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DLR: The Isle of Dogs is well served by the Docklands Light Railway, which runs through the middle of the Island from South Quay at the top, then down through Crossharbour, Mudchute, and Island Gardens. Going on from South Quay is Canary Wharf, Bank and Tower Gateway, plus connections to Stratford and the rest of the DLR network. Island Gardens leads to Lewisham, via Greenwich. DLR trains run every 3-4 minutes at peak times.
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Right now, the majority of residential development is happening to the north of the Island where Canary Wharf meets South Quay.
Already underway is the Canary Wharf Group’s redevelopment of Wood Wharf, completing in 2023, Berkeley’s South Quay Plaza (2020), Galliard’s Maine Tower at Harbour Central (2019/2020), Ballymore’s The Wardian (2019), LBS’ The Madison (2019), Mount Anvil’s Dollar Bay (2017) and Galliard’s Baltimore Tower (2017).
But that’s not all.
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The urbanisation of the Isle of Dogs took place in the 19th century after the construction of the docks. The island was connected to the rest of London by the London & Blackwall Railway, and in 1902 the ferry to Greenwich was replaced by a foot tunnel, and Island Gardens park was opened.
There are many different styles of property on the Isle of Dogs, somewhat at odds with Canary Wharf where residential apartment blocks are dominant. In recent years the area has witnessed its own insurgence of residential apartment blocks, including Baltimore Wharf and Baltimore Tower, whilst Bellway’s Turnberry Quay is mid-build and Telford’s Liberty Building is currently at groundworks stage.
Aside from recent developments, the Isle of Dogs is also home to some older mainly apartment-led developments such as Millennium Wharf (Millennium Drive), St David’s Square and Pier Head Lock, to name but a few.
However, it’s the diversity of property styles on the Isle of Dogs which makes it interesting. There are a few remaining Victorian terraces, such as those on East Ferry Road, which is also home to a number of former Dockers’ cottages, and more of these cottages can also be found dotted around the Island. The Isle of Dogs was once awash with warehouses, but sadly there are very few warehouse conversions, Cubitt Wharf & and Burrells Wharf are notable exceptions.
Finally, a word for the river Thames. As the river encompasses the Isle of Dogs, the area is home to a large number of apartments and houses with river views. The Thames is tidal and as such rises and falls by 5-7 metres each tide, a spectacle in its own right, but what it means for residents’ with a river-view property is a constantly changing land, or indeed, waterscape.
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Well, we love E14 at Proper Local but there is a very special place in our hearts for the Isle of Dogs. We love its diversity.
In the middle of the Island, Crossharbour is now becoming a kind of Canary Wharf-lite with the imposing and striking Baltimore Tower visible for miles around. Contrast that with Mudchute Park & Farm, just to the south of Crossharbour. Set in 32 acres of countryside, Mudchute is a community charity, with a working farm, stables, a children’s nursery and a wide range of education activities. Just past the farm is Millwall Park - football, a cricket pitch and a rugby club…. on the Isle of Dogs!
At the Island’s southerly tip is Island Gardens and the northern entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel. Take a stroll through the tunnel and take in the Cutty Sark (ship or pub!), the market, The National Maritime Museum or the Observatory. Or, just next door to Island Gardens is the Poplar, Blackwall & District Rowing Club.
On the west of the Island you’ll find the Sir John McDougall Gardens, a tranquil place to walk the dog and take in the Thames. Or how about Tiller Leisure Centre with its swimming pool.
And to the east of the Island, Cubitt Town Library and a beach (we kid you not).
So, the Isle of Dogs, its got it all… and did we mention that the Thames is all around you!
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- Generally speaking the area to the south of South Dock is what we all refer to as the Isle of Dogs but, in fact, there is no such part of London and the area is actually the areas of Cubitt Town and Millwall. The area was last formally referred to as the as the Isle of Dogs between 1986 and 1992.
- The Isle of Dogs was first mentioned in Henry III’s papers and it is thought that Edward III kept greyhounds here, hence the name.
- However, prior to 1800 it is just as likely that the Isle of Dogs would have been referred to as Stepney Marsh
- The Isle of Dogs is sometimes simply referred to as The Island. However, we can confirm that the Isle of Dogs is not the location for Channel 4’s The Island with Bear Grylls. (That was Isla Gibraleón in the Pacific Ocean)
- The name ‘Mudchute’, (Mudchute Park & Farm and a DLR station), derives from the period when Millwall Dock was being constructed in the 1860s. Spoil from the excavation of the Dock, and silt from its channels and waterways were dumped there using a conveyor system – The Mudchute
- Millwall Football Club are not based on the Isle of Dogs but they were until 1910, at Millwall Park, hence the name. Millwall FC now play at The Den in Bermondsey.
- In 1710 there were 4 pubs on the Isle of Dogs. When the Docks were at their busiest (and we assume the workers at their thirstiest) in the late 19th century there were 37 pubs. Today there are 11.
- Island Gardens park opened in 1895, but it is thought that Canaletto’s painting Greenwich Hospital from the North Bank of the Thames (1750) was painted from this location.
- Island Gardens is also home to the northern entrance to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Construction of the tunnel finished in 1902, and it was built to replace the ferry service linking the Docks with Greenwich.
- Regular cleaning has made the docks water more attractive to various species of freshwater and saltwater fish including flounder, plaice, bream and rudd. The docks are regularly used by aquatic birds and a seal has even been spotted in the North Dock on several occasions (and I’ve actually seen him in the Thames too).