East India Docks

A view of the East India Docks.
View full size imageA view of the East India Docks. © NMM
Downriver of the old Blackwall entrance to the West India Docks lay the East India Docks. Opened in 1806, the docks originally served the East India Company's thriving interests in India and other parts of Asia. East Indiaman plied the trade between London and Calcutta or other Indian ports, laden with the merchandise of two civilisations.

Original entrance to the East India Docks.
View full size imageOriginal entrance to the East India Docks. © NMM
The docks consisted of parallel import and export docks with a basin and locks connecting to the river. The basin allowed lots of ships to gather together to avoid the delay of going through locks. Apart from a few spice stores, the East India Dock did not have extensive warehousing on site. This was largely because its goods were of great value. Once they were unloaded, imports were transported along Commercial Road to the company's Cutler Street warehouses in the City of London.

In later years, the 31 acres of water at the docks, were used by ships from the Union Castle Line, Ellerman Line, Blue Star Line and Ben Line. In the 1920s, new facilities were built for the handling of frozen meat. The export dock was badly bombed during the Second World War and filled-in. The docks closed in 1967.

 Find out more:
Fact fileEast India Docks
StoriesTea trade and the East India Docks
GamesMatch the commodity to the dock it came into