Home » London Attractions » Review : Museum of London Docklands in West India Docks

Review : Museum of London Docklands in West India Docks

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Museum of London Docklands is a museum in West India Docks which tells the history of the River Thames and the growth of Docklands.

The museum opened in 2003 in grade I listed early-19th century Georgian warehouses built in 1802 on the side of West India Docks near to the Canary Wharf financial district. Much of the museum’s collection is from the Museum of London and archives of the Port of London Authority,

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The museum includes series of multimedia presentations including videos and houses a large collection of historical artifacts, models, and pictures in a number of galleries. The museum also has a dedicated children’s gallery called Mudlarks, bookshop and cafe.

The museum through a series of permanent galleries tells the story of how the Docklands were created and how they have changed.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The gallery entitled No.1 Warehouse explores the museum building itself which was originally No. 1 Warehouse of the West India Docks. Opened in 1802, the West India Docks were London’s first enclosed dock system.The gallery illustrates how London’s historic docks and warehouses operated.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Trade Expansion (1600-1800) and London, Sugar & Slavery (1600 – today) galleries consider the effect of global trade and some of its consequences.

City and River (1800-1840), The early 19th century brought great change to London’s river and port. The huge docks complex was just one aspect of the development. New bridges spanned the Thames and the Thames tunnel was completed.

The ever popular Sailortown (1840-1850) gallery recreates the atmosphere of Sailortown, the London district, close to the river and docks, centred around Wapping, Shadwell and Ratcliffe.

The First Port of Empire (1840-1880) and Warehouse of the World (1880-1939) galleries illustrate how London and the docks became the centre of world trade.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Docklands at War (1939-1945) shows how important the docks were for the war effort and how they became a prime target for enemy bombers.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The New Port, New City gallery (1945 – present) recounts the ups and downs of London’s upriver docks after the war culminating in their closure from the 1960s through to the early 1980s. It also shows how Docklands became the site of Europe’s largest regeneration project which was to divide government and local communities.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Museum of London Docklands is a fascinating free museum in a historic building which tells the remakable story of London’s Docklands. Located near to the Canary Wharf financial district, it is an ideal oportunity to discover how the area became the centre for world trade before it became a centre for finance.

Location : Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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