The Thames

Shipping in the Pool of London.
View full size imageShipping in the Pool of London. © NMM
The increase in ships using the port led to congestion in the river. During the 1750s, nearly 1800 vessels were allowed to moor at the same time in the Upper Pool in a space intended for not many more than 500. Goods often stayed in lighters for weeks before they could be dealt with. They were exposed to the weather and well-organised gangs of thieves.

The West India Docks relieved congestion on the River Thames. Ships could discharge cargoes in four days instead of four weeks. The docks were surrounded by high walls which kept out the thieves.

 Find out more:
Trail West India Docks family trail
Galleries The West India Docks
Stories Going for growth: The West India and the Greenland Docks