Housed in a warehouse built 200 years ago to store sugar, coffee and rum, the museum tells the story of the Thames and its port and the people from all over the world who settled there. Thousands of objects and pictures – many rescued during the 1970s and 1980s when containerisation and competition forced London's port to move downstream – trace the area's history, from the arrival of the Romans to the rise of Canary Wharf. Historic photographs and printed material from the Port of London Authority Archive show the vast scale of the docks at the turn of the twentieth century and workshop reconstructions illustrate the many traditional port trades, now mostly lost. Metropolitan Fire Brigade footage and captured Nazi footage documents the impact of the Blitz on the area and oral testimonies explore the port's role in secret wartime projects. The Mudlarks gallery for accompanied under-8s includes a water play area (aprons provided) and a soft play zone.
|Venue name:||Museum of London Docklands||Contact:|
West India Quay
|Opening hours:||Daily 10am-6pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Canary Wharf; Rail: West India Quay DLR|
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This is a very interesting museum - when I visited we were so fascinated that we wanted to learn all about the history of the Docklands in one go, but I would recommend visiting a few times to get the most out of it. There are several floors dedicated to different era's. Children will love the re-built mid-19th century street, which I think is of a decent size. The little cafe area downstairs serves lovely coffee and cakes and a few other things too, and the gift shop is great - wonderful books, toys and stationery that make perfect pressies. Mudlarks is a staple favourite of ours and we visit often - the ground floor gallery has been enjoyed by my son ever since he started crawling but now he is 18 months it is really coming into its own. He not only enjoys the soft play area but now engages with the many other activities on offer, such as tower building and water play. This is simply a fantastic museum in the real East London.
The Isle of Dogs may be one of the less visited areas of London, but it has a fascinating history which is makes a trip to this museum very worthwhile. Located in one of the few remaining dockside warehouses in the area, the museum tells the story of how the area became fundamental to the growth of London as an international trading hub in the 18th and 19th century, faced incredible hardship as a target for bombing raids during the Second World War and declined with the growth of containerisation in the 1970's, before its rebirth in the 1980's as the financial district that it is today. The story is told through original artifacts and photographs and a reproduction of a street in mid-19th century Wapping, which children will find particularly interesting. The permanent exhibition detailing the importance of slavery to international trade and the path to its eventual abolition is very though provoking. The museum is just the right size to allow visitors with young children to get round it all before exhibition induced temper tantrums kick-off. Westferry and West India Quay DLR are very close by and the surrounding area has many restaurants, shops and a cinema, so a few hours spent looking round the exhibits can be part of a day out in Docklands. Well worth a look.