Canary Wharf and Docklands transformation

Canary Wharf and Docklands is now a thriving and exciting place to live, work, and enjoy your leisure time. The area today continues its transformation since the regeneration of the old shipping docks some forty years ago. The impressive, towering skyline of Canary Wharf was constructed on the former West India Docks in the Isle of Dogs. The original West India Dock was the first enclosed London dock, its foundation stone was laid in 1800 and the dock itself opened officially in 1802. Many commodities including rum and sugars shipped from a far were unloaded there for onward distribution.

During WW2, all but two of the nine large warehouses of West India Dock were destroyed, they currently house smart restaurants with outside seating for al fresco diners. The Museum of London Docklands can be found at No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay. The museum provides graphic representation of the history of Docklands from the time of the ‘Legal Quays’ in the City through the initial development and use of the docks, right up to present day.

Canary Wharf’s association with workers stretches back to the 19th Century, dockworkers used to wait at the dock gates each morning hoping to be chosen for the day’s work. These days and more in keeping with the areas profile, you are more likely to encounter workers in Saville Row suits than dockworkers overalls.

Canary Wharf tower itself was completed in 1991 and the initial redevelopment of the overall site was the result of work undertaken by the London Docklands Development Corporation during the 1980’s. Canary Wharf is a famous and iconic landmark and for many years London’s tallest building, it was eclipsed by The Shard in 2012 and 22 Bishopsgate in 2019. One Canada Square and the adjacent towers are synonymous with finance, HSBC, Barclays, Citi Group and J.P. Morgan all have connections and high-profile offices here.

The impressive commercial towers sit atop The Isle of Dogs which rather than being an island, is a horseshoe-shaped piece of land alongside the river where Henry VIII is said to have exercised his dogs. Today, many luxury, residential developments have added their profiles to the Canary Wharf skyline, and they complement the many existing developments populating the horseshoe.

As riverside areas, Canary Wharf and Docklands hold many maritime and engineering connections. Brunel, the ground-breaking British engineer, and ship builder launched the iconic SS Great Eastern from the Isle of Dogs back in 1858, it was the largest passenger ship in the world at the time. Canary Wharf Underground Station, designed by British Architect Norman Foster, is so vast that it could accommodate the Canary Wharf Tower laid on its side, the station complex will also form part of the ongoing Crossrail project.

Art & Culture formed part of the design vision for Canary Wharf and Sir Roy Strong the former director of the Victoria and Albert Museum advised on design matters. Permanent and temporary artworks have populated the locale helping to provide soul and a sense of homeliness to the area. Cabot Square’s central and state of the art fountain is popular with park goers at lunchtimes, it is managed by computer that checks wind speed and direction to preventing visitors from getting soaked.

Another landmark was designed by Pierre Vivant the ‘Traffic Light Tree’ on Trafalgar Way near Billingsgate Market is a sight to behold and has caused many motorists to hesitate on approach. There is thriving retail sector within Canary Wharf, small boutiques rub shoulders with high street icons and designer boutiques. You will find a multitude of cafes, restaurants, bars, and wide-ranging entertainment options entertainment.

Our Canary Wharf and Docklands office has successfully sold and let many properties across the area and they can establish the sales or rental value of your property. Should you be looking to purchase or rent a home in Canary Wharf and Docklands please get in touch.

Popular neighbouring areas you may like to also consider are Royal Docks, Limehouse, Wapping. South of the river Greenwich, Deptford, Surrey Quays, Rotherhithe, Canada Water plus award-winning Bermondsey are also worthy of consideration.

Written by Alex Neil

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