A London County Council paddle steamboat 'The Rennie' at Lambeth Pier - photograph

During the early part of the 19th century, steamboats performed an important river-bus service along the Thames for Londoners. During the later Victorian and Edwardian periods, however, the improvement of road transport was such that these steamboats fell out of use. The London County Council invested heavily in a large fleet of small steam paddlers such as the 'Rennie', which had frequent stops in the London area, from Hammersmith to Greenwich. The operation started in 1905, but was not a success and closed with enormous debts in October 1907. These steamers were eventually sold off to buyers all over the world.
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London Metropolitan Archives

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