Age of Discovery and Naval Conquest

The Thames Museum exhibition will focus on eight major themes:

-  The Thames Museum Experience 
-  Dockers’ Experience
-  Personal Items and Stories 
-  War through the Ages 

Eight Galleries - Eight Different Experiences

The museum exhibition will focus on eight major themes: The Pudding Lane Experience, Dockers’ Experience, Age of Discovery and Naval Conquest , War through the Ages, Trades along the Thames, Largest Port in the World, Personal Items and Stories, The Thames Museum, Experience

Thames Museum Experience


War Through the Ages: The River Thames has been a battlefield for over 2000 years. Prehistoric flint hand axes and arrowheads, Roman, Viking, Saxon and Medieval swords, spears, axes and Tudor cannons, cannonballs, musket balls, WWII anti-aircraft ammunition shells, guns, grenades, shrapnel, bullets, military badges, buttons, medals, etc. have been found in the Thames. This gallery will be brought to life with metal statues and multi-media illustrations of the different warriors throughout the history of the Thames.

Personal Items and Stories

Dockers' Experience

Largest Port in the World

War Through the Ages

Pudding Lane Experience: The ambition of the museum is to use key artifacts to tell important storylines in the history of London and the River Thames. This will create an authentic and informative experience that is tangible for the visitor.  For instance, by using a humble traders’ token issued by Brian Appleby, a Vintner in the famous Pudding Lane, dated 1657, the museum will show what life was like in that part of London.  It will show that this narrow, dense lane was known not only for its bakeries but also for its filth, smell, urban squalor and disease. Actually, the street was probably named after the puddings (a medieval name for offal) which would fall from carts coming down the lane from the butchers in Eastcheap. More importantly in historic terms, the exhibition will show how the Great Fire of London, which devastated most of the city, started a few doors down from Mr Appleby in a bakery owned by Thomas Farriner. It will explain why the fire was able to spread so quickly. Visitors will be able to wander down this famous lane and see for themselves how artifacts like these can give important clues to the life and history of this famous street.

Personal Items & Stories:  This exhibition will showcase items dropped in the river both intentionally and unintentionally such as pilgrim and secular badges, ampullae, pewter toys, toy clocks, cannons, toy soldiers, rings, buttons, buckles, cuff links, wig curlers, nit combs, jewellery, pins, clay pipes, Hindu offerings, syphillus syringes, thimbles, marbles, dice, gaming pieces, etc. The objects will tell the story of their maker, buyer, owner and finder.

Trades along the Thames

Dockers’ Experience: Like a time capsule, this exhibition will transport you back to the great Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian maritime periods when London was the capital of a vast empire and the River Thames was the vital lifeline between Great Britain and its colonies. The interior fit out of this gallery would simulate the character of the old Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian docklands and be inspired by the busy wharves, bustling shipbuilding yards and crowded warehouses so the museum visitor can see, smell and touch the history.  

Thames Museum Experience:  The museum will be the training ground for the foreshore experiences with a glass floor with river finds underneath, troughs with typical foreshore finds to handle, a mud-running experience, interactive displays and teaching aids. The strategy is to offer a widely different museum experience where the visitor actively participates in finding and identifying artifacts from the River Thames foreshore. It's archaeology for everyone! The innovative ‘Hands on History’ approach will make the museum an exciting and enriching experience for the whole family. One visit will not be enough!

Age of Discovery and Naval Conquest: This exhibition will focus on the River Thames as the starting point for monumental voyages of discovery and conquest – Sir Walter Raleigh sailing from Blackwall, the Mayflower sailing from Rotherhithe, Francis Drake circumnavigating the world and knighted aboard the Golden Hind by Elizabeth I in Deptford, James Cook sailing from Wapping to Australia, Henry VIII’s naval base in Deptford, etc.

Pudding Lane Experience

Trades along the Thames:  As a source of water, fish and good transportation links, the River Thames has provided an ideal location for businesses and trades of all types. Fish markets, slaughterhouses, ship builders, ship breakers, pottery factories (Limehouse, Fulham, Southwark), whaling industry (Greenland Dock), timber industry (Surrey Docks), breweries (Chiswick), etc. were located along the river. Coinage used in London-based trading such as lead tokens, traders tokens and coins will be integrated into the exhibit as well as local pottery from Kingston-upon-Thames, Bellarmine jugs from Fulham, Delftware (tin glaze) from Southwark, etc.

Largest Port in the World: For centuries, London was the largest port in the world importing and exporting goods around the globe – tea, coffee, sugar, tobacco, cloth, spices, mutton, industrial equipment, etc. In early London, the Celts, Romans, Vikings and Saxons also traded internationally. Evidence of the flourishing international trade is still apparent on the Thames foreshore.  This exhibition focuses on the commerce artifacts such as Bellarmine jugs, Westerwald tankards, cloth and bag seals, Roman amphorae, Samian ware, German and French jetons, etc. 

-  Age of Discovery and Naval Conquest​
-  ​Largest Port in the World  
-  Trades along the Thames  
-  The Pudding Lane Experience