A proposal for renaming Greenland pier

Greenland pier is confusingly named, but I think there’s a reasonable alternative with historical provenance.

I’m working in Whitehall at the moment, and my current commute is: walk to the end of the road to Greenland pier; take a boat to Embankment; walk through a couple of parks to the office. It’s very pleasant, and I say that as someone who despises all commuting.

At this time of year, there are a lot of tourists on the boats in the evenings, and many of the ones going east are travelling to Greenwich. Every day, several of them confuse it with Greenland, two stops earlier. They’re spelt similarly, and, if you’re not a local, they’re often pronounced similarly, too.

In what I assume is an attempt to make things easier, Thames Clippers (who operate both the boats and the pier) have written ‘Surrey Quays’ in big letters across the pier, but that only makes things more confusing, because now there are two names. It’s inaccurate, too, because Surrey Quays Overground station is still fifteen or twenty minutes’ walk away.

From some time before 1723 until it was destroyed in the Second World War, a pub called the Dog and Duck stood on the spot now occupied by Greenland pier. (You can see it on the 1896 layer of Southwark Council’s maps of the area.) The pub also gave its name to the adjacent Dog and Duck stairs, which still stand next to the pier today.

I propose that the pier should be renamed. Greenland is too confusing; Surrey Quays is too misleading. There is, however, a unique, distinctive, unambiguous, historical name for the exact location, and that’s why it should be renamed Dog and Duck pier.