Museum of London Docklands

Museum of London Docklands information

Location
London , England
Address
West India Quay
E14
Getting there
Tram: DLR West India Quay
More information
www.museumoflondon.org.uk/docklands
Opening hours
10am-6pm
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Housed in an 1802 warehouse, this educational museum combines artefacts and multimedia displays to chart the history of the city through its river and docks. The best strategy is to begin on the 3rd floor, where displays cover the Roman settlement of Londinium, and work your way down through the ages. Perhaps the most illuminating and certainly the most disturbing gallery is London, Sugar and Slavery, which examines the capital’s role in the transatlantic slave trade.

Highlights include a scale model of old London Bridge, back when it was lined with buildings, and Sailortown, a re-creation of the cobbled streets, bars and lodging houses of a mid-19th-century dockside community. It displays fascinating facts too, for example, when London Bridge was demolished in 1831, its wood and iron was recycled into knives and forks, while its successor was dismantled and shipped to Arizona in the United States and reassembled there in 1971. There are also fascinating displays on the docks during the two world wars and their controversial transformation into the Docklands during the 1980s.

There’s a lot for kids, including the hands-on Mudlarks gallery, where children can explore the history of the Thames, tipping the clipper, trying on old-fashioned diving helmets and even constructing a simple model of Canary Wharf. The museum has special exhibitions every few months, for which there is usually a charge.