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The Changing Face of the Isle of Dogs


Walking around Canary Wharf and Marsh Wall gives the impression that the top of the Isle of Dogs is one big building site.


Heron Quays

The work on Heron Quays and Wood Wharf are part of the Canary Wharf group masterplan that will include the first residential housing on the estate.


Wood Wharf

On Marsh Wall , there are already a couple of tall residential buildings with the Landmark and Pan Peninsula developments, other construction is being carried out at the new Novotel hotel on Marsh Wall and the Baltimore Tower in Millwall Dock area.


A report last week by an Architecture survey indicates this is just the beginning of a move to build tall buildings all over London but particularly in Tower Hamlets and the South of the river.

The New London Architecture (NLA) and GL Hearn released the results of their annual London Tall Buildings Survey. The survey highlighted  12 months ago , 236 tall buildings were planned for the capital. However the new data finds 263 tall buildings over 20-storeys proposed, approved or under construction within Greater London. This figure includes 76 proposed or in the planning system, 117 with planning approval , and 70 under construction.

62 of the 70 towers currently under construction are residential and 80% of all 263 towers in the pipeline have a primary residential use.

Tower Hamlets was at the centre of the tower boom last year and will see the most activity this year, with 18 tall buildings under construction, 27 with planning approval and 14 in planning.

The dominance of Tower Hamlets is reflected in the status of tall building proposals  the borough has the most approved towers (27 or 23%) and the most proposed towers (22 or 29%).  Tower Hamlets also has the highest number development projects under construction with 18 proposals (26%).


Riverside development

Regular readers will know that I often relate how often these big schemes never get off the ground and are often mothballed for years,the Riverside development is one such example.

However, even if only a percentage  are built it is going to drastically change the face and the character of the Island. It is fair to say that the building of Canary Wharf and the large apartments around the edge of the Island were generally built on old industrial sites. The new developments are still clustered around the top of the Island but there is evidence of steady encroachment into the centre which will impinge on the many residential areas.

With a planning stage of generally eight months and then  around six years for completion, the full picture of these developments will not really been seen for 6 to 10 years. By that time this once neglected piece of London will have some of the most expensive property in London.

A quick survey of some of the schemes on the Island shows the state of play for many of the developments.



Designed by Horden Cherry Lee Architects and developed by Canary Wharf Group.

This 60-storey tower is currently In planning.

Quay House, 2 Admiral Way

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and developed by Investin.

This 68-storey tower is currently Refused.
Cuba Street Tower 2

Designed by 3D Reid / Gultekin Architecture and developed by Talya (was Agaoglu Group).

This 57-storey tower is currently Proposed.
City Pride

Designed by Squire and Partners and developed by Chalegrove Properties.

This 75-storey tower is currently Approved.


Novotel Canary Wharf ,40 Marsh Wall,

Height: 124m | Floors: 39 | Architect: BUJ Architects | Developer: Accor

Current status: Under Construction

Millharbour Village

Designed by Rolfe Judd and developed by Docklands Centre Ltd .

This 50-storey tower is currently In planning.

Angel House, 225 Marsh Wall

Designed by Jacobs Webber and developed by The Angel Group.

This 43-storey tower is currently Approved.

1-18 Dollar Bay Court

Designed by Ian Simpson Architects and developed by Mount Anvil.

This 31-storey tower is currently Under construction.

Lincoln Plaza (previously Indescon Court Phase 2)

Designed by BFLS and developed by Galliard Homes (was Oracle).

This 32-storey tower is currently Approved.

Glengall Bridge

Designed by and developed by Tameric Investments.

This 45-storey tower is currently Proposed.

1 Park Place

Designed by Horden Cherry Lea Architects and developed by Canary Wharf Group Plc.

This 33-storey tower is currently In planning.

151 East Ferry Road

Designed by Town and Beach and developed by Asda Stores Ltd/Ashbourne Beech.

This 21-storey tower is currently Approved.


Designed by TP Bennett and developed by Telford Homes .

This 23-storey tower is currently Approved.


A Walk around West India Dock – February 2015


At this time of the year, West India Dock has very few ships visiting but still there is always plenty to find interesting.

The Canary Wharf Group is pressing ahead with two of their major building projects in Heron Quays and Wood Wharf.


The Heron Quays site in particular has been the focus of considerable activity, interestingly part of the project is virtually on the water and a large number of piles have been driven into the dock. Large cranes on pontoons have also been used and yesterday crowds of people watched as one of these pontoons was moved from Heron Quays to Wood Wharf.


Although it was a tight squeeze under the DLR track, the major disruption was the swing bridge which was out of action for some time. ‘Bridgers’ were a well known hazard of living on the Isle of Dogs as the ships entered the docks. However many of the modern office workers who got stuck on the South Quay side looked distinctly unimpressed by the procedure.


As the pontoon was pulled and pushed by tugs into position in Wood Wharf, I took the opportunity to wander past the Will Sailing Barge and down to where the Lord Amory, the Portwey and the Massey Shaw are berthed.


An interesting new addition to the dock is a houseboat with a difference, it is certainly a innovative design the top looks like an apartment placed onto a wide boat base. You would certainly get a great view but looks like it would have to be towed from place to place.With house prices rocketing it may offer a more  economical approach and represent  the modern version of living on a houseboat.




The Story of Captain Harry Gee and his flight into Heron Quays 1982


Ignored by the vast number of  commuters, there is just below  a destination screen in Heron Quays station  a plaque that celebrates an event that was to have  far reaching consequences for the development of  The Royal Docks and London City Airport.

The idea  of an  airport in Docklands was first proposed in 1981 by Reg Ward, who was Chief Executive of the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) that had been given responsibility for the regeneration of the area.

After discussions with  Sir Philip Beck (Chairman of John Mowlem ) it was considered an idea worth looking into and by November, Mowlem and Brymon Airways had submitted an outline proposal to the LDDC for a Docklands  city centre Airport.

However there was considerable doubt whether the runways would be long enough even for STOL ( short take off and landing) planes at the Royal Dock site.

To allay the doubters Mowlem and Brymon proposed a test flight and landing in the Docks, this was not feasible in the Royal Docks but Mowlem who were involved in the building of the Canary Wharf site  cleared a site near Heron Quays and put down a surface to enable a plane to land. The temporary runway was about 1000 metres long, which was seen as the minimum needed even for STOL. The Civil Aviation Authority was prepared to offer a special licence for insurance purposes and the flight was given the go ahead.

heron quays

On 27 June 1982 Brymon Captain Harry Gee landed a de Havilland Canada Dash 7 aircraft on Heron Quays runway in front of a crowd of bemused spectators.

heron quays 2

Heron Quays 1982

The success of the flight proved an airport was possible in Docklands, however it was not the only flight from Heron Quays. In 1983, during the public enquiry into the Airport,  the inspector, Montague Smith, and his technical expert Air Vice Marshal B. P. Young, requested a demonstration flight. Once again Harry Gee was the pilot and the two officials became the first passengers in a flight out of the Docks.

heron quays 4

Things then moved quickly and  London City airport was constructed , The first aircraft landed on 31 May 1987, with the first commercial services operating from 26 October 1987.  The Queen  officially opened London City Airport in November of the same year.

For anyone living on the Isle of  Dogs, aircraft taking off  and landing are a constant reminder of the close proximity of London City airport but few would realise the airport would not exist at all if the famous flight of Captain Harry Gee into Heron Quays had not been a success.


Surprising there is very few photographs of the  momentous occasion but there was a very short film made of the landing by a news company.


Trains, Taxi’s but no planes- Heron Quays 2014