PortCities London
You are here:  PortCities London home > The working Thames > London's docks and shipping
Text Only About this Site Feedback
Explore this site
About maritime London
Early port
Tudor and Stuart port
18th-century port
19th-century port
20th-century port
People and places
Port communities
Crime and punishment
Leisure, health and housing
Thames art, literature and architecture
The working Thames
London's docks and shipping
Trades, industries and institutions
Port of science and discovery
Historical events
Ceremony and catastrophe
London in war and conflict
Fun and games
Things to do
Timeline games
Matching games
Send an e-card
Butler's Wharf (A trading wharf from 1794 to 1972)

Send this story to a friendSend this story to a friend
Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
View this story in picturesView this story in pictures
At the heart of the Pool of London
Known for
Butler's Wharf
View full size imageButler's Wharf. © NMM

Butler's Wharf is to the east of Tower Bridge, on the south side of the Thames.  It is within an area known as the Pool of London.

The wharf made a significant contribution in the link between the Port of London and the trade of the British Empire.  

Main trade

Landing tapioca at Butler's Wharf.
View full size imageLanding tapioca at Butler's Wharf. © NMM
Trade at Butler's Wharf included:

  • sugar
  • tea
  • cinnamon
  • tapioca
  • grain
  • rubber
Interesting Facts
Treading in tea at Butler's Wharf.
View full size imageTreading in tea at Butler's Wharf. © NMM

Around 1910, an unknown photographer was commissioned by the Directors of Butler's Wharf Ltd, to document the daily life of the company.

More than one hundred photos illustrate how, with the exception of cranes unloading goods from a ship, all work was carried out manually. The Butler's Wharf Collection is in the archive of the National Monuments Record.

Life Story
1794The first recorded association is a Mr Butler, who trades in grain from a rented warehouse.
1871-3Butler's Wharf is completely re-built. The huge warehouses cover some 14 acres, and are linked together by high level bridges.
1972Automated container terminals cause the wharf to become redundant. During this year, ships pay their last visit.

Find out more
StoriesThe riverside wharves
The forgotten part of the port
Fact fileHay's Wharf
London's larder
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
Legal & CopyrightPartner sites:BristolHartlepoolLiverpoolSouthamptonAbout this SiteFeedbackText Only