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13 November 2014

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The River Thames

You are in: London > History > The River Thames > 100 years on the river

100 years on the river

The Port of London Authority (PLA) celebrates its centenary this year and joins the Thames Festival in September.

The River Thames seen from above Greenwich and the Isle of Dogs

The River Thames seen from above Greenwich

Since 1909 the Port of London Authority has been responsible for the safety, environment and economy of the River Thames from Teddington Lock in the west to the North Sea in the east.

The PLA covers over 95 miles of river and was originally formed to bring order to London's booming, and often chaotic, trading river.

The 31st March 2009 marked 100 years since the PLA first carried out its duties on the river.

The PLA Control Centre at Woolwich

The PLA Control Centre at Woolwich

It has seen the rise of London's docks and wharves to its demise and, later, its transformation with new regeneration, housing and the rebuilding of London's Docklands.

The PLA today is responsible for maintaining river channels for navigation and moorings and providing a wide range of services for shipping, including, since 1988, pilotage services. A team of skilled pilots steer vessels along the Thames on a regular basis.

London is still one of Britain’s leading ports and huge ships navigate the Thames on a regular basis. At times ships are as close to 40cm from the Thames bed making the use of hydrographical imaging another important role. Hydrography focuses on the measurement of waters and the sea or river bed.

To celebrate the centenary there will be a number of events throughout the year.

Hydrographic image of a ship at the bottom of the Thames

Hydrographic image of the Thames river bed

There will also be a special concert at Cadogan Hall and participation in the Gravesham Big Day Out and the Thames Festival.

Centenary Events

Thames Festival

Described as "London’s biggest end-of-summer party", the Mayor's Thames Festival celebrates London's river with open air arts, river events, pyrotechnics, illuminations, street theatre, massed choirs and music. This year, to mark its centenary, the PLA is sponsoring a flotilla of river boats to add to all of the other attractions of the event. The 2009 Festival will take place on 12th and 13th September.

For more information about the events, including the Gravesham Big Day Out, please visit the official website of the PLA.

last updated: 07/05/2009 at 11:13
created: 03/03/2009

You are in: London > History > The River Thames > 100 years on the river

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