Explore the dark alleyways of London’s Sailortown.
An immersive display recreates the atmosphere of Sailortown. This ramshackle London district, close to the docks, centred around Wapping, Shadwell & Ratcliffe.
Sailors brought exotic birds from Africa and South America to London. They mostly sold these animals to shops, rather than keeping them as pets.
Contemporary writers described Sailortown as 'both foul and picturesque'. In 1852, the reverend Thomas Beames wrote that Sailortown was filled with professional thieves who preyed on drunken sailors.
Many sailors could not write. Professional writers sold their services to sailors and penned letters to loved ones.