Help us tell the story of a time when Londoners routinely took to the river to get around their great city as part of our new community-based project: CRaFT (Causeways, Riverstairs and Ferry Terminals).
Already a CRaFT volunteer? Go to your CRaFT online space.
If you would like to join CRaFT, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is CRaFT?
In the centuries before cars, taxis, buses and trains there were hundreds of CRaFT (causeways, riverstairs and ferry terminals) where passengers could board a boat at a time when Londoners routinely used the Thames to get about. Some CRaFT were private but others were ‘public transport’ landing places, like today’s bus stops, taxi ranks or tube stations.
This exciting project aims to uncover, discover, or rediscover, the histories of the Thames landing places from Vauxhall to Greenwich. Through documentary research, cartography, and of course through past, present and future foreshore fieldwork, the project will tell the stories of the people who used the landing places, as well as those who relied on them for their livelihood.
Many CRaFT have been lost to redevelopment or have disappeared as part of the social and economic change brought about by bridges and new modes of transport. Others still exist, either inland, like York gate on the Victoria Embankment, or on the foreshore, for example at Trig Lane or Custom House in the City of London – although they are no longer used as landing places.
The CRaFT project brings together volunteers from Thames Discovery Programme (TDP), the City of London Archaeological Society (COLAS) and students from the Institute of Archaeology (University College London). It extends the scope and depth of TDPs London’s Lost Waterways project.
There are so many ways to get involved, such as ‘digging’ through archives, foreshore fieldwork, discovering CRaFT in paintings or literature, blogging, foreshore photography, and more!
Many CRaFT have disappeared, however there is a wealth of historic information available to tell their story. On the foreshore, volunteers record the remaining CRaFT. The Thames is continually eroding the foreshore – revealing or destroying features – and volunteers help keep track of changes to CRaFT over time.