A rare survivor of London’s historic docks is celebrated by a major new gallery at the Museum of London Docklands - the first part of a development to transform the galleries.

No.1 Warehouse, the new permanent gallery, focuses attention on the Grade 1 Listed Museum of London Docklands building itself and aims to reveal the inner workings of the Thames docks and warehouses.

The aim is to bring the story to life using a combination of historic equipment and machinery, which performed the day-to-day work of the docks, as well as oral histories, historic images, film and the building itself.

The museum building was part of the West India Docks, London’s first enclosed dock system, which provided a secure environment in which cargoes could be loaded, unloaded and stored. Established in 1802, it was the first stage in the proliferation of early 19th century dock building in the east of London.
At its height, No.1 Warehouse was piled high with cargoes from around the world including sugar, rum, tobacco, spices, coffee, timber and wine. Cargoes were constantly on the move as they were winched from the holds of ships, to the quayside and straight into the warehouses – activities which went on for nearly 200 years until the advent of shipping containers forced the dock’s closure in 1980.

Among the most visually impressive items on display are the beautifully made pieces of equipment which were the working tools of the dock: 19th century iron beam scales which hung from the ceiling timbers and weighed large items or quantities, large wooden cargo casks, elaborately braided ropework baskets and iron hand winches to give a palpable sense of the scale of the everyday operation.

Francis Marshall, Senior Curator at the Museum of London, said “The new No.1 Warehouse gallery is the first major redevelopment of our galleries since London, Sugar and Slavery opened in 2007. It tells a story unknown to many, but which underpins the development of this city. We’re thrilled to be using this opportunity to focus on such an important piece of London’s history, and with such significance for our local area.”

Link to Museum of London Docklands website .

Story dated March 27th 2016