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The Great Dock Strike of 1889, Introduction

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Unloading tea ships in the East India Docks
© National Maritime Museum, London
Repro ID: H3863
Description: Tea was first brought from China to Britain in the 1670s as a medicinal herb, and was slow to become a popular drink. It was only when it was sweetened with sugar that it began to appeal to British taste. It became so popular that by 1794 Britain was buying nine million pounds each year. Tea required careful handling on board ship. It had to be kept dry and away from strong smells. Porcelain, textiles and furniture began to be imported into England simply to pack around the valuable cargo of tea.
Creator: Illustrated London News
Date: 26 October 1867
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London
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National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory GreenwichNew Opportunities Fund 
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