"The new East India Docks at Blackwall, are now ready for the reception of shipping."
"The sluices of the floating gate were opened on the 26th of July, in the presence of the chairman, deputy chairman, and several other directors of the East India Company. These docks consist of an entrance bason, of nearly three acres; a dock for inward bound Indiamen, of nearly 18 acres; a dock for loading outward-bound Indiamen, of nearly nine acres, making together about 30 acres; there is an entrance lock, and two communication locks, capable of admitting the largest Indiamen, and his majesty's ships of war, of 74 guns. The depth of water at ordinary spring tides, is 26 feet. The whole premises are surrounded by a boundary wall 21 feet high; the quays are very spacious, being no less than 240 feet wide."
(Unattributed article, ca. 1806)
On the Fourth of August the East India Docks at Blackwall were opened with great ceremony. The Earl Camden, from the gallant defence made last year against Linois, by her Commodore Sir Nathaniel Dance, and also from her magnitude (being 1200 tons), was fixed upon as the first ship to enter the Dock; but the strong westerly wind which prevailed prevented her from getting from Long Reach in time. The Admiral Gardner, Captain Saltwell, (her rival in fame, in some degree, from having so bravely beat off the Bellona French frigate of 44 guns), was therefore the vessel substituted to lead, which she did accordingly at the appointed time of two o'clock, on Monday, the 4th of August, under a salute of artillery, and amidst the cheers and plaudits of upwards of 12000 persons who were assembled. The beautiful Trinity Yacht, most elegantly decorated with flags of different nations with whom we are in amity, preceded, and acted the part of Master of Ceremonies, taking her station at the middle buoy. The Chairman, Deputy, and Directors of the Dock Company, several of his Majesty's Ministers, and other personages invited, assembled in the first instance at Mr. Wells' house, and proceeded across the ship-yard, in order to embark on-board the Admiral Gardner, stationed ready in the Entrance-bason. The City of London was the second vessel; then the Lady Castlereagh, and Surry, all decked with flags in the best manner that the shortness of time limited would permit. When the Admiral Gardner was safely moored at the north corner of the Dock, near the sumptuous Entrance gateway, in which was hoisted the Royal standard, &c. Lords Howick, Grenville, Spencer, Moira, General Fitzpatrick, and the Directors (mostly elder Brethren), went on-board the Trinity Yacht, and partook of an elegant cold collation that was prepared for them. The East India Company's second regiment of Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Thellusson, attended, as likewise the flank companies of the other two regiments, and were stationed along the south quay: the artillery, which was extremely well served, was placed in the centre: the feu de joie at the conclusion, was also very correct and much applauded. Above 500 gentlemen's carriages, filled with beauty and fashion, were admitted; and three sheds, where the goods are to be landed, were temporarily covered over and fitted up for accommodating the ladies who had tickets for seats; and more select accommodation was prepared at the top of the Road Entrance-gateway for ladies of distinction and the nobility, from whence they had a fine view of the ceremony, and of the beautiful country and interesting objects around them at a great distance.
This magnificent and substantial piece of workmanship, for the exclusive accommodation of all the India shipping, was finished in less than three years, under the direction of Mr. John Rennie and Mr. Ralph Walker, engineers.