Remember When Woolwich Was Home To A Soviet Submarine?

Remember When Woolwich Was Home To A Soviet Submarine?
Photo: Matthew Smith

Remember when London was invaded by a Soviet Submarine?

Perhaps that's a slight exaggeration. But a Soviet Submarine did sail up the Thames in 1994... and moored up for four years. The U-475 Black Widow was bought by the aptly named Russian Submarines UK.

The sub was built in 1967 and used for training many sailors from the Soviet's allies; Libyans, Cubans and Indians. No one knows exactly what missions she undertook — those secrets lie hidden in Russian records.

Once the Black Widow arrived, she functioned as a museum ship, where the public could board and discover just how tough life was inside a cramped submarine.

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She remained at Long's Wharf by the Thames Barrier until 1998, before moving on to a few locations in Kent over the following years. Nowadays she's sitting in the water in Strood. There were plans to refurbish the sub and reopen the museum in a new location, but all has gone quiet on that front. Perhaps one day the sub could return to London...

You might have seen the interiors of the sub on the silver screen, in 2015's box office bomb Black Sea. Take a look at some shots of a stressed Jude Law pacing about inside in the trailer:

See also: Where To See The Berlin Wall In London

Last Updated 15 August 2017