Meet the merchants, sailors & pirates who transformed the port of London.

This gallery tells the story of how ships sailed from London to India and China and brought back cargoes of spices, tea and silk.

Dockers got hooked on their work. To unload awkward cargo, dockworkers used hooks like this one, sliding them under ropes.

It took over 100 days to sail to India in the 1700s. Ships had to travel around the south coast of Africa, powered only by the winds and tides.

Before the docks were built, human-powered treadmill cranes were used to haul cargoes. Walking in a crane's treadmill was one of the most tiring and dangerous jobs on the legal quays.