Canary Wharf. Credit: MRW

West India Docks & Canary Wharf: A Journey Bak To The Future

Canary Wharf was a totally new concept which revived London’s Docklands. Or was it?

This lecture takes you back to the foundations of the West India Docks with their magnificent warehouses and follows through to the glittering high-rise commercial hub of today.

In ‘A Journey Back to the Future’ Charles Forman shows how history has repeated itself  –  from the unprecedented scale of development with buildings to marvel at, to the re-use of derelict space in an ‘island’ setting, the innovative transport connections, the private security systems, and the opposition of the City of London.  Businesses central to the national economy underpinned both developments – from the slave-owning sugar producers of two hundred years ago to the global finance houses of today.  It’s all there in a lecture that tells three parallel stories while contrasting them with neighbouring Limehouse and its flagship Nicholas Hawksmoor church, a riverside community before the docks were dreamt of. We meet the likes of Robert Stephenson and William Adam in the first build-out and come across Cesar Pelli and Norman Foster in the second.

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