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On the Thames: Upcoming attractions

22 October 2021 - 8 May 2022: London: Port City

London: Port City, a major PLA-backed exhibition, is about to close at the Museum of London Docklands, exploring the past and present of commerce on the river.

Running until 8 May 2022, it will take visitors on an interactive journey through the sights, sounds and even smells of the port’s development over two centuries.

Free to visit, the exhibition draws on our archives, stored at the museum, to tell the story of the port’s evolution into a globally important trading centre.

The exhibition is peppered with stories, characters and little-known facts.

Highlights include:

  • A live feed highlighting river traffic and a simulation of the PLA’s control room in Gravesend
  • Recordings of workers recalling their memories working in the docks
  • Trade Winds, an installation by Susan Stockwell, featuring paper boats made from copies of historical documents floating on a sea of coins from around the world
  • Experimental film and photos by Hillary Powell, exploring the arduous lives of seafarers.

London: Port City critically explores the legacy of the slave trade. An original 19th century record of the installation of a statue of slave trader Robert Milligan will sit alongside images and film of its removal last year.

Exhibition curator, Claire Dobbin, said: “London: Port City aims to show just how much we continue to rely on the Port of London and its impact and legacies over the centuries. As the custodians of the vast PLA archive, the Museum of London Docklands is the perfect place to share this largely hidden part of the capital’s story for the first time.”

Robin Mortimer, PLA chief executive, said: “As life gradually returns to something like normal, post the pandemic, this exhibition is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for the public to explore how the commercial river shapes all our lives. Coinciding with our refresh of the Thames Vision strategy, to make sure it remains relevant in a fast- changing world, it’s a great way to focus on how we learn from the past and make the most of future opportunities to make full use of the river’s potential.”

Get your free tickets here.