1920s: London Ivory Merchants

21 October 1924 - At the Port of London Authority's ivory store, London Docks Mammoth tusks and ivory from Siberia.

(c) TopFoto


The arrival point into London for elephant ivory was, together with other high-value cargoes, St Katharine's Dock. From St Katharine's it was transported to Ivory House, and from Ivory House, the ivory was sold onto to both overseas traders and across Britain.  Finally, it was formed into billiard balls, piano keys, cutlery handles and other items.

This trade and the underlying hunting of elephants for ivory had a devastating effect on the African elephant population in Africa.  From an estimated 26 million in 1800, it has dropped to under one million today.  The danger remains  - from illegal poaching.

The docklands area was heavily bombed in WWII.  Ivory House, however, survived and is now high-end apartments, shops, cafes and restaurants.


  1927: Ivory Merchants at the London Dock   (c)  TopFoto

1927: Ivory Merchants at the London Dock

(c) TopFoto

18th January 1927: Ivory Merchants at the London Docks awaiting sale .

(c) TopFoto

1922: Messrs Myers and Company

(c) TopFoto

1922: Messrs Myers and Company

(c) TopFoto

1922: At Messrs Myers and Company, Ivory Merchants, Tower Hill Measuring a giant tusk .

(c) TopFoto

  1922 - Weighing the Ivory   (c)  TopFoto

1922 - Weighing the Ivory

(c) TopFoto

 1922 - At the Port of London Authority's ivory store, London docks. 

(c) TopFoto



Enjoyed this capsule? Please show your support by donating to Retronaut below:

Donate to Retronaut

 Text and curation: Amanda Uren



MORE CAPSULES: