London's City and Docklands

The City and Docklands, London (c) Webb Aviation

Britain from the Air - London's City and Docklands

More than £3.4 trillion of foreign exchange trading takes place in London each day 

The City of London statistics are almost impossible to comprehend because of their scale. In an area not much bigger than two square miles - one in the traditional City around St Paul’s Cathedral and the other further down the Thames in the modern skyscrapers of Canary Wharf - traders, investors and financiers invest and manage £4.8 trillion worth of funds, oversee £60 billion of insurance premiums, and trade more than 1 billion contracts a year. It is little surprise then that there are 251 foreign banks with branches in London.

Changing docklands

Where once dark warehouses packed into narrow alleyways alongside the river’s wharves, and docks exuded exotic smells of tobacco, tea and animal hides, by the 1980s they were transformed into desirable and expensive apartments. The riverside slowly became fashionable and London turned to face and celebrate its mighty river. 

Today there is hardly a warehouse left to be renovated and Canary Wharf is a powerful symbol of success. And yet, one or two streets back from the river you can still see a stark contrast to the shiny new progress, with run down social housing, industrial remnants and high unemployment.

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Location: London's City and Docklands, London, E14 4AF
Grid reference: TQ 37244 80591

Britain from the Air - London's City and Docklands credits

Thank you to -

Webb Aviation for aerial photography

Text researched and written by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

The great swathe of docks from St Katharine's near the Tower of London down to Barking in Essex were once the world’s largest port.