London's Hidden History
Would you believe bananas from the Canary Islands were once unloaded here. Look around at these people rushing in and out of the super flash Canary Wharf offices, bunches of top bananas indeed!
The original docks were built by John Rennie and William Jessop, they took two years to complete. William Pitt, the Younger, laid the foundation stone on 12 July 1800. Brunel built the famous and ill-fated ship "Great Eastern" in Millwall Docks in 1850 and William Cubitt, twice Lord Mayor of London, developed Cubitt Town to house the booming population created by the jobs in the new docks.
Sadly the boom came to a bitter end in the 1960s when the London Docks died and the industry moved to Tilbury and Felixstowe. All that was left was unemployment, still waters, rusting cranes and silence. So the London Docklands Development Corporation was created and the Island became an enterprise zone. The Docklands Light Railway opened in 1987 and the rest is history!
Talking of history, which is what this Guide is all about after all, the Island History Trust based at Mudchute must be mentioned. For a comprehensive and illustrative retrospection of the Isle of Dykes - sorry Dogs - see the Island History Trust website.
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