Lightening the Load: Five 19th-Century River Lighters at Erith on the River Thames, UK



Five early-19th-century Thames lighters, up to 22 m long, in an excellent state of preservation, were recorded during pre-construction archaeological works. The lighters had been used as the main structural elements in a mid-19th-century river-wall. The lighters and river-wall are described, and aspects of the construction discussed. The craft exemplify utilitarian trends in early industrial age boatbuilding, and were essential in the development of the international port. Although comparatively recent in date, details of their ‘bottom-up’ construction are not well known.

© 2009 The Authors