The British settled New Zealand in the first half of the 19th century, and soon took advantage of the country's fertile farmland and moderate climate to set up sheep farms. Before the end of the 19th century, New Zealand became one of the world's main exporters of wool. Wool clippers from New Zealand and Australia usually landed their cargos at the London Docks.
At first, there was little point in rearing livestock, as Britain was too far away to make exports of live animals profitable. With the development of refrigeration ships from the 1870s, this situation changed rapidly, and large steamships carrying frozen mutton, beef and dairy products (butter and cheese) made regular trips to the Royal Docks and Tilbury.