Located at the western end of West India Quay in Docklands, the Hibbert Gate is a smaller scale replica of an original gate that stood at the main entrance to the quay for more than 130 years.
The gate was originally installed in 1803 and was topped with a model representing an East Indiaman, the Hibbert, which was named for George Hibbert, one of the principals of the West India Dock Company (and who apparently had a financial interest in the slave trade). The ship ran between London and the West Indies before later being used to transport convicts to Australia.
The gate, which became the emblem for West India Docks and was even incorporated into the Poplar Borough Council’s coat-of-arms, was removed in 1932 due to traffic measures. The model was initially preserved and moved to the Poplar Recreation Ground but vandalism and bomb damage saw it eventually fall apart.
The replica gate, commissioned by the Canary Wharf Group and topped with a replica model by artist Leo Stevenson, was installed in the year 2000, marking 200 years since the construction of the quay.
It was unveiled on 12th July by then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. Part of the signage accompanying the gate reads that it was meant to be “memorial to the man – the replica in no way represents support for slavery”.