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CHAPTER THE TWENTIETH.
Commercial Docks—East India Docks-London Docks-St. Katherine's
Docks-Surrey Docks—West India Docks—Victoria Docks.
THESE vast works, for the accommodation of shipping, are all situate on the east side of London, and have been entirely formed during the present century by joint-stock companies. Previous to their formation, merchandise was kept in barges on the river, and was subject to much depredation. The docks are seven in number, and occupy between 700 and 800 acres.
THE COMMERCIAL Docks, at Rotherhithe, on the south of the Thames, were opened in 1807. They contain about 50 acres, with five basins, and are chiefly occupied by vessels from the Baltic, and for east country trade. The grain stores will hold 100,000 quarters. The office is at 106 Fenchurch Street.
THE EAST INDIA Docks are at Blackwall, near the termination of the Blackwall Railway. They were opened in 1806, having been formed for the use of the East India Company. The basins comprise about 32 acres, and have been made very deep to hold vessels of heavy burden. The cast-iron wharf, 750 feet long, is said to weigh 900 tons.
THE LONDON Docks, opened in 1805, comprise 90 acres, of which about 35 are water, in four docks. There are three openings from the Thames. The mere walls enclosing these docks cost £65,000; the total capital of the company is four millions. One dock, and one huge warehouse, covering five acres, are devoted to tobacco. The tea warehouse is capable of holding 120,000 chests. Altogether there are 20 warehouses, 18 sheds, and 17 vaults, for the reception of goods. The wine entering the port of London is chiefly kept here ; there is accommodation for 60,000 pipes, but not more than from 40,000 to 45,000 pipes is to be found there at one time. The liability to loss by the fraudulent dealing of persons who have access to the wine vaults is very great. In 1855 the loss on the stock of wine deposited in the east vault was upwards of 3400 gallons. What is known amongst the merchants as the Osborn fraud was the mysterious change of 22 pipes of Italian or Spanish red wine into very excellent port wine, which could only be explained by supposing that the inferior wine had been abstracted by some means never discovered, and that the loss had been made good by pilfering wine from port wine casks. The loss of one firm in two years amounted to 567 gallons, but when they sought to recover the value of the wine, estimated at £2800, from the Dock Company, they failed in doing so.
For an order to see the vaults and warehouses apply to the secretary of the company at the London Dock House, in New Bank Buildings. To see the wine vaults to advantage, secure the assistance of a wine-merchant, who will procure a “lasting order."
ST. KATHERINE's Docks are close to the Tower, and are nearer the centre of London than the other docks. They were commenced in 1827, and opened the following year, Telford having furnished the plan. Besides St. Katherine's Hospital, which was reconstructed in the Regent's Park, 1250 houses were pulled down, and 11,300 inhabitants were displaced in carrying out this great undertaking, which cost £1,700,000. The walls enclose about 24 acres, of which between 11 and 12 are covered with water. The earth removed by the excavations was taken up the river to Millbank to fill up reservoirs, which were afterwards built over. The annual gross earnings of the company are about £230,000, and their expenses about £124,000. It is said that the cats, which are kept to destroy vermin, cost £100
There is accommodation in the warehouses, etc., for 110,000 tons of goods.
THE SURREY Docks are near the Commercial Docks, on the south side of the Thames. They are chiefly used for timber.
THE WEST INDIA Docks are the most extensive on the river, and perhaps have no equal in the world. They are situate at the bend of the river, opposite Greenwich, called the Isle of Dogs. The Blackwall Railway has a station where passengers can alight. They were commenced in 1800, William Pitt, the minister, laying the first stone, and were finished in two years. Their area is said to be 295 acres. The wall surrounding them is five feet thick. The basins are connected with the river on
a year !
each side of the bend, that is, both above and below Greenwich. The great import dock has a length of 170 yards, and a breadth of 166 ; it is capable of containing 250 vessels, each of 300 tons. The export dock has the same length, but the width is only 135 yards; this is calculated to hold 195 such vessels. There is besides a canal-shaped dock, almost three quarters of a mile in length, which is used for timber vessels. The warehouses are sufficiently spacious to hold 180,000 tons of goods. Colonial produce to the value of twenty millions sterling has been stored here at one time. These docks, and the East India Docks, belong to the same company, and receive shipping from all quarters. The capital of the company invested on the West India Docks is £1,200,000. The greatest revenue these docks ever realized was in 1813, when £449,000 was the gross return, but since that time the returns have much decreased. The office is at 8 Billiter Square.
VICTORIA Docks are the most modern, and the most distant from London. They are below Blackwall, and their walls inclose 200 acres. Persons desirous of visiting them may either take the railway to Blackwall, and then a steamboat to the docks, or go down by the North Woolwich line, which has a station at the docks. Graving docks in connection with the Victoria docks were added 1856-8, at a cost of £116,000, furnished by a distinct company.
CHAPTER THE TWENTY-FIRST.
THE COURTS OF LAW.
Civil Courts—The Lord Chancellor and the Courts of Chancery_Courts
of Queen's Bench, the Common Pleas, and the Exchequer-Judicial Committee of the Privy Council-County Courts—Criminal Courts -Central Criminal Court-Old Bailey—Middlesex Sessions House.
The law of England is divided, for the benefit of the lawyers, into two great branches, the Common Law and Equity, each with its own rules, modes of procedure, and judges. The only persons who have the right of speaking in these courts on behalf of clients are barristers, gentlemen who have been called to the bar by one of the four INNS OF COURT, and from them the judges are selected, on the occurrence of vacancies, by the ministry of the day. These persons appear in court in black gowns and gray wigs. Of barristers there are three grades; viz. 1. Serjeants-at-law, gentlemen who, after having been a certain number of years at the bar, have induced the Lord Chancellor to advance them to this dignity. As this step is a costly one, and as the serjeants have no longer exclusive audience in the Court of Common Pleas, their numbers are becoming small. They are always addressed as “ Mr. Serjeant -," and are to be known in court by the black patch on the crown of the wig, and by the judges always styling them“ brother,” in consequence of the occupants of the bench being invariably made serjeants when they take their seats, if they were not of this dignity previously. On the appointment of a serjeant, it is the custom for him to distribute gold rings, with an appropriate motto, to the Sovereign, the Lord Chancellor, the Judges, and others. 2. Queen's Counsel, who wear silk gowns, and have seats within the bar. The Chancellor has the privilege of making queen's counsel of barristers after a certain number of