Boats and People


Boats-and-people-1The Tower Bridge Moorings at Downings Roads support the largest single collection of historic trading vessels on the Thames, some over 100 years old.

The moorings have evolved into a vibrant community with more than 30 historic boats providing affordable homes and studios for over 70 people around an infrastructure of floating gardens and walkways.

Most of the boats on the moorings are historically significant, they include Thames Barges, Thames Lighters, Commercial Tugs, Selby Barges, a Humber Keel.  And a large variety of Dutch sailing and motor barges.

Boats-and-people-2The moorings have been developed into an active floating community, closely interwoven with the fabric of the local community.

The moorings are unique in being an example of an alternative living, in affordable housing in central London. The community at Downings Roads reflects a wide variety of skills and expertise, including architects, journalists, doctors, key workers and working artists. In addition, several residents have established their own businesses both on the moorings and within Southwark.

Over the years the community has developed strong and varied links in the borough particularly in the voluntary and educational sectors and children from the mooring attend a number of local schools and nurseries.

Boats-and-people-3The residents add to the diversity of the local community and are an inspirational example of how it is possible to regenerate whilst maintaining the character of the area; former commercial warehouses and ships, along the water front, have both been converted to provide housing.

What has been gained from life on these boats is an intricate knowledge of the river, an awareness of demand and supply, of tools, skills, techniques, and it’s been through this exchange across the boats, that a mutual co-dependence has emerged.


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