One of the many fascinating exhibits is on the topic of punishment for piracy. Of course, pirates had to die for their crimes, but the extreme methods of execution were designed to deter further would-be pirates from contemplating similar acts.
This chain was found in 1920 when the the area of the Execution Dock in Wapping was dredged. The chain was used to hang a body from a stake in the river for three tides after the execution. Behind the chain is a receipt for the delivery of pirates to the Execution Dock, dated 10 May 1762.
Taken from the stake, the lifeless pirate's body was tarred (for preservation?), stood in an iron gibbet cage, and hung in the river until it rotted away.
Apparently, it was quite a sight to see a row of "gibbet tassles" swaying over the water. Horrifying, I would think.
The museum is in a sugar warehouse built in 1802 on the West India Docks, Isle of Dogs, east London.
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