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Port of London Authority: A Century of Service

'Gateway to the World' Museum of London Docklands celebrates 100 years of London's Port history

Museum of London Docklands welcomes the Port of London Authority (PLA) to help celebrate a century of service to the tidal Thames. The exhibition 'Port of London Authority: A Century of Service' (30 March – 19 April 2009) forms part of a year long celebration of the PLA centenary. With over 100 captioned images, films and archive material telling stories from Polar expeditions to 1930's Christmas parties; this seafaring exhibit is not to be missed.

The exhibitionAs PLA's chief executive, Richard Everitt, reflected "London isn't just one of Europe’s great cities – it's one of Europe’s great ports. Since the first Londoners settled on the banks of the Thames thousands of years ago, the river has fed, supplied and transported them. It still fulfils this vital task today under the stewardship of the Port of London Authority. For the last 100 years the PLA has battled through two world wars and a revolution in shipping, to ensure the river remains an economic powerhouse for the people of London and the south east. The tidal Thames is safer and more efficient today than it has ever been, and now the Museum of London Docklands is telling its story. It's a tale of upheaval, change, sacrifice and, ultimately, success. It's the story of a port authority, its people, the docks, and a river that has evolved alongside the city it serves."

The PLA has worked to ensure that London remains a competitive port and to facilitate the safety of river users for over a century. The exhibition at Museum of London Docklands offers a rare chance to see items from the extensive PLA archive and collections including never before seen footage of the Thames and a brand new film about the PLA’s work, commissioned for the centenary.


Visitors browse the displaysThe exhibition will also include:

  • 20-25 graphic panels with captioned images that capture chronological history and development of the PLA from 1909 to 2009
  • Stories from the PLA staff, documenting their time working on the tidal Thames over the last 100 years
  • A dedicated display case of archive material including letters covering the PLA's role in Polar expeditions during the early 1990s

David Spence, Director at Museum of London Docklands commented: "Our collection includes a significant amount of material from the PLA archive, so this celebration of the PLA is part of our history too, a chance to showcase the important and dynamic relationships we have with the varied organisations and people who play a vital part in the Thames history. The exhibition is a significant celebration of the PLA and Museum of London Docklands' continuing relationship and work."
The 1980's displayPort of London Authority: A Century of Service opens on 30 March 2009 and runs until 19 April 2009 at Museum of London Docklands. Admission to the Museum is free to Port of London Authority staff and alumni staff. General admission to the Museum costs £5 for adults (£3 for concessions) and allows unlimited readmission for a full year. Admission for children is free.

The Museum is open every day (except 24th, 25th and 26th December) from 10.00 am until 6.00 pm. 

For more information about the Museum of London Docklands, including travel directions, please see the website (opens in a new window).