How it all started!
Brentford Dock began construction in 1855 from a plan by Brunel as a freight link between river-borne traffic and the Great Western Railway's (GWR) rail network to the West Country and other parts of the United Kingdom. It opened in 1859.
Official Opening of Great Western Railway’s Docks
The Official opening of the Great Western Railway’s Docks at Brentford was recorded on 15th of July 1859 at 3.40 pm. Records describe quite a grand affair with the Board of Directors arriving on the River Thames on 2 paddle steamers (Venus and Jupiter) and others via the GWR Branch line from Southall. Music and a Ceremonial Dinner were taken nearby at the Town Hall in Brentford.
The completed site included a large railway marshalling yard with warehouses. A spur line from the Great Western Railway at Southall was built to connect to Brentford station and enable freight from lighters and barges on the Thames to be transferred to the rails. Over the next 45 years the docks went through a period of major expansion.
The Dock became a major transhipment point for National Trade for 100 years; some historians believe that approximately 10% of the country’s trade passed through here at its height.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, with increased road traffic, much less use was made of the waterways for transporting goods. Brentford Dock was closed in 1964.
Brentford Dock Estate
In 1972 construction work began on the Brentford Dock Estate and the project was completed six years later in 1978 and the Brentford Dock Marina opened two years later.
Official Opening of Brentford Dock Marina
For the official opening of Brentford Dock Marina on 7 August 1980 Sir Horace Cutler, head of what was then the GLC (Greater London Council), sailed up river from County Hall on the Princess Freda.
The photograph above, taken by Ian Ridpath, shows Sir Horace Cutler cutting the blue ribbon draped across the lock gates.