PortCities London

The 20th-century port

Boom and bust: the port, 1914-80

The PLA proves its worth

Landing tapioca at Butler's Wharf.
View full size imageLanding tapioca at Butler's Wharf, c. 1910. © NMM
Thanks to the various PLA initiatives, London maintained its traditional position as the world's largest port.

Between 1909 and 1939 the total tonnage of shipping going through the port rose from less than 40 million tons to more than 60 million. London's share of Britain's sea-borne trade rose from 29% to 38%.  

The King George V Dock

The liner Euripides alongside London Docks
View full size imageThe liner Euripides (1914) berthed at the London Docks. © NMM
The PLA started building new storage facilities as well as the George V Dock.

By the mid-1920s the PLA warehouses could store more than one million tons of goods.



Masefield marvels

Audio File John Masefield's poem
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John Masefield, the Poet Laureate, visited the PLA's Cutler Street Warehouses. He marvelled at the imports stored there: 

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