The Isle of dogs (IOD) during WW2 caught its share of bombs aimed for the docklands during the blitz of 1940, but mainly in the West India and Millwall dock area (looking North the top left of the island). The right hand side of Cubitt Town and where the entrance to the East India and Wood Wharf docks remained relatively unscathed.
Therefore post war most of the development plans were made around the Millwall area by the LCC via internally employed planners and architects. But while this was being planned the docks started to die due to containerisation of shipping and new container docks built further out at Tilbury. These new docks could provide the deep water that was needed for large container ships, plus the ease of newly build infrastructure to service the local movement of individual containers by road and rail.
“The docks on the IOD could not compete and thus the area from a work and identity perspective, started to fade as workers moved where the work took them”
The new influx of people came for Wapping, Canning town and other overcrowded areas to the IOD where there was space for new housing and mixed developments, the plan was to increase via funding from the LCC for a new manufacturing base on the island, remembering that this was considered the only way to create employment for the working class at that time from a 1960’s perspective. This was also a time of employment rather than self employment, so a culture of looking to others rather than the individualism and self reliance of the 1980’s to the present day.
The issue was the slow rate of change, the lack of manufacturing attracted onto the island and the general malaise that had set into the area and this I know from personal experience, an industrial wasteland by the time of the late 1970’s.
A great short video from a patronising American – 1962