Digital resources

Jordan's Map of the Thames

Lloyd's Register Surveyor Charles Jordan's Map of the Thames is an in depth map of the drydocks along the River Thames. Fed up with trying to navigate the busy London yards with no direction, Jordan took it upon himself to design and publish Jordan's Particulars of Docks, Wharves, & Companies on the Thames in 1882. A popular aid to local surveyors and seaman, the publication was a massive success, prompting a second edition to be published in 1904. Upon being asked about the success of the journal, Jordan remarked "The favourable reception of the work by shipbuilders and steel manufacturers has been a great source of gratification to the author".

For the first time, the Heritage & Education Centre have made the maps available digitally.

The Maps

The second edition of Jordan's Particulars of Docks, Wharves, & Companies on the Thames included seven different maps of the Thames and is shown below. Areas covered include London Bridge to Blackwall, Blackwall to Barking, Barking to Erith, Erith to Broadness, Gravesend Reach to Sea Reach and Sea Reach to the Nore.

If you would like to view the maps in person, please visit the Heritage & Education Centre (address, opening times shown below).

Who was Charles Jordan?

The earliest information the Centre holds on Charles H Jordan (1840-1930) dates back to 1855 when he was apprenticed to John Scott Russell & Co. aged 15. Jordan was present during the first attempt at the launch of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Eastern in 1857, acting as a messenger between the winch engineers.

After completing his apprenticeship, Jordan worked at the Liverpool Underwriter's Registry when he was 31. When the Registry amalgamated with Lloyd's Register in 1885, Jordan became a surveyor and was stationed at outports in Italy, France, Germany, Belgium and Denmark.

At the age of 68, Jordan retired.

Jordan's Particulars of Docks, Wharves, & Companies on the Thames was not his only published work. In 1896, Jordan also published Tabulated Weights of Angle, Tee, and Bulb Iron and Steel, and Other Information, followed by Some Historical Records and Reminiscences Relating to the British Navy and Mercantile Shipping in 1925. The latter was published in the Lloyd's Register Staff Association Volumes and covered significant developments in shipbuilding, cable-laying, propulsion and the change of ship types navigating the Thames.

Guildhall Talk

Using the Centre's archived information about Jordan, Head of the Heritage & Education Centre Victoria Culkin gave a lecture about the life of Charles Jordan and his Map of the Thames. The fully-booked lecture was held at the Guildhall Library in August 2017. To find out more about the Centre's upcoming events, visit our events page.