The London Docklands, previously known as the Port of London, was for centuries the principal centre of the British seaborne trade. But later, in the 20th century, many of its docks and manufacturing plants were either abandoned or occupied by the then new commercial and residential developments. The Dockland covering approximately 22 square km, is the area in London along River Thames bordering the Newham, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, and the Greenwich districts.
Even though the London river was much broader and shallower during the Roman rule, relatively small boats of the time could comfortably cruise and harbour along the fortified riverbank. However in 1066 after the Norman Conquest, the port’s wealth attracted Norse invaders which drastically improved its external trade. But between the 12th and 14th century, the Embankment of the river (east of the London Bridge) was carried out and more than were 110 square km of land at the Deptford, Rotherhithe, and the Isle of Dogs boroughs reclaimed.
By the late 18th Century, London was among the world’s busiest and developed ports with the promising maritime industry limited to quays and wharves along the river. The establishment of the Docklands at Wapping transformed the small riverside village into a busy port. As a result, theft from the cargo ships began which led to the establishment of the first Thames Police force in 1978. A revolution was, therefore, necessary for the improvement of the shipping trade, and it led to the start of the enclosed docks.
The plan covered the London’s Wapping, and West India’s Isle of Dogs Docks. In early 1979, however, a group of merchants, bankers, and shippers established the London Dock Company which solely ran the business for about 21 years. The Company dealt with tobacco, rice, wine, and brandy among other products. It managed all the vessels except those from the West and East of India.
During the World War II, German leaders destroyed the port with its transit sheds, warehouses, factories, and utilities in the conquest to disrupt Britain’s command. The Royal Docks suffered a loss of approximately 25,000 tons of ammunition some of which fell on the Docklands, with much of the rest falling on the surrounding area. But despite the bombardment, the Royal Docks remained open. The attack led to food shortages and rationing in Britain even though they pulled through with the help from the dockland.
Later, in mid-1981, a corporation named the London Docklands Development began, which started the creation of Canary Wharf as we know it today and built The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) was built. In 1988 Construction began on building Canary Wharf district, and Britains tallest building at the time One Canada Square was completed. At this moment the Shard completed in 2010 stands taller in London Bridge. the district has changed hands numerous times due to bankruptcy even though it hosts most of the worlds major banks.
Due to the jobs created in Canary Wharf, the Isle of Dogs has seen an explosion in properties building built and rented out using Airbnb or traditional long-term methods. Canary Wharf continues to rapidly expand and it’s not expected to slow down any time soon. Especially with the Crossrail coming to the Docklands area in 2018, providing access to Heathrow in under 30 mins. The construction project named Crossrail will be called the Elizabeth Line upon completion. In 2014, Canary Wharf group had been given permission to expand towards the east allowing the creation of 30 extra buildings, which will be both commercial and residential