There’s a corner of docklands that is forever nightime, where boats are mended, a pub serves no one, and shops sell nothing – and now it’s festive time.

This is Sailor Town, a recreation of a typical Georgian street that can be found, incongruously, on the second floor of an old warehouse — now the Museum of London Docklands.

This ramshackle London district centred around Wapping, Shadwell & Ratcliffe and has now been given a festive makeover with a Dickens twist.

If I were being pedantic, I might note that the Christmas trees shouldn’t be there – as while they were increasingly popular, at the time that Sailortown is set, in the 1840s, they were still the preserve of the rich.

In fact, it was probably not until 1906 that the residents of Sailortown would have seen a Christmas tree in their home, when The Poor Children’s Yuletide Association was set up to distribute trees and presents to the poor.

Today, the festive Sailortown is also home to St Nicholas, better known as Father Christmas, for a Victorian Grotto, where children can meet Santa in his modern post Coca-Cola red cloak.


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  1. E says:

    Another fascinating insight!

  2. Kat says:

    Interesting, but I rather hate it when Santa’s red coat is attributed to Coca-cola, he was depicted in red regularly during the Victorian era (as well as white, green and other colours), plenty of drawings of him in red in Victorian Christmas cards.

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