11th November 2015: 11am '"Conflict and Competition": The Rise and Fall of London's Dock Companies in the 19th century': Dr Tom Wareham


  • Although London was always the most important port in the British Isles - and arguably one of the busiest in the World - its status was really confirmed by the enormous expansion that took place during the course of the 19th century.  The vigorous application of capital investment - especially from income generated from slave plantations in the West Indies - generated yet more income for a City that was already pre-eminent.  Yet behind the ambitious growth of the port lay an almost Dickensian greed, an unfettered and ruthless desire for profit that ultimately brought the port to a bitter and momentous conflict and a financial collapse that shocked the heart of the empire.


  • In this talk Dr Tom Wareham will outline the rise of the individual dock companies and the course of events that led to the final intervention by Parliament itself and the establishment of London's unitary port authority.


  • Dr Tom Wareham was Curator of Maritime & Community History at the Museum of London Docklands until 2014.  He is now a part-time lecturer at the University of Westminster, and also lectures on a freelance basis.  He has appeared on numerous television documentaries and is the author of a number of books, including 'The Star Captains' (2001); 'Frigate Commander' (2004); 'Reading the London, Sugar & Slavery Gallery at the Museum of London Docklands'  - Co-written with Dr Caroline Bressey (2008); 'Frigate Commander - The Supplement' (2014). He is currently working on a book on the Captain Kidd episode, and has published his first novel  'The Wapping Conspiracy' under the pen-name Richard Thomas.



11 am The Cutty Sark Pub just five minutes east of the Naval College,

4-6 Ballast Quay
SE10 9PD



£10 for the lecture plus the cost of the light lunch / finger buffet afterwards

Numbers are strictly limited so please book early


Further Reading

Sadly there is currently  no modern reliable history of the Port of London.  There are a couple of rather unreliable books, which I won't mention, so until something better comes along, the two best sources are as follows:


London's Docks. John Pudney (1975) - brief, but very readable.

The History of the Port of London. Sir Joseph Broodbank.  (1921) - two volumes, rather dated and misses out some crucial elements, but now available as both a paperback and online as an e-reader.

Some links to get you in the mood

Tom Wareham talks about the West India Docks.