Museum of London Docklands
Museum of London Docklands
A historic warehouse in London's Docklands has been converted into a modern museum telling the tale of London's river and port over time, going back as far as the Roman conquest. There is a children's interactive gallery, plus recreations of a 19th century riverside, and an exhibition detailing London's involvement with the slave trade.
The museum occupies a group of sugar warehouses built in 1802 beside the West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs. In 2003 the warehouses were converted into a modern museum space to display artefacts from the historic collections of the Port of London Authority. A series of 12 galleries show how the port of London developed over time, beginning with the coming of the Romans.

The museum takes a 'timeline' approach, tracing through models, videos, and historical objects how the port changed and grew.

One gallery covers the involvement of the London port with the sugar trade and slavery from 1600. Another gallery explores the history of the 'Legal Quays', established by Elizabeth I to collect customs duty on imported goods. See how trading companies such as the Muscovy Company and the British East India Company used the port of London as their base for worldwide trade expansion. Take a look at crime and punishment on the waterfront, including how authorities tried to solve the problem of river pirates and the severe punishments they meted out to those they caught!

Another looks at the port during the heyday of the British Empire from 1840-1880. More recent history includes the 'Docklands at War', telling the story of the port during the dark days of WWII. The final gallery in the timeline shows how the Docklands area was developed since the end of the Second World War, including the nearby Canary Wharf development.

Aside from the main museum galleries there are meeting rooms and a lecture theatre for special events, including talks by former dock workers. There is also an extensive archive of documentary material that can be consulted by arrangement.

There are regular special events, including a Docklands Ghost Tour, and walking tours around the historic port.

There is an entrance fee for adults, but tickets allow unlimited entry for a full year, and children go free.