Canary Wharf Reflections
I was in Canary Wharf in August 2006 for a wedding reception when I shot this one
Some light history:
In Medieval times, the Isle of Dogs was known as Stepney Marsh and in the 13th Century was drained to support meadows and pastures as well as cornfield.
The name Isle of Dogs supposedly came about because there were royal kennels in the area.
In the late 1500's, the Port of London was alive with activity, trade was expanding and Docklands became a point of departure for merchant ventures - in 1620 the Mayflower set sail from Rotherhithe to America.
In 1802 the West India Docks opened and were considered to be the country's greatest civil engineering structure of its day.
The great stretch of docks from St. Katharine's by the Tower of London, past Surrey Commercial Docks, through the East and West Indies and the Royal Docks to Barking was the world's largest port. These docks grew and developed over 200 years.
Growth was particularly fast in the 19th Century. It was an area which enjoyed a unique lifestyle based on the growth and prosperity of traditional port activities including ship repair, heavy engineering, food processing, warehousing and distribution. Industries grew up based on the import of raw materials such as tobacco, timber and animal skins.
By the 1930's the Port of London carried 35 million tons of cargo, worth approximately £700m carried by 55,000 ship movements and served by more than 10,000 lighters.
100,000 dockers and ancillary workers were dependent on the Port of London Authority (PLA) for employment, of whom over 30,000 were actually employed by the PLA itself.
1961 saw the peak year for the docks when over 60 million tons of cargo was handled.
New technology and containerisation meant that London Docklands couldn't keep up with its competitors and by the early 1970's most of the docks had closed - West India Dock closed in 1980.
In 1971 the PLA employed 6,000 people and only 3,000 by 1981.
Between 1966 and 1976 the five London Docklands boroughs lost 150,000 jobs. This represented 20% of all jobs in the area. This can be compared to 2% for the whole of Great Britain.
The Port of London Authority closed the East India Dock in 1967 and St. Katharine and London Docks in 1968.
During the 1970's there was massive disinvestment in Docklands as businesses closed or moved away with the progressive closure of the dock system.
Between 1978 and 1980 the PLA closed the West India and Millwall Docks.
The London Docklands Development Corporation ( www.lddc-history.org.uk ) was created by the local Government Planning and Land Act 1980.
Docklands Light Railway opened. London City Airport opened. Canary Wharf contract signed. The Newham Compact signed. Daily Telegraph and Guardian move from Fleet Street to the Isle of Dogs
Construction begins at Canary Wharf.