There Tobacco Warehouse.) Because of the historical

There is a Tobacco Dock on Pennington street in Wapping
area, London. Tobacco Warehouse, As the name suggests, it was the place used to
import and store tobaccos. The history of this dock located in East End London
began about 200 years ago, and it is still in progress. (However even it has
been around for over 200 years, it is not one of London’s most well-known
tourist attractions, such as Big Ben and London Eye. There were times of
darkness that had been empty for a long time, with the beginning as a warehouse,
later as a composite shop, and as a cultural space, with different roles for
each period. Nevertheless, the fact that construction has come together from a
community of cities as a necessary place for the local people of each age city,
beyond the value and history it has, and how famous the landmark is, is what I
want to focus about the Tobacco Warehouse.) Because of the historical
significance of these Tobacco Docks, I would like to describe this
landmark.  In the following report, I
will mark the function of the Tobacco Dock in its early days and see why it was
built. Additionally, I will look how the purpose of the Tobacco Dock has
changed until present and state about the interesting stories associated with
this landmark.

 

Queen’s tobacco pipe

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The word ‘Queen’ s Tobacco pipe ‘ was a common name for a
furnace in the northeastern corner of the cigarette store, according to
Chambers’ Twentieth Century Dictionary and this name has been used to refer to
the Tobacco Warehouse. Even in these days, London Tobacco Dock is still marked
when searching for the queen’s smoking pipe on an online map. So let’s talk
about how the Tobacco Warehouse was constructed, and the historical background
that had to be made. The tobacco warehouse was built in 1811-14 and was
designed by an architect and surveyor Daniel Asher Alexander. He created an
elegant symmetrical glass roof with a combination of wood and glass, using the
latest technology of the time. Besides, the amazing thing about Tobacco Dock
was not only technology but also its size. In the book Industry in the
Landscape; 1700-1900, author Marilyn Palmer says that the size of the Tobacco
Dock originally covered 210,000 square feet. One soccer stadium is 64,000
square feet approximately. In comparison, the area of the warehouse is
exceeding three soccer fields.

 

Then, why did set up such a massive Tobacco Warehouse in
London Docks? This can be seen by looking at the changes in British tobacco
consumption that occurred before the 1850s. In 1845, Joseph Baker compared his
tobacco consumption from the 1790s to 1830s in his book Smoking & Smokers,
an antiquarian, historical, comical, veritable and narcotics disquisition.

Based on the table in his book, the consumption of cigarettes, which was
8,152,185 lbs in 1789, nearly doubled to 15,170,719 lbs in 1830. This increase
in tobacco consumption has led to a rise in imports of cigarettes at major
ports in London and Liverpool. Also, compared with 1789, the tax on tobacco
from 1830 increased nearly sixfold from £ 408,047 to £ 2,309,287. The British
government needed to improve tobacco imports for their financing. That is the
reason why the Tobacco Dock was made in large scale using the latest technology
at that time.

 

The Darkness of
Warehouse

However, the prosperity of this Tobacco Warehouse had not
been forever. The Tobacco Dock also collapsed with the overall decline of the
London Docklands. With the outbreak of World War II, the massive bombing of the
German army occurred in London, and so many docks in London also suffered
extreme damage. How the destruction the London Docks experienced was so severe
appeared in Brian C. Edwards’ book ‘London Docklands: Urban Design in
Deregulated Times.’ During the war periods, from 1939 to 1945, more than 25,000
bombs fell on the London Docklands. This accident had caused severe damage to
many London docks, including West India, Surrey Docks and London Docks.

However, this loss was not easily restored after the war ended. There was
another reason behind this decline of London Docklands. Brian C. Edwards’ book
‘London Docklands: Urban Design in Deregulated Times’ describes the decline of
the London Docklands due to containerisation in 1965. With the damage from the
bombs and the development of technology, the collapse of the London Docklands
began. Eventually, during the next few years, London’s significant docks closed
one after another, and finally, London Docks closed in 1968. Due to the closure
of London Docks, the Tobacco Warehouse also lost its function naturally and had
been left as an empty place about a decade.

 

Covent Garden of East
End London

The Tobacco Warehouse, which had been forgotten for decades,
was transformed into a new role in the 1990s. It has been converted into a
complex shopping centre utilising the vast Tobacco Docks site. Its size was
three times that of Covent Garden. The Tobacco warehouse newly departed as a
big shopping mall with a large parking lot and new facilities. With an enormous
capital investment, Tobacco Dock was planned for aiming to be the Covent Garden
in East End London. However, the transformation of these Tobacco Docks did not
last for long and failed miserably. Although we do not know clear reasons why
Tobacco shopping centre was failed, the conversion of the Tobacco Docks failed
due to the economic downturn of British in the early 1990s recession and the
weak transport link environment in the Wapping area. And again the Tobacco Dock
remained vacant space.

 

Statue of Jamrach’s
tiger

However, not only for sad history but also Tobacco Docks has
interesting stories. At the north entrance of Tobacco Warehouse, there is a
bronze sculpture that looks like a tiger and a boy. This statue entwines
anecdotes that occurred near the old Tobacco warehouse. It was the 1850s. At
that time, trading unusual and exotic animals was a highly profitable business.

And among those animal merchants, there was a famous merchant named Charles
Jamrach. He was known to many people because he traded a variety of wild
animals such as crocodiles, tigers, elephants. And his shop was located to the
near this Tobacco Warehouse. One day, however, the Bengal tiger, which the
merchant had been trying to trade, escaped from a cage. Many people on the
street ran away to avoid the tiger, but a young boy, John Wade, misunderstood
for a big cat because he had never seen a tiger. The tiger caught this boy who
was trying to touch the tiger’s nose. Jamrach, who realised the fact that he
had lost the tiger, followed a trace of the tiger. Finally, he found the tiger
and hit the tiger’s jaw with his bare hand and saved the boy safely. Later, the
tiger was trapped inside the iron until the collector bought it, and the boy
survived without major injury. For commemorating this story, a memorial statue
was set up in front of the Tobacco warehouse. One of the interesting things in
here is that the sculpture is well depicted even if we only look at the boy’s
back, we can fully appreciate the enormous curiosity that the boy has with the
tiger.

 

London Olympic

There is another charming story about the London Dock’s
Tobacco Warehouse. It is related to the 2012 London Olympics. At the time, a
large number of soldiers were involved in the London Olympics. The impressive
part is that more than 2,500 soldiers were staying at the Tobacco Dock when the
Olympic season. In other words, the Tobacco Dock was transformed into a
military base containing restaurants for thousands of soldiers to eat and
facilities for rest and restoration. These anecdotes about the Tobacco Dock
have seen above make the landmark more valuable.

 

Present of Tobacco Dock

Through these upheavals, the Tobacco Dock is now being used as a cultural
space. It is utilized as a studio for broadcasting, and various events such as
Christmas and Halloween are held every season. It is also managed as a cultural
space for music performances, art exhibitions, and renting for individuals or
groups. From the warehouse of tobacco, complex shopping centre, soldier base,
and finally to the cultural space, Wapping’s Tobacco Dock has long been a
landmark in London.