Museum of London Docklands tells the story of London’s connections across the globe. Housed in an atmospheric warehouse building, once filled to the rafters with vast quantities of rum, sugar, coffee and cotton from West Indian plantations, the Museum explores the history of London’s river and port, along with the stories of the people from all over the
world whose lives became woven into its activities.
Most of the objects on display were rescued in the 1980s, when the docks closed and London’s port moved downstream to Tilbury.
The Grade I listed building, with its flagstone floors, pitch pine timbers and high barred windows is an experience in itself and perhapsthe most magnificent object of the Museum. The warehouse building opened in 1802 to store the cargo that had been transported to the docks. The original hydraulic crane that lifted the cargoes up from the quayside is still in place.
The Museum’s story begins 2000 years ago, when the Romans set up a trading post on the banks of the Thames, and continues with the growth of London into the biggest port the world had ever known. Wooden casks and barrels, tea chests stamped with Chinese lettering, ostrich feathers, spices and minerals speak of exotic places, whilst workshops equipped with original tools and enormous whale jaw bones are a reminder of forgotten trades.
Sailortown, a reconstruction of Victorian Wapping High Street, with its dark little alleys, complete with authentic smells, is one of the highlights; the pub, lodging house and animal emporium are typical of the riverside communities where sailors spent their shore leave.
A new permanent gallery, London, Sugar & Slavery, reveals the city’s involvement in the transatlantic slave trade.
£5 adults or £3 concessions (over 60s, unwaged)
Free for under 16s, NUS cardholders and disabled carers
Free admission after 4.30pm
Closed 24-26 December
Eating & Drinking
The Museum café offers a wide range of freshly made cakes, sandwiches and beverages. 1802 Bar, Lounge & Dining offers a full restaurant menu.
A picnic area is open for families on weekends and during school holidays.
Museum of London Docklands
West India Quay
London E14 4AL
By DLR: West India Quay
By Tube: Canary Wharf
By Bus: D3, D7, D8, 277, N50, D6, 15, 115, 135
tel: 020 7001 9844