Woolwich Free Ferry

The Woolwich Ferry Diesel Boats

John Burns and Ernest Bevin
The John Burns and Ernest Bevin in Mid Thames.
  The diesel boats now in use are The John Burns, Ernest Bevin and James Newman, they have been in service since 1963. At first they were side loading using the old pontoons, with traffic queuing in Hare Street in the town centre of Woolwich. 

On 20 September 1966 the new terminals were opened now the ferries became end loading and the traffic avoided the centre of town. 

  1. The Ernest Bevin is named after Ernest Bevin (1881 - 1951) a trade union pioneer and MP for Woolwich. 
  2. The John Burns after John Elliot Burns (1858 - 1943) who led the great dock strike of 1889.
  3. The James Newman after James Newman one time Mayor of Woolwich. 

The Free Ferry Ernest Bevin

Ernest Bevin end on in mid stream in the back ground the cranes of the now disappeared Royal Docks. July 1970
Photo John King
  They were all built in 1963 at Dundee. 
  • Length                 185 ft  7 ins 
  • Breadth                 61 ft 
  • Draught                 6 ft 
  • Tonnage                738 tons 
  • Engines                 Two pressure charged Mirrlees Blackstone 500 hp diesel engines which drive two Voith-Shneider cyclodal propellers, one at each end of the boat. 
  • Capacity               500  passengers and 200 tons of vehicles 

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