Pictorial History of the Millwall Docks. Part 2: Early 20th Century (Pre-WWII)

In 1909, the government bought all the major docks along the Thames, and the new Port of London Authority (PLA) assumed control on 31 March 1909. The PLA created five dock groups, the West India, East India and Millwall Docks forming one of them, known as the India and Millwall Docks.

1912. Kingsbridge dock entrance. The footbridge was intended to be used by pedestrians if the swing bridge was open, but longer ships meant it always had to open at the same time as the swing bridge anyway.

At that time, the West India and Millwall Docks had no direct water connection with each other.

Various plans were proposed, but these were all interrupted by World War I.

World War I. A rare site, never repeated later in the century, female dock workers.


In 1929, work was completed on passages connecting all three West India docks, and connecting West India Docks with Millwall Docks (known as the Millwall Cutting).

The new passages are all visible in the following aerial photo:


In 1934, McDougalls built their iconic flour silo building, with its 10 cylindrical, concrete silos.


Central Granary

Central Granary grain pumps

Now you seen them….

…now you don’t.

In 1933, the PLA held its annual swimming gala in the newly-opened Millwall Cutting.

Ominously, the German team gave a nazi salute during the playing of the German national anthem.

A few years later, their compatriots would return to the Millwall Docks, intent on destroying them.

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