vastly increasing importance of the Colonial wool trade for some years
past has induced the directors of the London Dock Company to enlarge
very considerably the warehouse appropriated to the reception of this
article, and to provide therein long ranges of glass roofing, whereby
most superior accommodation is gained on all the floors for the
advantageous inspection of wool when placed on show.
The accompanying view of a portion of the interior exhibits the convenient adaptation of the floors for stowing and shewing wool. The public sales of wool occur every six weeks, and are attended by dealers and manufacturers from Yorkshire and other counties, as also by buyers from the Continent.
Every bale, when on show, is Inspected by drawing out a portion of wool, which, after examination, is thrown on the floor; which to a stranger has a most extraordinary appearance, so much lying on the gangways, that the parties inspecting it frequently walk knee deep in loose wool.
The sales of wool in the London Dock warehouses alone vary in quantity from 15,000 to 25,000 bales at one time. The machinery employed is capable of housing 3000 daily; and the accommodation for delivery will admit 1500 to be disposed of in one day. These operations give employment to 200 men, exclusive of clerks and foremen. The importation of wool annually at the London Docks is 130,000 bales, the value of which is £2,600,000.
|The wool warehouses and show floors in this [London Docks] and the St.
Katharine Dock are the largest in London, and are not only in close
proximity to the City, but have direct telegraphic communication over
special wires with the Wool Exchange in Coleman-street. The wool
warehouses form a great group by themselves, the separate houses being
connected by numerous bridges, and occupying no less than 6½ acres of
ground, with a floor area of about 28 acres. They embrace the E
Warehouse in the St. Katharine Dock, and the Crescent, New Wing, New
Warehouse, West Quay Shed, No. 7 Warehouse, and North-East Shed in the
London Dock, the last of these being set apart for low-class wools.
They are fitted both externally and internally with elaborate hydraulic
machinery for housing and delivering the wool, as well as with reading,
writing, and refreshment rooms, lavatories, &c., for the
convenience of the trade, and being carefully constructed with a view
to the securing the much desiderated northern light, enable the wool to
be seen to the best advantage. They can house at one time 100,000
bales, and show simultaneously 24,000 bales. The Crescent Warehouse,
moreover, in the London Docks is in direct railway communication with
the import sheds of the Victoria Dock, from which the new arrivals of
wool can thus be transferred at a single operation. The following table
will show the total number of bales allotted for public sale in the
wool warehouses of this company, with the corresponding totals for the
whole of London at three years intervals for the last 17 years: