Facts about Docklands
German bombing during the Second World War caused massive damage to the docks. With 380,000 tons of timber destroyed in the Surrey Docks in a single night. Nonetheless, following post-war rebuilding, they experienced a resurgence of prosperity in the 1950s. The end came suddenly, between approximately 1960 and 1970, when the shipping industry adopted the newly invented container system of cargo transportation.
London’s docks were unable to accommodate the much larger vessels needed by containerization, and the shipping industry moved to deep-water ports such as Tilbury and Felixstowe. Between 1960 and 1980, all of London’s docks were closed, leaving around eight square miles (21 km²) of derelict land in East London.
London Docklands is the riverfront and former docks in London. It is located in inner east and southeast London, in the boroughs of Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham, Newham, and Greenwich. The docks were formerly part of the Port of London, at one time the world’s largest port. After the docks closed, the area had become derelict and poverty-ridden by the 1980s.
The name “London Docklands” was used for the first time in a government report on redevelopment plans in 1971 and has since been almost universally adopted. Redevelopment created wealth, but also led to some conflict between the new and old communities in the area.