For many people who live and work in Rotherhithe, Surrey Quays and surrounding areas, the open water of Canada Water, Albion Channel, South Dock and most spectacular of all Greenland Dock provide a wonderful respite from the bustle of urban living. We are so privileged to live in a place with so much green space and open water! But most folk have missed the joys of Norway Dock, a small shallow area of open water next to Plover Way. It is one of the last remaining vestiges of the once flourishing Commercial Dock Company. The CDC was a key part of the development of the Surrey Docks and formed a part of the extensions to Greenland Dock that transformed Rotherhithe during the nineteenth century.
Andie Byrnes has chronicled the development of the docks in SE16 and her post from earlier this year presents a compelling story of Norway Dock and the way Scandinavian and Canadian timber came to dominate the area. Deal porters were a specialist group of workers who held the dangerous job of handling baulks of softwood or ‘deal’; hence the statue at Canada Water and the new Deal Porters Square by the library. The happy association between Rotherhithe and Norway, Sweden and Finland has its origins in the seaborne cargoes of timber that arrived in Victorian London via these ponds.