How you can be part of events celebrating the history of the Royal Docks

Two events are being staged as part of a special festival to celebrate the history of the Royal Docks, writes Colin Grainger.

And local people with a passion for history are being given the chance to not only enjoy but take part in the events.

Newham is one of the Museum of London Docklands primary audiences and they are developing links with communities there. Their collection also relates strongly to the history of the Royal Dock area, as well as the area around the West and East India docks.

Heritage Newham also hopes to be taking part in the celebrations..

As part of the Royal Docks Join the Docks festival running between now and the end of September, the museum is hosting two ‘local history’ family days. The first is a family history festival at the museum on Sunday September 22.

  • The Museum of London Docklands

Marina Spiteri, the Museum’s Learning Co-Ordinator, explained: “We are working with three community performance groups to put together a dance and drama performance based around the history of the Royal Docks, which will form the centrepiece of the days.

“Our Visitor Experience team are also delivering tours of our museum building (an old warehouse).”

  *  Compressor House in the Royal Docks

On Sunday September 29, the community groups will also be performing at Compressor House on the Royal Albert Docks.

Marina added: “We hope to make this a larger scale event and bring lots of local heritage and community groups together to showcase the rich history of the area to families. This will involve some family craft activities, object handling opportunities and other performance pieces. On both days, we are also hoping to bring some local history groups into the museum to talk about their work and introduce their work to families in a fun and entertaining way.”

Anyone wants to take part in the events is asked to contact Marina by email at or drop her a call on (020) 7001 9816.

The Museum of Docklands is open to ideas about how any groups would like to be involved in either events. This could be by bringing some objects or archives in to show on a stall at the museum, running a game or activity for families throughout the day, a performance piece at Compressor House.

We are also considering having a local community group at the Compressor House event to sell homemade cakes/ teas & coffees for their charities, if anyone is interested.

More details of the programmes will be revealed closer to the events, so that visitors know what exactly is going on and when.

Our website (

The Join the Docks website (

Join the Docks is the Royal Docks’ summer festival.

From now until September, everyone is invited to explore the area’s beautiful water, parks, outdoor spaces, and venues through three months of special events.

More on the two September events:

Our Docks: local history family fun

Sunday September 22, 12 to 4pm

Location: Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay, No.1 Warehouse, Hertsmere Rd, London E14 4AL

Join everyone at the Museum of London Docklands, housed inside a magnificent Grade I listed sugar warehouse on West India Quay, to voyage through the rich history of London’s docks at this family fun day.

Explore our diverse galleries to discover the changing landscape of the docklands area and its people. Watch the past dance before your eyes in captivating local community group performances inspired by the museum collection, be enthralled by tales from the docks, join a family tour to discover the secrets of our impressive building and get creative with crafts at this vibrant local history day for the whole family.

Our Docks: Compressor House community history event

Sunday September 29, 1 to 4pm

Location: Compressor House, Dockside Rd, Royal Docks, London E16 2QU

Visit Compressor House, a historic building not usually open to the public, originally built as a refrigerated storage facility in 1914. Discover the history of the site, and learn about how the development of refrigeration technology created new opportunities for the goods that could be imported into London.

This community event will be full of exciting activities for the whole family to enjoy led by the Museum of London Docklands. Enjoy captivating performances by local community groups bringing the past to life, hold history in your hands with objects from the museum collection and get creative in workshops for the whole family.


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