Chart showing the depth of the River Thames in London, c1750.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plan of the Thames from the Tower of London to Blackwall, marking the docks, wharves and mills along the course of the river. The soundings in feet at low tide are in Roman numerals. Soundings reduced to the lowest tide that happened between 10 May and 6 June 1794 are in italics. The Thames was one of the busiest waterways in the world, bringing cargo from all corners of the globe. Ships' pilots would have needed accurate information such as this to avoid running aground. Illustration from the 'Report from the Committee Appointed to Enquire into the Best Mode of Providing Sufficient Accommodation for the Increased Trade and Shipping of the Port of London', produced by the House of Commons and published in London in 1796.