Canary Wharf is a large business development on the Isle of Dogs, centred on the old West India Docks.
Yabsley Street was a rebuilt Russell Street which had existed before the Blackwall Tunnel
l was built.
The Housing of the Working Classes Act of 1890 allowed local authorities in London to build their own housing. It rationalised housing and slum clearance legislation, making it much easier for local authorities to carry out clearance schemes. Under certain circumstances, the councils could also build dwellings with the dual purpose of rehousing and to increase the supply of working-class housing.
Following the Act, the London County Council almost immediately began to build new tenement blocks in Poplar and erected as a result of the construction of the Blackwall Tunnel
. The tunnel caused the need for people to be rehoused but also meant the purchase of a considerable area of land for the tunnel, much of which was subsequently available for housing development.
The Council Buildings in Yabsley Street dated from 1893, Toronto Buildings and Montreal Buildings in Cotton Street
dated from 1899–1901 and blocks in Prestons Road
included Baffin, Hudson, Ontario, Ottawa, Quebec, and Winnipeg Buildings (1902– 4). These were all five-storey tenement blocks. The new flats were self-contained, equipped and had notable sanitary arrangements.
After a change of mood in building tenement blocks, the LCC built no housing whatsoever in Poplar between 1904 and 1926.
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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.