Survey of London: Volumes 43 and 44, Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1994.
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These volumes on the parish of All Saints, Poplar, are significant in a number of ways. They are being published during the Survey of London's centenary year, and are the first in its parish series to appear under the aegis of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. With this study the Survey, which in recent decades has covered areas as diverse as Mayfair, Lambeth and Kensington, returns to the East End, where the series of volumes began in 1900, with a survey of Bromley-by-Bow.
Investigation began at the height of the Docklands property boom and the early stages of the project involved the recording of whole swathes of the urban landscape ahead of redevelopment. Indeed, southern Poplar has been transformed since the closure of the India and Millwall Docks, and the creation of the London Docklands Development Corporation in 1981. Under the stimulus of Enterprise Zone designation, the area saw dramatic changes in both the scale and design of commercial and residential building, with the construction of spectacular office developments around the docks and luxury housing along the riverside.
The rate of change in the remainder of the area has been much slower, where slum clearance, wartime bombing and post-war reconstruction had already swept away almost all of the earlier fabric. Twentieth-century public housing, from cottage estates to tower-blocks, is now a dominant element in the parish. It includes the celebrated Lansbury Estate, conceived as a contribution to the Festival of Britain of 1951, although not completed until 1983.
The speed of modern redevelopment, the diversity of earlier building types and the sheer complexity of the district have made this study a major undertaking, and one which represents an exciting new departure for both the Survey and the Royal Commission.
The Royal Commission is very grateful to all of those who have provided help and advice in the preparation of these volumes. Most of them are named in the acknowledgements. The study was carried out during the chairmanship of my predecessors, the Earl Ferrers and Baroness Park of Monmouth. Among the Commissioners who have given valuable help, especial thanks are due to Malcolm Airs, Bridget Cherry, Derek Keene, Marilyn Palmer and Anne Riches.
The volumes were prepared by the Survey staff under the direction of the General Editor, Hermione Hobhouse. They were researched, written and edited by Stephen Porter, John Greenacombe, Peter Bezodis, Alan Cox, Peter Guillery, Ann Robey, Philip Temple and Colin Thom. Additional research was carried out by Victor Belcher, Gillian Duane, Bridgett Jones and Jane Richards, and editorial assistance was provided by Elaine Donaldson, Tara Draper, Charmian Hearne, Aileen Reid and Harriet Richardson. The drawings were prepared by Michael Clements and Ron New, and the photographs taken by Derek Kendall. The volumes were designed by Wolfgang Klär.