A rare survival of what was once the world’s largest dock complex.
The museum building was originally No. 1 Warehouse of the West India Docks. Opened in 1802, the West India Docks were London’s first enclosed dock system, built away from the open river on the Isle of Dogs.
This gallery looks at how London’s historic docks and warehouses operated at the height of their success.
Dockers had to wear overalls without pockets. When No. 1 Warehouse first opened, dock workers had to wear special pocketless garments to stop them pilfering goods.
By the mid-18th century there were so many ships in the port of London that their cargoes often rotted before they could be unloaded. The West India Docks were built to prevent this long wait for space at the quayside.
A dock is an artificial lake, with space for ships to load and unload cargo. The new London docks gave cargo vessels mooring spots away from the open tidal river.