From James Bond to bananas: Docklands celebrated in Museum of London show

·2-min read
 (Museum of London)
(Museum of London)

Drugs smugglers shoes and the world’s most famous secret agent all feature in a new exhibition celebrating the capital’s Docklands.

London: Port City tells the story of the emergence of the docks in the 18th century to the move out east with the creation of a megaport in Thurrock on the Thames Estuary.

The exhibition, at the Museum of London Docklands, will also lift the lid on how the port has featured in films from The Long Good Friday to James Bond and how the Queen’s Bargemaster helps filmmakers work on the busy river.

Daniel Craig playing James Bond in the new Bond film No Time To Die (Nicola Dove/PA) (PA Wire)
Daniel Craig playing James Bond in the new Bond film No Time To Die (Nicola Dove/PA) (PA Wire)

Among the exhibits, many of which are from the archives of the Port of London Authority, are a pair of leather sandals believed to date from the 19th century that were hollowed out to hide opium being smuggled ashore, as well as paintings and vintage film footage of the old docks.

There will also be a smell suite capturing the pungent aroma of the docks at their height when cargoes from tobacco and tea to bananas came in from around the world and a live tracker display showing the movement on vessels on the river now.

 (Museum of London)
(Museum of London)

Curator Claire Dobbin said: “People tend to think of the docks as something that is historic or specific to a certain time but we really wanted to show the breadth of work the PLA is involved in today.

“The technological innovations and the whole containerisation aspect and the size and scale of the ships that are coming in and the quantities of cargo being processed is all part of the current contemporary history of the city and a lot of people don’t know about it because it has moved down river and out of site.”

The show will also look at how the historic docks - which include the building which is currently home to the museum - developed and eventually disappeared.

It will also explain the port’s history with the slave trade and the case of merchant and slave owner Robert Milligan whose statue was removed from outside the museum buildings last year.

:: London Port City runs from tomorrow (Oct 22) to May 8 next year.

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