I recently discovered by foot a new part of London I didn't know so well: The London Docklands.
Thanks to the Man (who could become an encyclopedia if he ever gets tired of his job) I not only enjoyed a lovely day outside, but also learnt a lot about the Docklands area.
The Docklands were developed in the Georgian and Victorian times when commercial ships doing business in London got in serious need of a place to anchor, safe away from high waters, pirates and all that jazz. At the time, the area was mainly populated by local workers, who were, for the majority of them, unskilled labourers leaving on the edge of London's society and speaking their own slang.
The Docklands were commercially very successful (they made London the largest port in the world at some point) until they got bombed and very badly damaged during the Second World War.
Despite being rebuilt after the war, they slowly became obsolete as containers transportation system on cargo vessels got developed. Poor Docklands were getting too small to accommodate always bigger vessels indeed.
Abandoned, stricken by poverty and unemployment for a while, the Docklands have nevertheless been gradually re-developed and converted into the vibrant residential and commercial area that we know today.
Heavily supported by government tax incentives aiming at attracting new businesses between the 70s and the 90s, boosted by the massive Canary Wharf business project development, and great improvements in transport links (such as the launch of The Dockland Light Railway and the extension of some tube lines), the Docklands area became the second business and finance centre of London.
Today, London's Docklands are one of the most attractive areas in London, may it be to set up a business or buy a home. Skyscrapers share the scene with former Docklands infrastructures and old sailing boats, making up for a surprising landscape when you walk along them.
Although a bit quiet on the week-end for my taste, I surely wouldn't say no to a flat with a terrace over looking the Thames on a summer's morning!