The Millwall Docks on the Isle of Dogs opened in 1868. The owners had originally hoped to rent the quayside sites to industrial firms. Eventually, however, they were forced to rely on the traditional business of importing produce, chiefly grain and timber, from the Baltic.
The dock area was dominated by the Central Granary, which occupied the north-western corner, and its associated pneumatic grain elevators. By the 1920s, Millwall Docks had been linked with the West India Docks by new cuttings. At that time the docks contained 160 acres of water and seven miles of working quaysides.
Despite improvements in cargo handling methods and the construction of new facilities at Millwall during the 1950s and 1960s, the opening of the first container berth at Tilbury in 1968 signalled the end of the upstream docks. Millwall struggled on throughout the 1970s, attempting to resist the drift of shipping downstream to Tilbury and Felixstowe and eventually closed in the early 1980s.