LDDC Completion Booklets
Isle of Dogs (Dedesignated 10th October 1997)
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The Isle of Dogs in history
The coming of the docks
What the area was like in 1981
Planning background
Social and Physical Change 1981-97
The Enterprise Zone: the lsland's economy takes off
The transport revolution
Transformation of shopping facilities
Investing in the community
Improving the environment
The future

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(Note: This Booklet has been reproduced by kind permission of the Commission for the New Towns now known as English Partnerships. It is published for general interest and research purposes only and may not be reproduced for other purposes except with the permission of English Partnerships who now hold the copyright of LDDC publications)

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West India Docks 1805Introduction

The Isle of Dogs was de-designated on 10 October 1997. Since its creation in 1981, the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) has been based on the island; and while we have paid equal attention to every part of the eight and a half square miles of the London Docklands Urban Development Area, our presence on the spot has enabled us to witness, day by day, the total transformation of the Isle of Dogs - a transformation in which the Corporation has played a leading role.

As the LDDC Chairman, Sir Michael Pickard, said at the time of de-designation: "Sixteen years ago, the Isle of Dogs was an isolated, tightly knit community seemingly in the grip of irreversible decline. Today, massive investment from both public and private sectors has transformed the area. There are new schools, health centres, homes, parks and playgrounds, new roads and rail links, and nearly 1.4 million sq. metres of commercial and industrial development, over 80% let. The new residents and businesses have brought fresh lifeblood to the island."

Proud as it is of what has been achieved in the past, the LDDC has also given thought to the future. Taking on the inheritance of an active development corporation can impose burdens on successor bodies. For that reason, the Corporation has been careful to accompany its handovers with suitable dowries or endowments.

West India Docks 1982The dock estate was handed on to British Waterways. To compensate British Waterways for the costs that they inherited, the Corporation transferred its interests in the sites of Westferry Printers and West India Quay to them. Similarly, the Corporation is transferring its freehold of the Travelodge Hotel at East India Dock to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, so that they will gain a new revenue source to help pay for the cost of maintaining the public open spaces, river walls and riverside walkways which the LDDC is handing on. The Corporation has also contributed a total of 2.04 million to the Isle of Dogs Community Foundation in cash endowments and in addition the freeholds of Jack Dash House and the Docklands Sailing Centre. This endowment will form a solid base for the Foundation to attract further support from the private sector and to continue the LDDC's substantial programme of grants for community organisations and activities into the long term.

We hand on our regenerative role in the Isle of Dogs, Poplar and Leamouth to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and to British Waterways, in the knowledge that London has acquired a major new asset as a result of the work carried out here between 1981 and 1997.

Neil Spence and Roger Squire
Joint Chief Executives


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The Isle of Dogs in history

The peninsula called the Isle of Dogs was originally known as Stepney Marsh. Some of the marsh was drained in the 13th Century, and in the latter 14th Century a chapel was built to serve the spiritual needs of the small agricultural community which had grown in the area. This way of life came to an abrupt end in 1448 when the embankment keeping out the river was breached and the land reverted to marsh.

The earliest reference to the area as the Isle of Dogs is on a map of 1588. This makes it possible that one of the attributions for the origin of its name, as the place where Henry VIII kept his hunting dogs, could be true. On the other hand, it could equally well have been a dismissive term. At any rate this early mention rules out another theory, which is that the name comes from the dykes and windmills erected by Dutch engineers in the 17th Century to drain the marsh. Although they were successful, people were not in a hurry St Matthias Churchto move to the Isle of Dogs and the Chapel House Farm was probably the only building on it in the 18th Century, other than a pub which is believed to have been established on the site of today's Ferry House pub at Island Gardens. The pub served the needs of people travelling across to Greenwich in the ferry which plied the Thames from here until it was made redundant by the opening of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel in 1902.

In Poplar to the north of the Island is the oldest surviving building in London Docklands, St Matthias. This was built in 1654 as the chapel of the East India Company.

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The coming of the docks

The West India Docks were opened by the then Prime Minister Sir Henry Addington in 1802. Expansion followed with, for example, the warehouses built on West India Quay to the north of Canary Wharf. What remains of these are the most important and elegant warehouses surviving in London Docklands, built 1824-25 to the design of George Gwilt.

The East India Docks were opened in 1806. They were amalgamated in 1838 with the West India Docks. Millwall Dock followed between 1864 and 1868, the spoil dug out with the aid of a mudchute, and deposited on the site of today's Mudchute Farm, Europe's largest urban farm. The two dock complexes on the island remained separate until 1909, when the newly created Port of London Authority took over the Millwall Docks and linked them to the West India Docks system.'Great Eastern'

The building of the docks, with their locks onto the Thames at both east and west, also had the effect of making the word 'island' into a reality. Hitherto, the name Isle of Dogs had been a figure of speech; from now on, it was a true description.

Shipbuilding also burgeoned in the area during the 19th Century. The most famous product of the Island is of course Brunel's 'Great Eastern', launched from its site (preserved today by the LDDC) in 1859. The remarkable Romanesque style church, St Paul's - today enjoying a new lease of life as an arts venue, 'The Space' - was built for the Presbyterian Scottish iron workers who were attracted to the Island by shipbuilding work. Streets are still named after the ships built on or near them: Glenaffric Street near Island Gardens is an example.

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Docks on the Isle of Dogs handled a wide variety of cargoes. The East India Company brought in exotic Indian spices and silks through its East India Docks, whilst the Grade 1 listed warehouses on West India Quay became known as Blood Alley, because the sugar in the sacks unloaded by dockers scratched their backs so badly that they bled. Canary Wharf next door took its name from the Canary Islands produce unloaded there. To the south, Millwall Docks were used for grain and other food materials.

Unloading sugar 1940The population of the Island rose with the docks. In 1851 it was 4,000. By the 1840s and 50s, there was a severe housing shortage for the growing population, which William Cubitt acted to solve by building Cubitt Town, with streets following the lines of the former marsh draining ditches. By 1901, the population had risen to 21,000. In 1920, local residents closed the two roads allowing access to the Island and declared independence: they were demonstrating their anger at living conditions. During the war years the residents demonstrated their resilience in another way when the Isle of Dogs became the target for heavy bombing.

In common with London's other docks, those on the Island enjoyed a resurgence after the Second World War. In the 1960s, South Quay was the scene of developments which demonstrated just how rapid was the decline of London's docks. In 1967, when the docks were still active, the Port of London Authority built state of the art facilities to cope with the fast. growing influx of manufactured goods from Japan and the Far East. Within just two years, containerisation - which these docks could not handle - made them obsolete and operations had ceased by the end of 1969. Some activities continued, but following ten years of discussions about the fate of the West India and Millwall Docks, they formally closed in 1980.

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What the area was like in 1981Derelict industrial land

When the London Docklands Development Corporation was set up in 1981, the population of the Isle of Dogs had shrunk to 15,500. Employment was declining: by 1985, only 7,600 people were in work on the island. There was a general air of dilapidation. Worse still was the sense of isolation. The housing estates felt separate, with the dock estate deliberately cut off behind high walls. Access to the rest of London was poor. The main road serving the area, the A13/East India Dock Road, was heavily congested. Public transport on the island was limited to a single bus route. No rail or underground service directly served the area.

Over 95% of the housing was rented, mostly by the local authority. Much of it was concentrated in large estates, dominated by high rise blocks. Although housing conditions varied, unlike many other parts of inner London, much of the housing was post war and had the range of basic amenities. The main problems identified by the Borough Council at the time were those associated with large numbers of difficult to let properties and the problems of high rise living.

Shopping facilities on the Island were limited to a number of small parades. In Poplar there was a significant shortage in both the quantity and quality of local open space and indoor and outdoor sports facilities. Modern primary healthcare facilities were limited.

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Planning background

Strategic planning in 1981 came from the Greater London Development Plan, which had been approved in 1976. This identified the whole of the Isle of Dogs riverside frontage, west of the Blackwall entrance to the West India Docks, as an area where riverside commercial and industrial uses should be phased out when opportunities occurred. The plan did not consider any part of the area as suitable for office development.

South Dock 1994In 1980 Tower Hamlets Council had prepared a consultation report on the Isle of Dogs in the light of the formal closure of the West India and Millwall Docks. It put forward various combinations of housing and industrial development, all of them involving considerable in-filling of the docks.

In 1986, five years after the London Docklands Development Corporation was set up, the Council adopted the 1986 Tower Hamlets Borough Plan. This accepted that office developments might be considered if public transport were to be improved. However, it proposed that the west side of the Isle of Dogs should continue to be reserved for industrial use.

It is hard today to realise just how industrialised this part of London had been, and how tenacious the local authorities were in wanting to hang onto industry, despite its adverse effect on the environment, poor access to the area, and despite the fact that unskilled work was in sharp decline as the UK's manufacturing base diminished.

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Social and Physical change 1981-97Cascades

The Isle of Dogs has undergone two depopulations in the 20th Century: the first through wartime bombing, and the second with the wind down and eventual closure of the docks, when those who could moved out. In 1981 the population was 15,472. By October 1997 it was estimated to have risen to 23,000 - in excess of the 1901 level. Over the same period the number of households is estimated to have increased from 5,687 to 9,300.

In 1981 approximately 200 hectares of land and buildings were vacant or underused. Since 1981 some 130 hectares or 65% of the vacant total have been developed - much of it intensively, as at Canary Wharf.

As of October 1997 4,000 new homes had been built on the Isle of Dogs of which 81% were for private ownership and 19% for rent, mainly through housing associations, or for shared ownership. The 20 storey, 171 apartment Cascades building on Westferry Road, for example, was built in a record 18 months. The residential development at Burrell's Wharf provides several examples of ingenious new uses for old buildings: for instance The Plate House, originally built for the fabrication of steel plates for Brunel's 'Great Eastern' when it was being built in the 1850s, now houses a swimming pool and leisure facilities. Maconochies Wharf next door is the largest self-build development in Britain.

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In 1981 there were only 203 houses in owner occupation, representing 4% of all households. By 1996 owner occupation was estimated to have risen to 3,450 homes representing 37% of all households. The percentage of households renting from the Council fell from 85% to 48% during the LDDC's first decade, whilst homes rented privately or through a housing association rose from 12% to 22%.

Maconochies WharfSince 1981 the LDDC has spent over 10 million on improvement works to some 2,500 council and housing association homes in the area, improving the environment and conditions for existing residents. In the past five years a further 10 million has been spent, supporting in partnership with housing associations the development of 423 units for rent or shared ownership on LDDC owned sites, providing for those most in housing need.

Figures for Isle of Dogs residents in work in 1981 and ten years later demonstrates the change in the nature of work available, and the decline of unskilled work on the Island, as elsewhere. In 1981 14% of the population described themselves as unemployed, and 14% did the same in 1991. The number of residents in work rose from 6,419 to 7,319 over the same period, but the population also increased dramatically during the decade, that there was in fact a decrease in residents in work from 41% to 40%. However by April 1997 unemployment on the Isle of Dogs is estimated to have fallen to 11.2%. The total number of jobs on the Isle of Dogs was estimated at the time at 37,300, compared with an estimated 5,500 in 1981. This underlines the importance of the LDDC's efforts to help local residents achieve the education and skills standards required to access today's changing job market, not just locally but in the whole of the London labour market. Dramatic improvements to the road and public transport access have also given Docklands residents much improved access to jobs throughout the capital.

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The Enterprise Zone: the Island's economy takes off

The Enterprise Zone was formally designated on 26th April 1982 for ten years. It covered 195 hectares including the West India, Millwall and East India Docks, together with a small part of the Leamouth area extending into the London Borough of Newham.

Canary WharfIt worked. Initial activity in the Enterprise Zone involved relatively small scale industrial and commercial development either side of Millwall Inner Dock and on what is now Marsh Wall, Millharbour, Mastmakers Road and Limeharbour. Limehouse Studios, designed by Terry Farrell, was built in a converted warehouse at the eastern end of Canary Wharf. Higher density office development followed with buildings like Nicholas Lacey Jobst and Hyett's bright and cheerful buildings on Heron Quays, as well as Richard Seifert's South Quay Plaza on Marsh Wall. However, the breakthrough came with the vision for a financial services centre on Canary Wharf.

In 1984 the restaurateurs, the Roux Brothers, were looking for space to prepare pre-cooked meals with their bankers, Credit Suisse First Boston and its adviser, G. Ware Travelstead. The bankers instead seized upon Canary Wharf as the location of a back office. By 1985 they were proposing to build their new UK headquarters there. Eventually the project was taken over by Canadian developers, Olympia & York. Credit Suisse would become one of the first occupiers. Olympia & York's concept of Canary Wharf was as a business centre on a scale to match their major developments in North America. In July 1987 Olympia & York signed a Master Building Agreement (MBA) with the LDDC to develop 29 hectares of Canary Wharf.

East India DockCanary Wharf's sheer size helped to foster a transport revolution: the upgrading and extension of the DLR to Bank (agreed at the time of signing the MBA), the Jubilee Line Extension, the Limehouse Link and Docklands Highways (agreed by the LDDC in 1986) and the first RiverBus service all came as a result of the increase in development projected for the Island in the wake of Canary Wharf. It also produced a number of high quality buildings and landscaping. Under the masterplan of Chicago architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Cesar Pelli designed and built the tallest tower in Britain. With other architects of the calibre of I.M. Pei, designer of the glass pyramid in the grounds of the Louvre in Paris, the first phase was completed in record time, with the first tenants moving-in in August 1991. The development currently comprises 10 office buildings, a retail centre and a conference and banqueting venue.

East India Dock also attracted developers and talented architects. The former Financial Times building, designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, winner of eight awards, was completed in 1989, as was the Reuters building at Blackwall Yard, designed by Richard Rogers. Telehouse International followed in 1990 and the first two phases of the NCC development were completed in 1992.

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When the LDDC completed its remit on the Isle of Dogs in October 1997, Phase 1 of Canary Wharf, with some 418,000 sq. metres of offices and 19,500 sq. metres of retail space was 93% let, a figure comparable with the rest of London. Construction of Sir Norman Foster's 52,000 sq. metres Citibank headquarters building started in early 1997, while development of new homes and a hotel began at Canary Wharf Riverside in the Summer.

West Ferry PrintersIndustry did not entirely desert this part of Docklands. In Leamouth, the established industrial area has continued throughout the life of the LDDC, supporting some 1,000 jobs in a number of firms, the largest of which is Pura Foods which has itself expanded over recent years. There was also new industrial development, with for example West Ferry Printers opening 30,000 sq. metres of new industrial floorspace at the western end of Millwall Dock in 1987. As in Wapping and the Surrey Docks, the Isle of Dogs became home to the printing of several newspapers during the life of the LDDC: The Telegraph were an early pioneer moving their editorial staff to South Quay in the late 1980s and subsequently to Canary Wharf, which now has a working population of more than 20,000. The Mirror Group and Independent also followed them to Canary Wharf.

By 1997 the Isle of Dogs was established as London's new business district. The lsland's attractions for business go well beyond competitive rents, as office buildings on the Isle of Dogs tend to have large floor plates which make them ideal for modern technology. The arrival of substantial alternative office accommodation relieved a significant shortage of new office space in other parts of London.

In February 1996 an IRA bomb was detonated at South Quay, killing two people, injuring many more and extensively damaging 92,900 sq. metres of office space and nearby homes. About half the office space was occupied but the vast majority of affected companies found alternative premises in Docklands and were back in business within a week. Refurbishment of the most severely damaged buildings is expected to be completed in early 1999.

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Docklands Light Railway 1994The transport revolution

The transport revolution has been the key element in the integration of the Isle of Dogs with the rest of London.

In 1976 the London Docklands Strategic Plan identified the need for a major upgrading of all forms of transport. it also established priorities such as the immediate need to improve bus services, a new underground line into Docklands, construction of new local roads and the building of a new relief road between Canning Town and Limehouse.

Whilst all London's docks were designed to be hard to get into in order to deter theft, the Isle of Dogs' geography made the area even more cut off than the others. In 1981, the LDDC faced a situation in which road access to and within the Island was extremely poor. Primary access to the area was via the heavily congested A13 and A102 Blackwall Tunnel. In 1982 the Enterprise Zone started its ten years with a totally inadequate road and public transport network.

Public transport access to the area was virtually non-existent; buses operated along the A13 and there was an infrequent service running around the outside of the Isle of Dogs peninsula. There were no bus services in the Enterprise Zone and the nearest Underground stations were at Mile End and the East London Line stations at Wapping and Shadwell. Pedestrian and cycle facilities were also extremely poor and made more difficult by the docks. Public access to the river and dockside was limited.

It was clear from the earliest days of the LDDC that changes to transport had to be very visible: not only did access need to dramatically improve it needed to be dramatically visible. The first major step forward was the decision, taken in 1982, to build the Docklands Light Railway, linking the Isle of Dogs to Tower Gateway and Stratford. The railway was designed to use where possible the existing viaducts, which dated back to the earliest days of rail in the area. In 1984, D1 Bus Service8 million sq. ft (740,000 sq. metres) of development was projected for the Isle of Dogs and the railway was planned accordingly. By 1987 12 million sq. ft (1.1 million sq. metres) was committed to be built at Canary Wharf alone.

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When the DLR opened in 1987 it was clearly inadequate to meet the needs that had developed. But marching so visibly across London Docklands, the DLR was visual proof of the LDDC's determination to change things. The DLR extension to Bank and upgrading to accommodate double length carriages was agreed by Olympia & York with London Underground when the development deal was done with the Corporation. The Bank extension, partly funded by Olympia & York, opened in 1991, the Beckton extension, funded for the most part by the LDDC, in 1994. The Lewisham extension, funded by the private sector, is due to open in January 2000. The Corporation took over as owners of the railway from London Transport in 1991.

In the early days, before the upgrading of the DLR, bus services played a vital role in providing improved access. The Corporation led the way in encouraging the introduction of new services. It gave financial support to services such as the Dl which provided an early direct link from the Isle of Dogs to the main line stations at London Bridge and Waterloo. Support was also given to the RiverBus, launched in 1988, which provided a fast and comfortable service to Central London - but which, sadly, Londoners did not take to in sufficient numbers. The service closed in 1993 but a more limited service has been introduced recently.

Limehouse LinkThe Corporation, although not a highway authority, played the leading role in the dramatic improvement of road access both to and within the Isle of Dogs. It laid out and built the much needed network of local roads within the former docks area and improved the main access roads onto the Island. Its main achievement, however, was to secure and construct the Docklands Highways. The Lower Lea Crossing provided an important direct road link between the Isle of Dogs and the Royal Docks and beyond to the M11 and M25 with its opening in 1991, and the Limehouse Link Tunnel cut the Gordian Knot of road transport between the Isle of Dogs and the City and West End when the then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. John Major, MP opened it and the East India Dock Tunnel in May 1993.

The Corporation has taken the initiative to ensure the provision of a comprehensive network of pedestrian and cycle routes throughout the area, providing full public access wherever possible to the river and dock edge. Amongst the South Quay FootbridgeLDDC's most visible, most practical and most elegant contributions to London Docklands have been the pedestrian bridges it has built. The Isle of Dogs has two outstanding examples linking Canary Wharf to West India Quay and to South Quay respectively.

The final and decisive link ensuring close transport contact with the West End will be the Jubilee Line extension, due to open before the end of 1998. This will make travelling to Canary Wharf from London Bridge, Waterloo, and Green Park, just as convenient and fast as a journey to the City.

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Transformation of shopping facilities

Convenience shopping was greatly enhanced early on with the opening of the 4,600 sq. metres Asda Superstore on East Ferry Road in 1983. Several small shopping parades have been refurbished with LDDC financial assistance: Poplar High Street (170,000), the Barkantine Estate (563,000) and Castalia Square (475,000). Although just outside the Urban Development Area, the LDDC also contributed 1.3 million to a comprehensive refurbishment of Chrisp Street Market, an important part of East End life which continues to service much of Poplar. Shops have also been included within the new developments, most notably around Crossharbour and Harbour Exchange.

ASDA SuperstoreThe showpiece of Isle of Dogs shopping is of course Canary Wharf. The shopping centre on either side of the DLR station contains over 30 shops. There is a Tesco Metro supermarket, and branches of high street fashion and leisure stores as well as specialist stores. The number of restaurants, cafes and pubs is well into double figures, and it is possible to eat and drink on the Wharf seven day a week.

At West India Quay developers will provide more retail and leisure facilities, including a supermarket and multiplex cinema, in a project which will see the conversion of the 19th Century Grade 1 listed warehouses to new homes, along with a newly constructed 30 storey hotel. The western end of the warehouses will be home to the new Museum of Docklands, scheduled to open in 2000, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the LDDC.

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Investing in the community

The Corporation has spent over 33 million on social and community projects in the area. Much of this has been undertaken as part of the Accord with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, agreed in principle in 1988. In this the LDDC sought co-operation from the Council to help road and transport developments in return for investment in local housing and community schemes.

Investment in education has been considerable, both because of the increase in the area's population, and also because of the vital need to increase the skills of the children of existing residents. Access Centres were opened in Docklands, including the Isle of Dogs and Poplar, to build bridges between training providers and the unemployed, at a cost to the Corporation of 2 million.

Arnhem Wharf Primary SchoolThe 10 million given by the Corporation to build an extension to Tower Hamlets College in Poplar High Street is the largest single educational grant given by the LDDC anywhere in London Docklands. At Arnhem Wharf the first new primary school on the Isle of Dogs for 20 years was built with 550,000 from the LDDC. Financial help for extensions, refurbishment and facilities, as well as for curriculum assistance, included Cubitt Town Primary School (215,000), George Green Secondary School (144,000), Woolmore Street School (271,000), Harbinger Primary School (126,000) and St Luke's Church of England Primary School (331,000). Holy Family and St Edmund's Roman Catholic Primary Schools and Seven Mills Primary School also received funding for curriculum assistance.

The Corporation has helped to create primary healthcare centres on the Isle of Dogs and elsewhere. The LDDC paid 525,000 towards the cost of the new purpose built Island Health Centre next to the Asda Superstore, contributed 428,000 towards the new Newby Place Health Centre in Poplar, and 215,000 towards the Docklands Medical Centre in the south of the Isle of Dogs.

The Corporation contributed 408,000 towards the building of the Samuda Centre, to look after the community needs of the eastern side of the Isle of Dogs. At a time when secondary schools elsewhere in the country have been losing their sports facilities, at George Green School sports and recreation facilities have been upgraded with an LDDC contribution of 320,000. This has given the school its first all-weather hockey and 8-a-side football pitches, designed to meet national competition standards. Furthermore, the new facilities are now available to the local community, along with a recreation park and youth facility on the west of the Island at St Andrew's Wharf.Mudchute City Farm

In 1990 the Isle of Dogs Community Foundation was set up with cash injections of 595,000 from East India Dock developers, NCC. The LDDC helped to establish, and has supported, the foundation as a vehicle for ongoing community development and a source of funding for community activities into the future.

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Improving the environment

Commercial and residential development on the Island has taken place against the background of a major environmental programme, opening up the former dock areas and maximising the potential of the docks themselves.

Improving access to the waterside has been a major LDDC objective. The Corporation has established a comprehensive waterside walkway and open space network on the Isle of Dogs. Over 3.3 km of dockside public walkways can now be enjoyed around Millwall Docks and at Canary Wharf, the more so as they are interspersed with waterside pubs and restaurants. Within Millwall Outer Dock, the LDDC contributed 1.3 million towards the Docklands Sailing and Watersport Centre. Completed in 1989, this provides a wide range of water based activities including sailing, canoeing and dragon boat racing. Further water based recreation on West India Dock, with LDDC funding of 340,000, is provided at the Docklands Scout Project Centre completed in 1994 at Dollar Bay. South Quay provides an excellent, non-tidal berth for larger sea going ships visiting Docklands: HM Yacht Britannia berthed here in 1994, as have ships from many of the world's navies.

Millwall Dock WalkwayAs redevelopment opportunities have arisen on riverside sites, so riverside walkways have been secured and reinforced by improvements to existing riverside parks and facilities, for example at Sir John McDougall Gardens and Island Gardens. These works have been accompanied by the creation of new open spaces, particularly around the former docks and lock entrances, such as at Johnsons Draw Dock and the Great Eastern Slipway. Within Leamouth, the LDDC has spent over 2 million on a major water based ecology park, along with London's first bird sanctuary at East India Dock Basin. They are to transfer to the ownership of the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority. Over the years the LDDC has supported the Mudchute Farm and Park with grants of over 1.2 million towards new farm buildings on the lsland's largest area of open space. In 1989 St John's Park was fully refurbished at a cost of 500,000. This created a new area for both quiet and active recreation for adults and children.

In Poplar, the main open space is Poplar Recreation Ground. This includes the former church of St Matthias, the oldest building in Docklands. The LDDC secured funding of 700,000 for the restoration of the church, and worked with English Heritage to restore the interior and landscape the churchyard. Poplar Play, a new nursery, was also supported. The Corporation has been behind improvements to existing open spaces at All Saints Church and Robin Hood Gardens, and the creation of new open spaces in the Pennyfields area. Meanwhile the Jubilee Line Park will be laid out at the Jubilee Line station at Canary Wharf.

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The future

Isle of Dogs, Poplar and Leamouth were handed on to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets on 10 October 1997. At the same time, British Waterways took over responsibility for the West India and Millwall Docks. The LDDC had a very extensive project programme to complete before handing on the area. Only a few remaining projects now need to be completed. A leisure centre to be built at Stoneyard Lane in Poplar and improvements to the park at Island Gardens will overhang the Corporation's end date of March 1998, as will repairs to the buildings at South Quay following the terrorist explosion.

The Council and the Corporation agreed a 1 million joint programme of investment in community activities and facilities over the next three years to provide ongoing community support ranging from further works to estates, parks and playgrounds to funding for community workers.

The Corporation endowed a further 1.046 million to the Isle of Dogs Community Foundation for ongoing community support, as well as 300,000 to benefit Millwall Park and the surrounding area and 650,000 to fund training for employment schemes. The Foundation also received the freeholds of Jack Dash House and the Docklands Sailing Centre.

The Foundation's endowment now stands at over 3 million. Substantial contributions have also been pledged by companies located in Canary Wharf. As a consequence the Foundation should have, from 1998 onwards, an annual grant giving capacity of 150,000 to support community activities and organisations.

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Completion Booklets

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LDDC Monographs published in 1997/98

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Annual Reports and Accounts

As with most organisations the Annual Reports and Accounts of the LDDDC are a good source of chronological information about the work of the Corporation and how it spent its money. Altogether these reports contain more than 1000 pages of information. These have been scanned and reproduced as zip files on our Annual Reports and Accounts page

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