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Digital Gallery Images

The Gallery includes images of the borough's streets and buildings and portraits of people and communities. The Digital Gallery images are displayed as thumbnails. Full size images can be viewed by clicking on a thumbnail.

How do I obtain a copy of an image?

Photographic copies can be obtained from Tower Hamlets Local Studies and Archives (there is a charge for this service) or a maximum of 5 digital copies can be emailed to you. If you would like to use the images for publication or display please contact us at




Image Number:





Island History Trust Image Collection


Francis Petit Smith, born in Kent 1808, became a grazing farmer in Romney Marsh and experimented with model boats. He took out his first patent for the revolving screw propeller in 1838. His first boat was launched at Wapping; then he formed the ‘Ship Propellor Company' and had the ‘Archimedes' built on Millwall, by Henry Wimshurst. This ship, launched in October 1838, was destined to go down in history as the first screw steamship; she was a 237 ton vessel, with 80 h.p. engines, with a figure-head clipper bow and counter stern, rigged as a three -masted top sail schooner with a tall funnel between the fore and main masts.