Docklands by Night

 London's Docklands occupy an oxbow peninsula in the Thames River, about a mile downstream from the Tower of London called the "Isle of Dogs". The Docklands were developed in the 19th century to replace the docks further upstream in the City, Southwark and Westminster areas, which had become unusable due to the bridges over the Thames and deteriorating river conditions. The Isle of Dogs was essentially hollowed out, with the docks in pools and canals connected by locks to the tidal Thames. In Victorian times, a pedestrian tunnel was built to link Docklands to Greenwich, where many of the dockyard workers lived. The Docklands were bombed out in the Second World War, and never fully recovered.

Starting in the 1980's, a major redevelopment project has revitalized the Docklands area. Canada Tower (above, left) at Canary Wharf is the tallest building in the UK, and new condominums and office complexes are springing up all over the former industrial areas. The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) makes transportation from the City to Docklands easy, and it will be extended to Greenwich, across the Thames, by 2000. The cranes which once unloaded seagoing ships (right) are just decorations, now, and the City Canal is only connected to the Thames at one end (near the Lord Amory Dockland Scout Project and the Millenium Dome), but there is life in Docklands once again.

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Photographs © 1998 Mike Brown