Wapping and the world’s biggest Victorian pet shop

By james read, guest blog author on 12 Aug 2015
baron rothschild zebra carriage

Lionel Walter Rothschild with his famed zebra carriage, which he frequently drove through London, 1895

The Ratcliff Highway, joining London’s Docklands to the City, was a wild place in the early 18th century. It was home to gin shops, shorebound sailors and Bengal tigers. The world’s biggest exotic pet shop, Jamrach’s Emporium, was located at number 164. The discerning collector could buy everything from lions for £100 to polar bears for just £25, and in the 1840s there was plenty of demand. Charles Darwin had just returned from his Galapagos-encompassing trip aboard HMS Beagle, the first touring circuses were travelling England, and advances in print technology meant zoological illustrations were the thing to have in one’s drawing room. It was the beginning of England’s great love of animals.

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A haunted city

By faye kelly, visitor services manager on 7 Nov 2014


The people who live in this ever expanding metropolis walk busily from place to place, sometimes without so much as a passing thought for the environment they find themselves in. It’s particularly easy to do this within East London’s vibrant docklands. This modern area with its towering architecture is a financial centre for the city and home to a workforce of over 90,000 people. The once imposing warehouses of London’s past can easily go unnoticed by those hard at work in the surrounding towers. Read the full postRead the full post

Our Victorian Grotto at the Museum of London Docklands opens tomorrow…

By peter strafford on 9 Dec 2011

Its that time again. December is upon us and we have another fabulous Grotto about to start at the Museum of London Docklands . No need to take my word for it though, just take a look at this tantalising glimpse of the Grotto entrance. Here is another picture too of what it looks like right in the heart of our Grotto If you want to see more and meet our Santa then book a meeting with him on 0207 0019844 or on the day here at the Museum of London Docklands. Santa’s Grotto is open daily from 10 December […]