Museum of London Docklands

The Museum of London Docklands (formerly known as Museum in Docklands) is a museum on the Isle of Dogs in east London that tells the history of London's River Thames and the growth of Docklands. The museum is part of the Museum of London jointly funded by the City of London Corporation and the Greater London Authority.

Museum of London Docklands
The Museum, behind a statue of Robert Milligan, the merchant and builder of the West India Docks.
Location within Greater London
Former nameMuseum in Docklands
Established2003 (2003)
Coordinates51°30′27″N 0°1′25″W
Visitors290,488 (2018)[1]
DirectorSharon Ament
Public transit access Canary Wharf
Westferry; West India Quay
WebsiteOfficial website

The museum opened in 2003 in grade I listed early-19th century Georgian "low" sugar warehouses built in 1802 on the side of West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs, a short walk from the Canary Wharf development.[2][3]

Collections and exhibits

Lots of the museum's collection is from the museum and archives of the Port of London Authority, which became part of the port and river collections of the Museum of London in the 1970s. These were put into storage by the Museum of London in 1985.[4] The museum includes videos presented by Tony Robinson, and it houses a large collection of historical artifacts, models, and pictures in 12 galleries and a children's gallery (Mudlarks), arranged over two floors. Visitors are directed through the displays in chronological order.[3] The periods covered range from the first port on the Thames in Roman times to the closure of the central London docks in the 1970s and subsequent transformation of the area with commercial and residential developments.[5][6] The Museum of London Docklands has a lecture theatre and meeting rooms and hosts talks and events connected with the docks. Several workers who worked on the docks in the 1960s take part in these events, including one from the Pentonville Five. The reading room and Sainsbury's Study Centre house the archives.

The museum acquired several historic vessels for preservation over its existence. Among these were the tug vessels Knocker White and Varlet, both acquired in 1986.[7] [8] By the 2010s the museum had decided to rationalise its collection of vessels, one was transferred to a local group, and another, the Wey barge Perseverance IV, to the National Trust. The last two vessels, Knocker White and Varlet, were transferred to Trinity Buoy Wharf in November 2016.[9][10]

In 2007, the museum celebrated the bicentenary of the British abolition of slavery by opening a £14 million Heritage Lottery Funded exhibition entitled London, Sugar, Slavery about the practice.[11][12] In March 2016, the museum opened an exhibit relating to the building itself. The building was originally called No.1 Warehouse, and was built in 1802 during the expansion of West India Docks.[13] In September, the museum displayed Dick Moore's George Cross medal for bravery during the London Blitz.[14] In 2017, the museum was aiming to open an exhibit displaying archaeological findings found during Crossrail work.[15] In 2020 it plans to put the Havering hoard on display.

Transport connections

ServiceStation/StopLines/Routes servedDistance from
Museum of London Docklands
London Buses Westferry station 135, 277, D3, D7
London Underground Canary Wharf 800 metres walk
Docklands Light Railway West India Quay 2 minute/400 metres walk[16]
London River Services Canary Wharf Pier Commuter Service
Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf Service
650 metres walk

See also


  1. "ALVA - Association of Leading Visitor Attractions". Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  2. Sara Wajid (9 November 2007). "London, Sugar & Slavery Opens At Museum In Docklands". Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  3. Emma Midgley (23 May 2003). "MGM 2003 - A Capital Addition, Museum In Docklands Now Open". Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  4. Foster, J.; Sheppard, J. (30 April 2016). British Archives: A Guide to Archive Resources in the UK. Springer. p. 400. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  5. "Museum of London - Thames Highway".
  6. Hawthorne, Kate; Sheppard, Daniella (29 September 2016). The Young Person's Guide to the Internet: The Essential Website Reference Book for Young People, Parents and Teachers. Taylor & Francis. p. 130. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  7. "Knocker White". National Historic Ships UK. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  8. "Varlet". National Historic Ships UK. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  9. "Historic vessels Knocker White and Varlet set sail to new home at Trinity Buoy Wharf". Museum of London. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  10. "Historic vessels Knocker White and Varlet set sail to new home at Trinity Buoy Wharf". Trinity Buoy Wharf. 14 November 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  11. Eckersley, Susannah; Lloyd, Katherine; Whitehead, Christopher; Mason, Rhiannon (May 2015). Museums, Migration and Identity in Europe: Peoples, Places and Identities. Ashgate Publishing. p. 74. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  12. Tolia-Kelly, Divya; Waterton, Emma; Waterton, Emma; Watson, Steve (July 2016). Heritage, Affect and Emotion: Politics, Practices and Infrastructures. Routledge. p. 125. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  13. Broadbent, Giles (11 March 2016). "Museum of London Docklands to open a new storehouse of history". The Wharf. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  14. Broadbent, Giles (29 September 2016). "Family's pride as museum tells of their hero's courage". The Wharf. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  15. Drury, James (22 September 2016). "Largest Collection Of Crossrail Treasures To Go On Display". Londonist. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  16. Museum of London Docklands: Getting there
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