Welcome to Gravesend Pontoon
Gravesend Pontoon Ltd has managed the facility on behalf of Gravesham Borough Council since April 2015, hosting the Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry foot passenger service on the south bank and providing overnight berthing for commercial and leisure vessels.
The pontoon is 40m in length and connected by a brow to Town Pier which provides access to the shore and town centre. It is an all tide facility. There are also 3 yellow mooring buoys adjacent which can be used as either swinging moorings or as ‘fore & aft’ moorings. Half tide quay side moorings are available opposite along the frontage of St Andrews Gardens.
Town Pier and the Pontoon is located on the northern edge of the town centre in the Heritage Quarter. This allows access for supplies, visitor attractions and rail services including the HS1 (High Speed Rail) to London St Pancras in 24 minutes from
Water and electricity services are available.
We welcome all vessels, and hope you enjoy your visit.
A Brief History
Town Pier is a Grade II listed building and the oldest surviving cast iron pier in the world designed by William Tierney Clark, completed in 1834.
Preceding it was a timber pier which survived for a year before being burnt down during a riot by the Wherry Men. This was a group of seamen aggrieved at the loss of their fees charged for rowing passengers out to ships waiting at anchor in the Thames. It was a flourishing period when Gravesend was a major point of departure for the New World.
The ‘new pier’ was made from cast-iron and suitably robust to survive but a stone ramp was included for use by the ‘Freemen of the River’, the remains of which can still be seen beneath the pier.
The Road into the town centre used to be a main thoroughfare hence it was named High Street.The Thames was a a major travel route to Chatham Dockyard by river from London and was used by the diarist and Member of Parliament Samuel Pepys 23 (1633 – 1703).
From 2000 to 2002, the pier was restored by the Gravesham Borough Council. They also added a restaurant and a bar.
One purpose has been a constant over the centuries; that is its location of choice for waiting for the flood tide for the onward journey to London. That make the trip easily managed for most vessels within six hours. It is also where the Thames begins to lose its estuarial character and, importantly for small vessels, somewhere to wait for more suitable weather conditions prior to venturing further east.