Skip to main content Skip to footer

Port and River Archive

The Port and River Archive is made up of a number of archive collections relating to the Port of London and River Thames, with a strong focus on the Docklands area. The archive is housed at the Museum of London Docklands.

Dockers at London Dock transporting sugar bags, 1920

Dockers at London Dock transporting sugar bags, 1920

© Port of London Authority and Museum of London

Due to on-going recruitment, the Port and River Archive is temporarily closed for enquiries and research access. The service is expected to re-open in Summer 2023.

The largest of the collections in the Port and River Archive, is the Port of London Authority Archive. A number of smaller collections are also held at the Museum including:

  • British Ports Association
  • Docklands Forum
  • Joint Docklands Action Group (JDAG research guide and finding aid)
  • Scruttons plc collection
  • Thames Rice Milling Co.
  • Thames Stevedoring Co.

The Port and River Archive also contains a number of small donations from individuals associated with the River Thames and Docklands area.

Please note: the Archive does not contain details of individual ships, crews and merchants using the Port of London.

Depositing material in the Port and River Archive

If you wish to donate an item to the archive please email [email protected] giving a detailed description of the object (preferably with a photograph) and relevant background information, e.g. how you acquired the item.

Museum staff are not able to accept unsolicited donations by post or in person, and will take steps to return them. Please get in touch with us before you plan a visit to drop any material off, to ensure it is material we would be able to take, and that someone will be available to see you.

We are primarily interested in collecting material that fills gaps in the existing private dock company and Port of London Authority collections, i.e. material which was created or collected by these bodies.

Please note that objects and one-off pieces of ephemera should be offered to the Museum and will be assessed by a curator rather than the Archivist.

Port and River Library

The Library, based at Museum of London Docklands, is formed largely from the collection of the Port of London Authority, and consists of around 8,000 volumes. It covers topics such as the Port of London, East London, shipping, the Thames and the transatlantic slave trade. The collection also contains various journals ranging from publications of local history to specialist publications like Mariner's Mirror.


The archive collections are still in the process of being catalogued. As such no catalogue is available publically. If you are interested in using the Port and River Archive for research, please contact the Archivist.

How to access the Port and River Archive