The Isle of Dogs is an area in the East End of London that is bounded on three sides by one of the largest meanders in the River Thames. The soil is alluvial and silty in nature, underlaid by clay or mud, the first known written mention of the Isle of Dogs is in the ‘Letters & Papers of Henry VIII’. Some say it is a corruption of the Isle of Ducks, Jonson was imprisoned for a year, Nashe avoided arrest by fleeing the area. Samuel Pepys referred to the unlucky Isle of Dogs, the presence of Dutch engineers reclaiming the land from a disastrous flood. The presence of gibbets on the foreshore facing Greenwich, a yeoman farmer called Brache, this being an old word for a type of hunting dog. The original docks located here were used for firewood importation and the phrase is linked to fire dogs, the dogs of a later king, Henry VIII, who also kept deer in Greenwich Park. Again it is thought that his hunting dogs might have kept in derelict farm buildings on the Island. Isle of Dykes, which then got corrupted over the years, the whole area was once simply known as Stepney Marsh, Anton van den Wyngaerdes Panorama of London dated 1543 depicts and refers to the Isle of Dogs. Records show that ships preparing to carry the English royal household to Calais in 1520 docked at the bank of the Island. The name Isle of Dogges occurs in the Thamesis Descriptio of 1588, the name is next applied to the Isle of Dogs Fam shown on a map of 1683. At the same time, the area was known as Isle of Dogs or the Blackwell levels. By 1855, it was incorporated within the parish of Poplar under the aegis of the Poplar Board of Works and this was incorporated into the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar on its formation in 1900. After the building of the Docks, and with an increasing population and this area includes Millwall, Cubitt Town, and Blackwall. The south of the isle opposite Greenwich was once known as North Greenwich, between 1986 and 1992 it enjoyed a brief formal existence, as the name Isle of Dogs was applied to one of seven neighbourhoods to which power was devolved from the council. It was the site of the highest concentration of housing in England but is now best known as the location of the Canary Wharf office complex. One Canada Square, also known as the Canary Wharf Tower, is the second tallest habitable building in Britain at 244 metres, the Isle of Dogs is situated some distance downriver from the City of London. The area was sparsely populated marshland before its drainage and planting in the 13th century. A catastrophic flood occurred in 1488, resulting in the returning to its previous marshy condition
Isle of Dogs as shown in John Rocque's map of London, 1747 showing the area before development
Aerial view the Isle of Dogs in 2015. The O2 Arena can be seen on the Greenwich Peninsula to the right (east) of the Isle of Dogs.
1899 The Isle of Dogs, at the height of its commercial success
A map showing the wards of Poplar Metropolitan Borough as they appeared in 1916.