Traders: the East India Company & Asia

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Essential information

Opening times: 
10.00–17.00 daily
National Maritime Museum, First floor, Traders gallery

Find out about Britain’s maritime trade with Asia in the Traders: the East India Company and Asia gallery at the National Maritime Museum.

For over 250 years, the East India Company shaped trade between Britain and Asia, becoming enormously wealthy in the process and even taking on pirates with its own navy.

This gallery looks at the commodities the company traded, the people who shaped its tumultuous career and the conflicts and rebellions that were its ultimate undoing, as well as its continuing impact on the world today.

About the gallery

The gallery features Japanese, Chinese and Burmese swords; beautifully crafted ship models and navigational instruments; Nelson’s Japan-pattern breakfast service; medals, journals and portraits of key figures in the company’s history.

Visit and find out about how the East India Company brought exciting new spices to Britain, how the fabrics it imported shaped fashions, and how tea was transformed from a luxury to a national pastime. Also discover the company’s involvement in the drug trade, resulting in two wars with China.

Find out more

Learn more about the impact of the East India Company

See our opium pipe