Canary Wharf

Category: General

Canary Wharf in Tower Hamlets, London, England, is a large business development on the Isle of Dogs, centred on the old West India Docks in the London Docklands.

Rivalling London’s traditional financial centre, The Square Mile, Canary Wharf contains the UK’s three tallest buildings: One Canada Square (commonly known as the Canary Wharf Tower or simply Canary Wharf) at 235.1 m; and the HSBC Tower and the Citigroup Centre joint second tallest at 199.5 m.

Canary Wharf is built on the site of the old West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs. From 1802 to 1980, the area was one of the busiest docks in the world, with at one point 50,000 employed. Canary Wharf itself takes its name from the sea trade with the Canary Islands, whose name comes from the dogs (Latin canis) which the Spaniards found there, producing the linguistic coincidence of trade between the Dog Islands and the Isle of Dogs.

During WWII, the docks area was bombed heavily and nearly all the original warehouses were destroyed or badly damaged. After a brief recovery in the 1950s, the port industry began to decline. Containerisation and a lack of flexibility made the central London docks less viable than out-of-town sites like Felixstowe and Harwich, and by 1980 the docks were closed.

The project to revitalise the eight square miles of derelict London docks began in 1981 with the establishment of the London Docklands Development Corporation by the government of Margaret Thatcher. Initially redevelopment was focussed on small-scale, light industrial schemes and Canary Wharf’s largest occupier was Limehouse Studios, a TV production company. Canary Wharf can be seen from Dartford Crossing.


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Canary Wharf