Tobacco Dock – from Victorian warehouse to East London event space

Tobacco Dock is the master of versatility. In two centuries it has gone from warehousing luxury goods from the New World to the backdrop to music videos, from Victorian wine tours to shopping centre. Its most recent incarnation, as London’s most dynamic and creative events venue, is its most exciting yet.

Abandoned for 25 years, Tobacco Dock was launched as an events venue in 2012 and its rise to be become one of London’s most in demand event spaces has been stratospheric. In just seven years, it has hosted more than 1,500 events and welcomed 500,000 visitors a year through its iconic gates.

Plenary session in the Great Gallery


When Jonathan Read and Patrick Donovan first saw Tobacco Dock in 2010, they immediately saw the potential in the beautiful building and in the exciting wider area of East London. Significant investment in the building opened up large spaces for conferences and created an outstanding user experience. The Tobacco Dock team began with just four members and now stands at over 100 covering guest services, sales and marketing, event operations, facilities management, in-house catering and AV/technical production.

With 57 event spaces arranged over 16,000 sqm, the magic of Tobacco Dock lies in the juxtaposition of its immense tech infrastructure and provision for modern events, with its rich history and architectural detail, adding instant atmosphere and character to every event.

Tobacco Dock’s new Tasting Room


2020 sees the next phase of development for this iconic venue, with a £10m programme already underway. A brand-new tasting room joins its second production kitchen, enabling the in-house catering team to produce menus for up to 4,000 diners on site. The Tasting Room provides a beautifully designed, high-spec space for clients to test menus and hold small meetings. Clients benefit from the newly landscaped Quayside entrance that can be branded, complete with a 50 sqm living wall and seating areas with lush planting.

The Tobacco Dock team have also created a further space on the Gallery Courtyard. Architect-designed to fit seamlessly within the Grade 1 listed building, the clever use of glass means that guests can still enjoy the architecture and character of the venue while staying cosy in the winter months.

Winter Pavilion


The Vaults level has also seen significant investment, with refurbishment of the original York stone floors, smart lighting and digital signage. Event organisers will also benefit from the brand-new magnetic fascias, allowing for quick and cost-effective branding installation.

Tobacco Dock is placing an increased significance on sustainability, both in its day-to-day operations and for the events it hosts. As the first ever venue to achieve Green Mark status, the team has set ambitious targets on sustainability – working towards being able to offer clients green options for every element of their event. They partnered with OLIO to deliver a zero-food-waste event at Alteryx Inspire Europe last October, for instance.

The Tobacco Dock team are also assessing a raft of innovative sustainability initiatives including photo-voltaic cells on the roof for solar-powered electricity, a battery storage system for excess electricity and rainwater harvesting to provide water for loo flushing and plant irrigation.

To find out how other organisers have grown their events at Tobacco Dock and to discuss your plans and ideas, call Tobacco Dock sales team on: 020 7680 4001.

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