1990s drama Bugs made extensive use of Docklands for filming throughout its four series. Although the script referred to an anonymous city rather than acknowledging its Docklands location, action took place in and around many then-familiar landmarks, from the London Arena to the Docklands Light Railway depot.
To address this problem, in 1981 the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Heseltine, formed the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) to redevelop the area. This was a statutory body appointed and funded by central government (a quango), with wide powers to acquire and dispose of land in the Docklands. It also served as the development planning authority for the area.
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Efforts to redevelop the docks began almost as soon as they were closed, although it took a decade for most plans to move beyond the drawing board and another decade for redevelopment to take full effect. The situation was greatly complicated by the large number of landowners involved: the PLA, the Greater London Council (GLC), the British Gas Corporation, five borough councils, British Rail and the Central Electricity Generating Board.
Monday to Sunday: 10:00 - 18:00. Last admission: 17:30. Closed: 24-26 December.
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The Docklands historically had poor transport connections. This was addressed by the LDDC with the construction of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which connected the Docklands with the City. It was a remarkably inexpensive development, costing only £77 m in its first phase, as it relied on reusing disused railway infrastructure and derelict land for much of its length. (LDDC originally requested a full Tube line, but the Government refused to fund it.)
LDDC also built Limehouse Link tunnel, a cut and cover road tunnel linking the Isle of Dogs to The Highway (the A1203 road) at a cost of over £150 million per kilometre, one of the most expensive stretches of road ever built.
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The Docklands are the location of District 1, the most functional section of Britain during the outbreak of Rage Virus and the headquarters for Army Officials in Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's 2007 movie 28 Weeks Later. The docklands also appear in The Ruby in the Smoke, a novel by Philip Pullman.
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The Docklands' redevelopment has, however, had some less beneficial aspects. The massive property boom and consequent rise in house prices has led to friction between the new arrivals and the old Docklands communities, who have complained of being squeezed out. It has also made for some of the most striking disparities to be seen anywhere in Britain: luxury executive flats constructed alongside run-down public housing estates.
Entry to the Museum of London Docklands is free. Free highlights tours are available daily. Exclusive tours and talks are available upon request for groups of 10 or more people when booked in advance.
DLR was originally a wholly owned subsidiary of one of TfL's precursors, London Regional Transport. In 1992 it transferred to the LDDC, sponsored by the Department of Environment. Since 1997 DLR has been operated under franchise by the private sector. The current franchise was awarded to KeolisAmey Docklands Ltd (KAD) in 2014. DLR has been the responsibility of Transport for London since we were established in 2000.
It was clear that a new transport system was needed. Two bills were passed in 1984 and 1985 authorising the DLR and construction began soon afterwards.
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Step inside a 200-year-old warehouse revealing the long history of London as a port through stories of trade, migration and commerce.
Crowne Plaza London Docklands offers 4-star accommodation in one of London’s fastest growing districts and the heart of the 2012 iconic sporting victories. We are just minutes from key event locations such as the ExCeL Exhibition Centre, The O2 Arena and Stratford City.
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LDDC was controversial - it was accused of favouring elitist luxury developments rather than affordable housing, and it was unpopular with the local communities, who felt that their needs were not being addressed. Nonetheless, the LDDC was central to a remarkable transformation in the area, although how far it was in control of events is debatable. It was wound up in 1998 when control of the Docklands area was handed back to the respective local authorities.
Discover a wealth of objects in world-class galleries, including Sailortown, an atmospheric recreation of 19th-century London; and London, Sugar & Slavery, which reveals the city's involvement in the transatlantic slave trade. With unique finds, unusual objects and fascinating tours, the Museum of London Docklands is one of London's hidden treasures.
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In a further sign of regeneration in the area, the Docklands now has its own symphony orchestra - Docklands Sinfonia - which was formed in January 2009 and is based at St Anne's Limehouse.
At one time the offices of The Independent group of publications were situated in the Docklands. In 2008 Independent News & Media announced that The Independent would be moving its offices to the Northcliffe House in Kensington.
Whether you want to hide in one of the cosy alcoves to experience the bar’s extensive wine list or take advantage of the heaters on the al fresco terrace this is the location to encounter your perfect urban hideaway.
The revival of the Docklands has had major effects in run-down surrounding areas. Greenwich and Deptford are undergoing large-scale redevelopment, chiefly as a result of the improved transport links making them more attractive to commuters.
Canary Wharf was far from trouble free and the property slump of the early 1990s halted further development for several years. Developers found themselves saddled with property which they were unable to sell or let.
The LDDC also contributed to the development of London City Airport (IATA airport code LCY), opened in October 1987 on the spine of the Royal Docks.
The continued success of the Docklands redevelopment has prompted a number of further development schemes, including:
Within easy reach of London’s best tourist attractions, the Crowne Plaza London Docklands hotel is a moment’s walk from Royal Victoria, the Docklands Light Railway station which connects you to the Underground network and all of London’s family friendly tourist sites with travel times from just 15 minutes.
From Doctors & Dissection to Christina Broom and from Sherlock Holmes to Crime Museum Uncovered, we have items you can buy associated with our past and present exhibitions
Although most of the old Dockland wharfs and warehouses have been demolished, some have been restored and converted into flats. Most of the docks themselves have survived and are now used as marinas or watersports centres (the major exception being the Surrey Commercial Docks, now largely filled in). Although large ships can - and occasionally still do - visit the old docks, all of the commercial traffic has moved down-river.
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Another important government intervention was the designation in 1982 of an enterprise zone, an area in which businesses were exempt from property taxes and had other incentives, including simplified planning and capital allowances. This made investing in the Docklands a significantly more attractive proposition and was instrumental in starting a property boom in the area.
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