Canning Town

Canning Town

----infobox UK place
country = England
map_type = Greater London
region= London
official_name= Canning Town
latitude= 51.5148
longitude= 0.0257
constituency_westminster= Poplar and Canning Town
post_town= LONDON
postcode_area= E
london_borough= Newham
dial_code= 020
os_grid_reference= TQ405815

Canning Town is an area of East London, England. It is part of the London Borough of Newham and is situated in the area of the former London docks on the north side of the River Thames. It is the location of Rathbone Market. Despite being a neighbour to many Dockland developments, Canning Town remains in the top 5 per cent most deprived areas in the UK with local people suffering from poor health, low education and poverty.


Prior to the 19th century, the district was largely marshland, and accessible only by boat, or a toll bridge. In 1809, an Act of Parliament was passed for the construction of the Barking Road between the East India Docks and Barking. A five span iron bridge was constructed in 1810 to carry the road across the River Lee at Bow Creek. This bridge was damaged by a collision with a collier in March 1887 and replaced by the LCC in 1896. This bridge was in turn replaced in 1934, [ "West Ham: Rivers, bridges, wharfs and docks", A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6 (1973), pp. 57-61] accessed: 29 May 2008] at a site to the north and today's concrete flyover begun in smaller form in the 1960s, but successively modified to incorporate new road layouts for the upgraded A13 road and a feeder to the Limehouse Link tunnel, avoiding the Blackwall Tunnel. The abutments of the old iron bridge have now been utilised for the Jubilee footbridge, linking the area to Leamouth, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, on the western bank of the Lee.

Originally known as "Hallsville", the area is thought to be named for the first Viceroy of India, Charles John Canning, who suppressed the Indian Mutiny about the time the district expanded. The population increased rapidly after the North London Line was built from Stratford to North Woolwich, in 1846. This was built to carry coal and goods from the docks; and when the passenger station was first built it was known as "Barking Road". [ [ "West Ham: Transport and postal services", A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6 (1973), pp. 61-63] accessed: 16 January 2008.] Speculative builders constructed houses for the workers attracted by the new chemical industries established in the lower reaches of the River Lee, and for the nearby Thames Ironworks and Tate & Lyle refinery. [ "West Ham: Domestic buildings", A History of the County of Essex: Volume 6 (1973), pp. 50-57] accessed: 17 January 2008.] The opening of the Royal Victoria Dock accelerated the development of the area. The casual nature of employment meant poverty and squalid living conditions for many residents, and by the 1930s the County Borough of West Ham commenced slum clearances. That and the devastation of World War II, destroying 85% of the housing stock, lead to the preponderance of council estates that characterise the area today. From the late 19th century, a large African mariner community was established in Canning Town as a result of new shipping links to the Caribbean and West Africa. [Geoffrey Bell, "The other Eastenders : Kamal Chunchie and West Ham's early black community" (Stratford: Eastside Community Heritage, 2002)]

On the 21 June 1898, "The Albion", a Royal Navy cruiser was to be launched sideways from the Thames Ironworks, on Bow Creek. Schools were given the day off, and thousands attended the launch. About 200 people thought to get a good view by climbing on to an adjacent temporary slipway, where a Japanese warship was being built. The launch caused a tremendous backwash that threw the people on the slipway into the water. Their cries for help were drowned by the cheers for the Duke and Duchess of York, and 38 lives were lost. [ [ "The 'Albion' Disaster" Lal Cook (Local History, 1998)] accessed 17 Jan 2008] The event was commemorated by the poet, William McGonagall, and the Royal Humane Society issued 26 Bronze Medals to men who had leapt into the river to try to save the victims.

In 1907, the Royal Acquarium in Westminster was dismantled and brought to Canning Town. It was re-erected as the Imperial Palace Music Hall. [ [ "The Royal Aquarium, and Imperial Theatre, Victoria London"] (Arthur Lloyd music and theatre history site) accessed 11 September 2008] The music hall was destroyed by fire in 1931, and replaced by a cinema.


The area is at the western end of the Thames Gateway zone and is currently undergoing a £1.7 billion regeneration project, which includes:

* demolishing 1,650 homes and building 8,000 new homes
* creating 500,000 square metres of floor-space in a revitalised town centre
* providing community facilities, including a library, a health centre
* undertaking improvements to primary schools

For many years, there has been considerable economic deprivation in the area. In the 2000 Index of Multiple Deprivation, Ordnance Ward, which covered most of the Canning Town area, was the most deprived ward in Greater London, and the second most deprived in the South of England, after an area of Great Yarmouth.

Politics and local government

Most of the district falls within the Parliamentary constituency of Poplar and Canning Town, confusingly a small part of north-eastern Canning Town falls within the boundary of the West Ham constituency.

In May 2006, voters in the Ward of Canning Town South returned three members of the Christian Peoples Alliance as their elected Councillors. This is highly unusual in what is regarded as the rock-solid Labour borough of Newham.

Rock and sport

The football team of the Thames Ironworks went on to become West Ham United F.C..

The Bridge House, a public house named for the 1887 "Iron Bridge", was at 23 Barking Road – now demolished. The venue operated during the 1970s and 1980s and was host to The Police, Jeff Beck, Billy Bragg, Alexis Korner, Sham 69, Lindisfarne and many other notable acts. [Terence Murphy "The Bridge House, Canning Town: Memoires of a Legendary Rock and Roll Hangout" (2007)] Recently, a new venue bearing the name The Bridge House2 has opened in Bidder Street [] . Also on Barking Road, the former public house "The Royal Oak" (now an estate agent) had a boxing ring on the first floor. Amongst others, the boxer Frank Bruno trained there.


:"For details of education in Canning Town see the List of schools in the London Borough of Newham"

Transport and locale

;Nearest places
*West Ham
*East Ham
*Nearest tube|Canning Town
*Nearest DLR|Canning Town


External links

* [ History of Canning Town]
* [ Canning Town regeneration]
* [ Canning Town Docks & Pubs History]
* [ The Bridge House]
* [ Frank Bruno at Royal Oak]
* [ Kamal Chunchie - The Other Eastenders (Eastside Community Heritage)]

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