Industrial Heritage Online

Industrial Heritage Online

Gwilt Warehouses, West India Docks

No.2 Warehouse, 1802. Earliest multi-storey warehouse remaining intact in London. Cast-iron stanchions of 1814 earliest remaining in London multi-storey warehouses. First warehouse of the enclosed docks. George Gwilt architect. No. 1 Warehouse. 1803, extended to its present height 1827. Office. (1803) with portico. Built against (buttressed) boundary wall of Import Dock. Architect George Gwilt. Part to open as Museum in Docklands (2002)
Gwilt from George Gwilt & Co the architects. Initially it was agreed that six tall (six storey) warehouses and three two-storey warehouses (including Warehouse No 1.) would be erected with single storey blocks between each one. Each warehouse building consisted of three bays, allowing for two West India ships to lie in front of each warehouse. The Western Bay of the building was designated for storing the personal baggage of ships officers and passengers; valuable small cargoes like Cochineal, ivory, tortoiseshell and Bullion; and ships stores.The height of each Warehouse storey was dictated by the nature of the cargo to be stored. The Ground Floors were designed to store two tiers of hogsheads of ‘clayed’ sugar. The upper floors stored a single tier of the heavier hogsheads of muscovado sugar, whilst the top floors held the lighter cargoes - coffee, cocoa, cotton, pimento etc. The ground floor of the building is substantially unchanged from 1803 but in 1827 the building was raised to its present height, in anticipation of the Dock Company attracting new cargoes from the East Indies. Indeed, for most of the 19th century much of the warehouse was used for storing tea.In 1901 the roofs and upper floors of part the building were destroyed by fire. The heavy double-iron doors which were installed to prevent the spread of fire in the future can still be seen. After the closure of the West India Docks in 1980 the building became derelict. In 2000 work began on restoring and converting the Grade 1 listed building for use as a museum. The architects for this project were Purcell, Miller Tritton, and the galleries were designed by Haley Sharpe Design.

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Key Words :- Warehouses
Linked Sites :-
Address :- West India Quay, Hertsmere Road, London, Greater London, E14 4AL
Grid Ref :- TQ 3724 8059
Co-ordinates :- Lat - 51.507582 , Long - -0.023875
Local Authority :- Tower Hamlets
Pre 1974 County :- Greater London Council
Site Condition :- Site refurbished to industrial / commercial use
Site Status :- Listed - Grade I
Listing No :- 1242440
Site Dates :- 1802 -
Contributor :- cc-by-nc-sa 4.0 © GLIAS Database - 2 June 2018