 reduced to 1:4340. Old Ordnance Survey Maps, The Godfrey Edition. Alan Godfrey. ISBN 978-0-85054-073-4.
- Barrett, Duncan; Calvi, Nuala (2012). The Sugar Girls. Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-744847-0.
- Tully, John (2014). Silvertown: The Lost Story of a Strike that Shook London and Helped Launch the Modern Labor Movement. New York: Monthly Review Press. ISBN 9781907103995.
- "London's explosion was at Silvertown". New York Times. 29 January 1919. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
- Winchester, C., ed. (1937). London's Dockland Highway. Wonders of World Engineering. The Amalgamated Press. pp. 749–756.
- "Smoke from the bombed factories in Silvertown (image)". Port Cities. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 23 November 2008.
- "West Ham: Industries". A History of the County of Essex. 1973. pp. 76–89. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- Powell, W. R., ed. (1973). "West Ham: Introduction". A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6. London. pp. 43–50. Retrieved 15 July 2021 – via British History Online.
- "History of the Local Area". Britannia Village Primary School.
- "Central and south east stations". Crossrail.com. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
- "TheWharf - News - InYourArea". InYourArea.co.uk. Archived from the original on 26 May 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
- "Renovation of historic mills begins". BBC News. 21 January 2015. Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
- "Historic Sites and Where We Are Based". Tate & Lyle Sugars.
- "Terminal Directory". Port of London Authority.
- "New bridge planned in £3.5bn Silvertown Quays scheme". Nce.co.uk. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
- Connelly, Charlie (2006). Attention all shipping : a journey round the shipping forecast. London: Abacus. ISBN 9780349116037.
- Melanie McGrath (2003). Silvertown. 4th Estate. ISBN 978-1-84115-143-4.
- Nicholas, Michael (26 January 2016). "Frank Bailey obituary". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
- Silvertown Official Redevelopment Website
- Project Silvertown: A film by Ravensbourne students
- Abandoned communities ... Central Silvertown
- Stories from Silvertown - Eastside Community Heritage
- The Sugar Girls official website