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London Docklands

The London Docklands were formally part of the Port of London, once the largest docks in the world. From Roman times, ships docked at small quays in present day London. By Victorian times, at least 10 large docks were in use, some with room for up to 120 ships. The docks were constructed in low-lying marches as these were unsuitable for agriculture and very scarcely populated; the workers formed a number of tight-knitted communities with their own distinctive cultures and slang. During The Blitz of 1940, over 2,500 bombs caused massive damage, resulting in large-scale rebuilding work of the docks. A resurgence of prosperity meant the docks were fully used until the 1960s. Around this time, the shipping industry started using the new container system of cargo transport. The Thames and the docks were unable to accommodate the larger ships required for this new system and in time, the docks were closed, one by one. By 1980 the docks were no longer in use.

Redevelopment of the area started in 1990, with the famous Canary Wharf. In the last 30 years, population of the docklands has more than doubled and the area has become a major financial and commercial district. Most of the original warehouses have now been demolished however some have survived and have been converted into apartments – London Docklands is now also a very desirable place to live – and many of the docks are now used as marinas or water sports centres.


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