Colin Grainger

Reflections of the Past 4: The Monarch…the ship at the end of our streets!

Ship at the end of street copy

Probably the most famous picture from my childhood.

Saville Road, North Woolwich, a couple of roads away from the two streets where I grew up, Auberon Street and Rhea Street, is the setting for this famous shot of the Dominion Monarch in the King George V Dry Dock, immediately behind the dock fence.

The ship was part of the Shaw Saville Line . It was an image that reminds of the sights, sounds, and spells that came from the dock.

It was part of our lifestyle as we walked or road our bikes to Drew (Road)  school every day.

In 1962 she left the docks sailing to Seattle to be a floating hotel at the World Fair, and apparently in  November that year she went onto Japan to be broken up.

During her lifetime she sailed almost 1.5 million miles over her 23 service.

The the same year that she was scrapped Shaw Savill brought into service the Northern Star  to replace her. Home Port was Southampton, and she carried only passengers , unlike the Monarch, which carried cargo and passengers.


Picture: Newham Archives and Local Studies :Library


  1. Kim Roche
    June 23, 2013

    Hi, where can I purchase a copy of this photograph?

  2. Auberon Hedgecoe
    December 13, 2014

    Hi I would like a copy of this photo please, happy to pay you, is this possible?

    thank you

  3. Barry York
    March 25, 2018

    Thanks very much for this information, Colin. I take it that the ship was in dry dock?

    My parents and I migrated to Australia in 1954 from Tilbury.

    The photo, which you have helped explain, is one of the most mind-blowing I’ve seen when it comes to memories of voyages and migration.

    Any additional memories of the image to share?

    Best wishes from Canberra, Australia,

    Barry York

  4. Sandra Holder (nee Christian)
    February 28, 2021

    I was so interested to see this photo of my favourite ship – the Dominion Monarch – that used to come into the Docks in the early 60’s flags fluttering. I used to ‘dream’ that one day I would sail on it and travel to wherever it went. I worked at Harland and Wolff in the Structural Drawing Office located on the top floor of the building that overlooked the loch by the Bascule Bridge. When Dominion Monarch went on her last voyage I was in tears – flags flew from every vessel and the horns and hooters from all of them send her on her way. Such happy memories – straight from an all girls school literally, ‘thrown into the deep end’ by working in a Drawing Office where the draughtsman ages ranged from 16 to 65!!! I was terrified at first, but soon learnt how to ‘manage’ them. Such happy, happy times.

  5. Colin Rue
    February 14, 2022

    Where can I purchase this picture ?

  6. Dr Geoffrey w Duffield
    November 27, 2022

    Any have recollections of Ann’s corset shop or the coop corset department

  7. Jan O’Brien
    January 9, 2024

    I would really like a copy of this photograph. Is it possible to buy one?

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