Manilla Street, E14

Road in/near Canary Wharf, existing between the 1810s and now

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Road · Canary Wharf · E14 ·

Manilla Street was originally Alfred Street, renamed in 1875.

Alfred Street was named after Alfred Batson. Its name was changed in 1875, matching the change to international names of other streets in the area.

A Limehouse shipbuilder, Robert Batson, had purchased land in 1793 and rented parcels of it out.

Robert Batson senior died in 1806. His son, also called Robert Batson, set about laying out the first formal streets. One street ran along the southern boundary of the rope walk, and he named this Robert Street. A little further south, he created Alfred Street, named after his younger brother. They were connected by a short street, named Cross Street.

By 1818, a map was showing piecemeal development along Alfred Street. It would be the 1860s before the street was fully developed when newer streets were built in the area.

By 1862, the east end of Alfred Street shared a corner with the fledgling Alpha Road.

The houses were plain: two-up, two-down, terraced cottages with narrow round arched doorways. As late as the First World War several houses still had no kitchen, scullery or wash-house.

Citation information: The (Old) Isle of Dogs from A to Z
Further citations and sources



Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is a large business development on the Isle of Dogs, centred on the old West India Docks.

Canary Wharf was the site of cargo warehouses that served the docks based in London E14, taking its name from sea trade with the Canary Islands. The docks were, as recently as 1961, the busiest in the world but fell into declie after containerisation.

The project to revitalise eight square miles of derelict London docks began in 1981 with the establishment of the London Docklands Development Corporation. At first, redevelopment was focused on light industrial schemes and Canary Wharf’s largest occupier was Limehouse Studios, a TV production company.

In 1984, Michael von Clem, head of the investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston, was visiting the Docklands looking for a site for a client’s food processing plant and noticed that there was empty land. Thinking of relocating City of London offices, von Clem contacted his opposite number at Morgan Stanley who said that a large scheme with critical mass would be necessary. It was also agreed that a new Tube line would be required to make the scheme viable.

Canadian developer Olympia and York bought the project idea. Critically, Olympia and York agreed to meet 50% of the proposed cost of an extension to the Jubilee Line. Construction of Canary Wharf began in 1988 with phase one completed in 1992.

The property market collapsed in the early 1990s. Tenant demand evaporated and the Jubilee Line work had not started as Olympia & York collapsed. The scheme went into administration. For a while it seemed that Canary Wharf would be a white elephant, accessible only by the Docklands Light Railway.

In December 1995, an international consortium backed by the former owners of Olympia & York bought the scheme. At this time its working population was around 13 000 and over half the office space was empty. Probably the critical event in the recovery of Canary Wharf was the much-delayed start of work on the Jubilee Line, which the government wanted ready for the Millennium celebrations. From this point, potential tenants began to see Canary Wharf as a alternative to traditional office locations. The remaining phases were completed and new phases were built.

Canary Wharf is now very successful with tenants including major banks and news media firms. Jubilee Place opened as a shopping mall in 2004.

The immediate impact of Canary Wharf was to raise land values in the surrounding area.

Canary Wharf is now connected to central London via the Canary Wharf DLR station, opened in 1991, and the extension of the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf tube station, opened in 2000. A river boat service from Canary Waterside connects Canary Wharf to the City of London and Greenwich.
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