Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Docklands Museum Inspires Nostalgia for Lost Identity

August 24, 2009 · 1 Comment

It is hard to believe that a century ago, London was the center of the world of the international trade of physical goods. Not only was the London area one of the most productive manufacturers of goods in the world, but the London harbor was likely the single most important hub for international trade. It should probably come as a shock then that the London today deals with a fraction of a percent in goods that it once did. When I took visited the tour to the Docklands museum, I was struck by an extreme nostalgia for the London and also Great Britain that was actively engaged in the world market. While there were things that the British were not proud of (the list of all the slave ships that passed through London with the names of their owners and contributors was especially powerful), there was definite evidence that there was more than one British person who was disappointed with the London of today. In one corner of the exhibit, there was a map of the global trade routes that also indicated those that were most in use. In the center of the map (thanks to the British discovery of Longitude), sat London, the center for all of these goods being shipped from around the world. It should come as not shock then, when authors such as A.N. Wilson are openly hostile to the London of the 21st century, kept afloat by its massive tourist market.

Categories: Paul

1 response so far ↓

  •   russella // Aug 25th 2009 at 04:36

    I never thought about it that way, but as a national identity it must be quite painful to realize you were once the super power of the world. It might not be to the extent of humiliation for the British, but you bring up a point which helps shed light on their tenuous relationship with tourists and Americans in particular.

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