The Thames Iron Works and Shipbuilding Company was one of the great private enterprises of the Victorian age. It launched several of the most famous warships of the time from its slipways at the mouth of the River Lea. One of the pioneers of shipbuilding in iron, the company flourished in the mid 19th century: the yard built ships t just for the Royal Navy but for other foreign powers seeking to furnish their navies with the super-weapons of that age. Their expertise in iron construction was also deployed in ground-breaking civil engineering projects - several still in use - from Anglesey to Asia. Recent archaeological excavations at the launch-site of Crossrail tunnelling machines on the Limmo Peninsula afforded a glimpse of this vanished industry. Several important components of the yard were investigated, including engineering workshops, a furnace, a mast house and mould loft building, and a slipway. An account of the development of the Thames Iron Works places it within the wider context of London's 19th-century shipbuilding industry.