LONDON DOCKLANDS is the name for the riverfront and formal docks in London , capital of the United Kingdom , based around east and south east London respectively. It forms part of the boroughs of Southwark , Tower Hamlets , Lewisham , Newham and Greenwich . The docks were formerly part of the Port of London , at one time the world\'s largest port . They have now been redeveloped principally for commercial and residential use. The name LONDON DOCKLANDS was used for the first time in a government report on redevelopment plans in 1971 but has since become virtually universally adopted. It also created conflict between the new and old communities of the London Docklands.
* 1 Establishment * 2 Development * 3 20th century
* 4 Redevelopment
* 4.1 Transport * 4.2 Future developments
* 5 21st Century
* 5.1 Economy
* 6 In popular culture * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links
In Roman and medieval times, ships tended to dock at small quays in the present-day city of London or Southwark , an area known as the _Pool of London _. However, this gave no protection against the elements, was vulnerable to thieves and suffered from a lack of space at the quayside. The Howland Great Dock in Rotherhithe (built 1696 and later forming the core of the Surrey Commercial Docks ) was designed to address these problems, providing a large, secure and sheltered anchorage with room for 120 large vessels. It was a major commercial success and provided for two phases of expansion during the Georgian and Victorian eras . The first of the Georgian docks was the West India (opened 1802), followed by the London (1805), the East India (also 1805), the Surrey (1807), the Regent\'s Canal Dock (1820), St Katharine (1828) and the West India South (1829). The Victorian docks were mostly further east, comprising the Royal Victoria (1855), Millwall (1868) and Royal Albert (1880). The King George V Dock was a late addition in 1921.
Three principal kinds of docks existed. WET DOCKS were where ships were laid up at anchor and loaded or unloaded. DRY DOCKS, which were far smaller, took individual ships for repairing. Ships were built at DOCKYARDS along the riverside. In addition, the river was lined with innumerable warehouses, piers, jetties and dolphins (mooring points). The various docks tended to specialise in different forms of produce. The Surrey Docks concentrated on timber , for instance; Millwall took grain; St Katharine took wool, sugar and rubber; and so on.
The docks required an army of workers, chiefly lightermen (who carried loads between ships and quays aboard small barges called lighters ) and quayside workers, who dealt with the goods once they were ashore. Some of the workers were highly skilled - the lightermen had their own livery company or guild, while the deal porters (workers who carried timber) were famous for their acrobatic skills. Most were unskilled and worked as casual labourers. They assembled at certain points, such as pubs, each morning, where they were selected more or less at random by foremen. For these workers, it was effectively a lottery as to whether they would get work - and pay, and food - on any particular day. This arrangement continued until as late as 1965, although it was somewhat regularised after the creation of the National Dock Labour Scheme in 1947.
The main dockland areas were originally low-lying marshes, mostly unsuitable for agriculture and lightly populated. With the establishment of the docks, the dock workers formed a number of tight-knit local communities with their own distinctive cultures and slang. Poor communications meant that they were quite remote from other parts of London and so tended to develop in some isolation. The Isle of Dogs , for instance, could only be accessed by road via two swing-bridges. Local sentiment there was so strong that Ted Johns, a local community campaigner, and his supporters, in protest at the lack of social provision from the state, proclaimed a unilateral declaration of independence for the area, setting up a so-called 'Island Council' with Johns himself as its elected leader, and blocked off the two roads coming in from the mainland.
The docks were originally built and managed by a number of competing private companies. From 1909, they were managed by the Port of London Authority , or PLA, which amalgamated the companies in a bid to make the docks more efficient and improve labour relations . The PLA constructed the last of the docks, the King George V, in 1921, as well as greatly expanding the Tilbury docks .
German bombing during World War II caused massive damage to the docks with 380,000 tons of timber destroyed in the Surrey Docks in a single night. Nonetheless, following post-war rebuilding they experienced a resurgence of prosperity in the 1950s. The end came suddenly, between approximately 1960 and 1970, when the shipping industry adopted the newly invented container system of cargo transportation. London's docks were unable to accommodate the much larger vessels needed by containerization and the shipping industry moved to deep-water ports such as Tilbury and Felixstowe . Between 1960 and 1980, all of London's docks were closed, leaving around eight square miles (21 km²) of derelict land in East London. Unemployment was high, and poverty and other social problems were rife.
Canary Wharf at sunset
Efforts to redevelop the docks began almost as soon as they were closed, although it took a decade for most plans to move beyond the drawing board and another decade for redevelopment to take full effect. The situation was greatly complicated by the large number of landowners involved: the PLA, the Greater London Council (GLC), the British Gas Corporation , five borough councils, British Rail and the Central Electricity Generating Board .
To address this problem, in 1981 the Secretary of State for the Environment , Michael Heseltine , formed the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) to redevelop the area. This was a statutory body appointed and funded by central government (a quango ), with wide powers to acquire and dispose of land in the Docklands. It also served as the development planning authority for the area.
Another important government intervention was the designation in 1982 of an enterprise zone , an area in which businesses were exempt from property taxes and had other incentives, including simplified planning and capital allowances. This made investing in the Docklands a significantly more attractive proposition and was instrumental in starting a property boom in the area.
LDDC was controversial - it was accused of favouring elitist luxury developments rather than affordable housing, and it was unpopular with the local communities, who felt that their needs were not being addressed. Nonetheless, the LDDC was central to a remarkable transformation in the area, although how far it was in control of events is debatable. It was wound up in 1998 when control of the Docklands area was handed back to the respective local authorities.
The massive development programme managed by the LDDC during the 1980s and 1990s saw a huge area of the Docklands converted into a mixture of residential, commercial and light industrial space. The clearest symbol of the whole effort was the ambitious Canary Wharf project that constructed Britain's tallest building and established a second major financial centre in London. However, there is no evidence that LDDC foresaw this scale of development and nearby Heron Quays had already been developed as low density offices when Canary Wharf was proposed, with similar development already underway on Canary Wharf itself, Limehouse Studios being the most famous occupant.
Canary Wharf was far from trouble free and the property slump of the early 1990s halted further development for several years. Developers found themselves saddled with property which they were unable to sell or let.
The Docklands historically had poor transport connections. This was addressed by the LDDC with the construction of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which connected the Docklands with the City. It was a remarkably inexpensive development, costing only £77 million in its first phase, as it relied on reusing disused railway infrastructure and derelict land for much of its length. LDDC originally requested a full London Underground line, but the Government refused to fund it.
LDDC also built Limehouse Link tunnel , a cut and cover road tunnel linking the Isle of Dogs to The Highway (the A1203 road) at a cost of over £150 million per kilometre, one of the most expensive stretches of road ever built.
In 1999, the London Underground's Jubilee line was extended eastwards and now serves Rotherhithe / Surrey Quays at Canada Water station , the Isle of Dogs at Canary Wharf tube station , Greenwich at North Greenwich tube station and Canning Town station for the nearby Royal Docks . The Docklands Light Railway was extended in 1994 to serve much of the royal docks area when the Beckton branch was opened. The Isle of Dogs branch was further extended south and in 1999 it then served Greenwich Town Centre, including the Cutty Sark museum, Deptford and finally Lewisham . In 2005, a new branch of the DLR opened from Canning Town to serve what used to be the eastern terminus of the North London Line , including a station at London City Airport . It was then further extended to Woolwich Arsenal in 2009.
The continued success of the Docklands redevelopment has prompted several further development schemes, including:
* Extensions of the Docklands Light Railway possibly to Dagenham . * Crossrail links to Central London, Reading and Heathrow Airport . * Further development of Canada Water . * Redevelopment of Blackwall Basin and Wood Wharf , east of Canary Wharf * New skyscrapers to be built at Canary Wharf including the Riverside South towers, the Heron Quays West double-skyscraper development and the North Quay project, consisting of three towers.
In the early 21st century redevelopment is spreading into the more suburban parts of East and Southeast London, and into the parts of the counties of Kent and Essex which abut the Thames Estuary . See Thames Gateway and Lower Lea Valley for further information on this trend.