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19th century London > On the water

River traffic peaks

Passenger traffic on the river increased rapidly when steamboats were introduced in 1815. Services to London came up the Thames from Gravesend, Margate and Ramsgate via Greenwich and Woolwich. The river was more crowded than ever. Collisions and other accidents were common.

By the mid-1850s steamboat services carried several million passengers a year. Many were pleasure-trippers, but every day around 15,000 people travelled by steamboat to work – twice the number that took the train.

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