The East India Company and East India House.
The East India Company held a monopoly on all British trade with Asia until its exclusive rights over India were ended in 1813.
The Company’s ships, known as ‘East Indiamen’, would unload their cargoes from the East Indies and China at the East India Docks, Blackwall. The imported goods included tea, cotton, silk, opium, spices and porcelain.
1829 East India House on Leadenhall Street
Once unloaded the goods were transported up Commercial Road to the Company’s warehouses on Cutler Street. The growth in popularity of tea drinking in Britain meant an enormous consumer demand. Chinese tea merchants would only accept payment in silver which depleted British reserves.
The Company financed tea imports by illegally exporting Indian opium for sale in China.
East India House Sale Room – This print shows the Old Sale Room in East India House on Leadenhall Street, in the City of London. It is taken from Rudolph Ackermann’s ‘The Microcosm of London’, a collection of coloured plates illustrating famous London buildings and interiors.
The book was an artistic collaboration between Thomas Rowlandson, who drew the figures, and Auguste Pugin, who drew the architecture. East India House was rebuilt to the design of the East India Company’s Surveyor, Richard Jupp, in 1799.
The Old Sale Room, also known as the General Court Room, had a public gallery. The Company’s chairman, secretary and clerks would sit in the area beneath the round skylight.