History of the Woolwich Ferry
Setting up the free ferry
In 1880 a public meeting was held in Woolwich to see whether the town could afford to set up its own steam ferry. Sixty local residents were on the board. The cost of building the boats and landing piers was too great and the Metropolitan Board of Works was approached. This board was the forerunner to the London County Council.
The people of Woolwich pointed out that, through their rates, they had helped pay for toll bridges in west London that the board had recently purchased and opened to free public use. They insisted that they, too, should be able to cross the Thames free of charge.
Free ferry agreed
In 1884, after conducting a survey, the Metropolitan Board of Works agreed to provide a free ferry.
In September 1887, Messrs Mowlem and company were awarded contracts to build approaches, bridges and pontoons.
The free ferry opened on 23 March 1889.