Robert Milligan statue

Black and white sketch of Robert Milligan's statueStatue of Robert Milligan, West India merchant and Chairman of the West India Docks.

Robert Milligan (c1746–1809), was the son of plantation owning family in the Caribbean.  In 1780 he journeyed to London to set up his own merchant house.

He soon became a member of the Committee of West India Merchants and Planters,  and in October 1796 he was elected to a committee set up by them to investigate the deficiencies of the port of London. Also on the committee were George Hibbert, Beeston Long, William Vaughan and other West India merchants and plantation owners.

The Committee soon devised  a scheme for a system of off-river dock basins at Wapping for the benefit of all the port’s trades and began lobbying the government for legislation to enable the building of the docks. In November 1797, however, a group of the West India merchants led by Milligan and George Hibbert, broke away intent on building a dock system exclusive to the West Indies trade, on the Isle of Dogs.

Hibbert became the first Chairman, and Milligan succeeded him. This statue by Richard Westmacott was commissioned by the West India Dock Company after Milligan’s death in 1809.

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