Just after St John's Lock is a place on river called Cheese Wharf.
Here, from the end of the seventeenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century, cheese was put on barges and taken down the Thames to London.
The site is now owned by the National Trust.
The Thames as a working River
Horse pulling a barge
Cheese was not the only goods transported by river. Before cars and lorries were invented, the Thames was a working river transporting all kinds of goods from place to place up and down the river. For centuries barges between here and London, picked up and unloaded cargo of stone, bricks, timber, lead, cheese, flour, meat, wool and hides (animal skin).
The journey by barge from here to London would probably take five days and, depending on the cargo, could require anything between one and fourteen horses. Cargo coming upstream from London, largely waste products such as ashes, rags and horse manure, would probably take eight days.
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