London Docklands Analysis

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The London Docklands are a particularly unique area of London; the area possesses a rich history as a major seaport, but is also now home to one of London’s largest financial centers. In essence, the London Docklands are a junction where history collides with the present. Within this essay, I will discuss how efforts to conserve the past of the London Docklands conflict with its current development. One the one hand, the Museum of London Docklands (MLD) acts as a prime example of efforts to conserve the area’s rich yet dark history. On the other hand, the development of Canary Wharf, a financial power center, symbolizes the future of the area, with little to no attempts to preserve the Docklands’ history. I will use supplementary sources from…show more content…
Despite the tragedy of the history, the Museum of London Docklands asserts that the period is a crucial part of British history and encourages the preservation of the past in its London, Sugar, and Slavery Gallery. However, this preservation of London’s dark past drastically conflicts with the massive business enterprises now domineering the area called Canary Wharf. On the one hand, an extremely inclusive museum aims to conserve the sensitive past of the Docklands, whereas on the other hand, the private enterprises of Canary Wharf aim solely for economic success with no acknowledgement of the past. With the conflict created by the MLD’s effort to conserve the past and Canary Wharf’s seemingly disregard to conserve the past, it has become increasingly difficult to define what kind of ‘place’ the London Docklands is and what kind of ‘place’ the Docklands should…show more content…
The various ports, spanning miles wide, were each designed to store a specific good. For example, the West India Docks, now the location of the Museum of London Docklands, were used to store sugar from the West Indian plantations where enslaved Africans worked. Although Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807 with the Slave Trade Act, slavery continued in the West Indies and other areas. The Docks continued to act as a junction: connecting the slave workers in the Caribbean Islands to British merchants and the wider British population. It was not until the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 that slavery was abolished throughout the entire British Empire. Nevertheless, the Docklands continued to play a vital role in the trade between Britain and the globe, until the facilities were bombed in World War II. The ports were never able to fully recover and with the shipping industry’s adoption of cargo transportation, the Docklands were all closed by 1980. Almost as soon as the Docklands were closed, efforts to redevelop the area began. Eventually, the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) developed various commercial and residential areas, the most famous being Canary Wharf

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