Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf is the secondary central business district (CBD) of London on the Isle of Dogs. Along with the City of London, it is one of the main financial centres of the United Kingdom and the world, containing many of their tallest buildings, including the second-tallest in the UK, One Canada Square.[1][2]

Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf
Location within Greater London
Population73,390 (Millwall, Blackwall and Cubitt Town, East India and Lansbury and Limehouse wards 2011 Census)
OS grid referenceTQ375802
London borough
Ceremonial countyGreater London
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLONDON
Postcode districtE14
EU ParliamentLondon
UK Parliament
London Assembly

Canary Wharf is 97 acres (39 hectares) and contains around 16,000,000 square feet (1,500,000 m2) of office and retail space. It comprises many open areas, including Canada Square, Cabot Square and Westferry Circus. Together with Heron Quays and Wood Wharf, it forms the Canary Wharf Estate.


Canary Wharf is located on the West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs.

West India Dock Company

From 1802 to the late 1980s, what would become the Canary Wharf Estate was a part of the Isle of Dogs (Millwall), Limehouse and Poplar and was one of the busiest docks in the world. After the 1960s, the port industry began to decline, leading to all the docks being closed by 1980.[3][4] West India Docks was primarily developed by Robert Milligan (c. 1746–1809) who set up the West India Dock Company.

Port of London Authority

West India Dock was by this time owned by the Port of London Authority in 1909. Canary Wharf itself takes its name from No. 32 berth of the West Wood Quay of the Import Dock. This was built in 1936 for Fruit Lines Ltd, a subsidiary of Fred Olsen Lines for the Mediterranean and Canary Islands fruit trade. The Canary islands were so named after the large dogs found there by the Spanish (Gran Canaria from Canine) and as it is located on the Isle of Dogs, the quay and warehouse were given the name Canary Wharf.[5]

London Docklands Development Corporation

After the docks closed in 1980, the British Government adopted policies to stimulate redevelopment of the area, including the creation of the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) in 1981 and the granting of Urban Enterprise Zone status to the Isle of Dogs in 1982.[4]

The Canary Wharf of today began when Michael von Clemm, former chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), came up with the idea to convert Canary Wharf into a back office. Further discussions with G Ware Travelstead led to proposals for a new business district and included the LDDC developing a cheap light metro scheme, called the Docklands Light Railway to make use a large amount of redundant railway infrastructure and to improve access.

The project was sold to the Canadian company Olympia & York[6] and construction began in 1988, master-planned by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with Yorke Rosenberg Mardall as their UK advisors, and subsequently by Koetter Kim. The first buildings were completed in 1991, including 1 Canada Square, which became the UK's tallest building at the time and a symbol of the regeneration of Docklands. By the time it opened, the London commercial property market had collapsed, and Olympia and York Canary Wharf Limited filed for bankruptcy in May 1992.

Initially, the City of London saw Canary Wharf as an existential threat. It modified its planning laws to expand the provision of new offices in the City of London, for example, creating offices above railway stations (Blackfriars) and roads (Alban Gate). The resulting oversupply of office space contributed to the failure of the Canary Wharf project.

Canary Wharf Group

In Oct. 1995, an international consortium that included investors such as Alwaleed, bought control for $1.2 billion. Paul Reichmann was named chairman, and Canary Wharf went public in 1999.[7] The new company was called Canary Wharf Limited, and later became Canary Wharf Group.

In 1997, some residents living on the Isle of Dogs launched a lawsuit against Canary Wharf Ltd for private nuisance because the tower interfered with TV signals. The residents lost the case.[8]

Recovery in the property market generally, coupled with continuing demand for large floorplate Grade A office space, slowly improved the level of interest. A critical event in the recovery was the much-delayed start of work on the Jubilee Line Extension, which the government wanted ready for the Millennium celebrations.

In March 2004, Canary Wharf Group plc. was taken over by a consortium of investors, backed by its largest shareholder Glick Family Investments[9] and led by Morgan Stanley using a vehicle named Songbird Estates plc.

Tallest buildings

This table lists completed buildings in Canary Wharf that are over 60 metres tall.

Ranking by heightImageNameHeightFloorsCompletion dateNotes
1One Canada Square235771501991The second-tallest completed building in the United Kingdom, the tallest being The Shard. Designed by Cesar Pelli, it was the tallest building in the United Kingdom upon completion in 1991. Multi-tenanted; occupiers include The Bank of New York Mellon, the CFA Institute, Clearstream, EEX (European Energy Exchange), Euler Hermes, the International Sugar Organization, Mahindra Satyam, MetLife, Moody's Analytics and Trinity Mirror.[10]
2Newfoundland Quay220722602019Residential tower.[11]
38 Canada Square200655422002The joint fifth-tallest completed building in the United Kingdom. Occupied by HSBC as its world headquarters.[12]
425 Canada Square200655422001The joint fifth-tallest completed building in the United Kingdom. 25 Canada Square and 33 Canada Square together form a single complex known as the Citigroup Centre. Primarily occupied by Citigroup as its EMEA headquarters.[13] Other tenants include Gain Capital, 3i Infotech, Lehman Brothers (in Administration), Crossrail, Instinet, Munich Re, MWB Group, FIS, Interoute, NYK and Wells Fargo.
5One Churchill Place156513322005Occupied by Barclays as its world headquarters.[14] Currently the eighth-tallest building in the United Kingdom, it was originally planned to be 50 stories in height, but was scaled down to 31 after the 11 September attacks.
640 Bank Street153502332003Multi-tenanted; occupiers include Allen & Overy, ANZ Bank, China Construction Bank, Duff & Phelps, Saxo Bank and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.[10]
725 Bank Street153502332003Occupied by JP Morgan Chase as its European headquarters since 2012.[15]
810 Upper Bank Street151495322003Occupied by Clifford Chance as its world headquarters.[16] Other occupiers include FTSE Group, Infosys, MasterCard, Deutsche Bank and Total.[10]
925 Churchill Place130426232014The building houses the European Medicines Agency from early 2014 and Ernst & Young from 2015.
101 West India Quay108354362004Floors 1–12 are occupied by a Marriott Hotel.[17] Floors 13–33 house 158 apartments.
1133 Canada Square10534418199933 Canada Square and 25 Canada Square together form a single complex, see above for details.
121 Cabot Square89292211991Occupied by Credit Suisse.[18]
135 Canada Square88288162003Occupied by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.[10]
1425 Cabot Square81265171991Occupied by Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley also occupies the nearby 20 Bank Street as its European headquarters.[19] The architect was Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
1525 North Colonnade80262151991Occupied by the Financial Conduct Authority as its headquarters.[10] The architect was John McAslan and Partners.
1620 Bank Street68223142003Occupied by Morgan Stanley as its European headquarters. Morgan Stanley also occupies the nearby 25 Cabot Square. It was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
1720 Churchill Place65213152009Occupied by State Street Bank and Trust Company, Charles River Ventures, Ocean Network Express.

Corporations and agencies

Canary Wharf contains around 16,000,000 square feet (1,500,000 m2) of office and retail space, of which around 7,900,000 square feet (730,000 m2) (about 49%) is owned by Canary Wharf Group.[20] Around 105,000 people work in Canary Wharf,[21] and it is home to the world or European headquarters of numerous major banks, professional services firms, and media organisations, including Barclays, Citigroup, Clifford Chance, Credit Suisse, EY, Fitch Ratings, HSBC, Infosys, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, MetLife, Moody's, Morgan Stanley, RBC, Deutsche Bank, S&P Global, Skadden, State Street, The Economist Group and Thomson Reuters,[22]. Until 2018 Canary Wharf also hosted two European Union agencies, European Medicines Agency[23] and European Banking Authority[24], that moved to Amsterdam and Paris respectively due to Brexit.



West India Quays and Poplar Dock are two marinas that are used as moorings for barges and private leisure river crafts and is owned by the Canal & River Trust.[25][26]


A local public library, called Idea Store Canary Wharf, is in Churchill Place shopping mall and run by Tower Hamlets Council which opened on Thursday 16 March 2006 as part of the Idea Store project[27] and is the borough fourth Idea Store.[28]


Canary Wharf hosts two multiplexes (cinemas), one on West India Quay run by Cineworld.[29][30] and another at Crossrail Place called Everyman Cinema.[31]


Canada Square

Canada Square is one of the central squares at Canary Wharf. It is a large open space with grass, except during the winter when it is converted into an ice rink. The square is named after Canada, because the original developers of modern Canary Wharf, Olympia & York, wanted to reflect their heritage. Underneath the square is Canada Place shopping mall.

Westferry Circus

Westferry Circus is on the west side of Canary Wharf. It is a garden at ground level, and below is a roundabout allowing traffic to flow through. The garden is enclosed by bespoke hand-crafted ornamental railings and entrance gates by artist Giuseppe Lund. The area has a long history, dating back to 1812, when the Poplar and Greenwich Roads Company operated a horse ferry between Greenwich and the Isle of Dogs. It operated on the West Ferry and East Ferry Roads, which the names survived. Westferry Circus was chosen as the name for the roundabout and park by virtue of its proximity to Westferry Road.

Cabot Square

Cabot Square is one of the biggest squares at Canary Wharf, with a large fountain at the centre. The inner perimeter has additional fountains covered by trees. The square has large circular glass ventilation holes to allow gases to escape from the underneath car park. The square is named after John Cabot and his son Sebastian, who were Italian explorers who settled in England in 1484.

Churchill Place

Churchill Place is an area on the east side of Canary Wharf. It is named after Winston Churchill.

Columbus Courtyard

A small square on the west side of Canary Wharf. Named after Christopher Columbus who was the Italian navigator who discovered America. The first phase of Canary Wharf was completed in 1992, 500 years after Columbus' discovery and was a tribute to his achievements.

Chancellor Passage

A passageway south of Cabot Square. Named after Richard Chancellor who sailed with Sir John Willoughby from Greenwich on their voyage through the White Sea to Moscow.

Wren Landing

Small area north of Cabot Square. Leads to North Dock footbridge towards Port East. Named after British architect Christopher Wren.

Local Government Elections

Every four years, residents of Canary Wharf ward elect two councillors to represent them on Tower Hamlets Council.

Canary Wharf (2) 2018 Result[32]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Conservative Andrew Wood 983
Labour Kyrsten Perry 760
Labour Anisur Anis 758
Conservative Tom Randall 754
Aspire Mohammed Talukdar 700
Aspire Helen Begum 456
Liberal Democrats Kevin Lyons 315
PATH Yusuf Ahmed 236
Liberal Democrats Gareth Shelton 222
Green Andrew Grey 215
Independent Natasha Bolter 141
Green Alasdair Blackwell 137
Rejected ballots 12
Turnout 3,101 33.8
Registered electors 9,150
Conservative hold Swing
Labour gain from Tower Hamlets First


Canary Wharf is served by London-wide, regional, national and international transport connections.


Canary Wharf is in London fare zone 2, and several stations can be found throughout the estate.

Stations in Canary Wharf only offer direct connections to London and Berkshire destinations. Regional and national National Rail connections can be found elsewhere in London, including at Liverpool Street, Lewisham, London Bridge, Stratford, Stratford International and Waterloo.[34]


Major roads near Canary Wharf include:

Air Pollution

Transport for London (TfL) and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets monitor the air quality around Canary Wharf.

In 2017, an automatic monitoring station in Blackwall found that local air quality failed to meet UK National Air Quality Objectives, recording an annual average Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) concentration of 56 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre). The National Objective is set by the government at 40 μg/m3.

Alternative stations nearer Canary Wharf recorded cleaner air. Monitors at the Limehouse Link/Westferry Road junction and on Prestons Road recorded a 2017 annual average NO2 concentration of 40 μg/m3, which Tower Hamlets argue fails to meet the UK National Objective.[36]


London Buses routes 135, 277, D3, D7, D8, N277 and N550 call at bus stops near Canary Wharf. Bus 135 links Canary Wharf directly to Liverpool Street in the City of London, and bus D8 to Stratford.[37]


Several Riverboat services call at Canary Wharf Pier, including:

Tower, London Bridge City and Blackfriars are in the City of London. Oyster Cards are valid for travel on TfL-coordinated riverboat services.[38]


London City Airport is 3 miles from Canary Wharf. Over 4.8 million passengers passed through City Airport in 2018. The airport serves domestic and international destinations, including New York.[39][40]

City Airport is on the DLR. Passengers from Canary Wharf can change trains at Poplar for services to the Airport.[33]


The Canary Wharf Group, London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Transport for London (TfL) provide cycling infrastructure in and around Canary Wharf. Several leisure and commuter routes pass through or near the estate, including:


Opened in 2003,[47] the Museum of London Docklands is one of the main attractions in the area.

Canary Wharf has been reported since 2017 as part of the Pokémon Go augmented reality game to being the home for the most wanted Pokémon gyms in London including Canary Wharf DLR station and Montgomery Square.[48]

Canary Wharf Group published an official Pokémon map for PokéStop's and Pokémon Gyms, the managing director for retail Camille Waxer said in 2016 that Pokémon Go has serious potential to attract new audiences to the area, particularly food and drink outlets are seeing an increase in footfall.[49]

Canary Wharf hosts the "Winter Lights" art installations each January.[50]

Canary Wharf features in both the Doctor Who & Torchwood franchaises as the fictional base of the Torchwood Institute. it features heavily during the dramatic battle between the Cybermen & the Daleks, with the 10th Doctor and Rose Tyler caught in the middle.

See also


  1. "Heron Tower becomes tallest building in The City". BBC News. 21 February 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  2. "United Kingdom list of tallest buildings". Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  3. West India Docks (1803–1980) (Port Cities) accessed 22 July 2008
  4. "History". Canary Wharf Group. Archived from the original on 23 June 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  5. The West India Docks: The buildings: warehouses, Survey of London: volumes 43 and 44: Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs (1994), pp. 284–300. Retrieved 22 July 2008
  6. "The Development of Transport in London Docklands – Part I: The Chronological Story". LDDC history. 17 July 1987. A New Era: the Coming of Canary Wharf. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  7. Khan, Riz (2005). Alwaleed, Businessman Billionaire Prince. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 120–121. ISBN 9780060850302.
  8. The court found against the appellants (Hunter and others) as private nuisance legislation generally concerns "emanations" from land, not interference with such emanations. "Hunter and Others v. Canary Wharf Ltd./Hunter and Others v. London Docklands Corporation" Archived 10 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine House of Lords Session 1996–97. Retrieved on 23 March 2009.
  9. "Glick family in late move over Canary Wharf battle". The Independent. 2 January 2011. Archived from the original on 2 January 2011.
  10. "Who's Here". Canary Wharf Group plc. Archived from the original on 29 April 2012. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  11. "Canary Wharf to get first residential building". The Daily Telegraph. 16 March 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  12. "Contact us". HSBC Holdings plc. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  13. "£16bn cross-London project to take four floors in Canary Wharf tower". Property Week. 6 June 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  14. "Corporate enquiries". Barclays Bank PLC. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  15. Canary Wharf Group plc – Estate Map Archived 1 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (13 May 2010). Retrieved on 2013-07-12.
  16. "United Kingdom". Clifford Chance. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  17. "Contact Us". Marriott International, Inc. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  18. "Contact Us". Credit Suisse. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  19. "Morgan Stanley in the United Kingdom". Morgan Stanley. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  20. "Higher occupancy lifts Canary Wharf's Songbird". Reuters. 22 March 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  21. "Canary Wharf boss sees future in creative campus". Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  22. "China to invest in Canary Wharf". China Economic Review. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  23. "European Medicines Agency -".
  24. "European Banking Authority".
  25. "West India Docks".
  26. "Poplar Dock Marina, London - BWML". Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  27. "Idea Stores - Case study".
  28. "Idea Store - Canary Wharf".
  30. "Cinema Listings - West India Quay".
  31. "Cinema Listings - Everyman Cinema".
  32. "Election results for Canary Wharf, 3 May 2018". Tower Hamlets Council. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  33. "DLR map" (PDF). Transport for London (TfL). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 May 2019.
  34. "London's Rail & Tube services" (PDF). Transport for London (TfL). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 May 2019.
  35. "Elizabeth line - December 2019" (PDF). Transport for London (TfL). Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 August 2018.
  36. "London Borough of Tower Hamlets Air Quality Annual Status Report for 2017" (PDF). London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2019.
  37. "Buses from Canary Wharf" (PDF). Transport for London (TfL). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 May 2019.
  38. "London's River Services map" (PDF). Transport for London (TfL). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 April 2019.
  39. "Passenger numbers at London City Airport up by 6.4 per cent in 2018". International Airport Review. 9 January 2019. Archived from the original on 28 May 2019.
  40. "Destinations". London City Airport. Archived from the original on 26 April 2019.
  41. "Route 1". Sustrans. Archived from the original on 14 April 2019.
  42. "Overview Route Database - EuroVelo - the European cycle route network". Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  43. "Route 13". Sustrans. Archived from the original on 28 May 2019.
  44. "Barking to Tower Gateway: CS3" (PDF). Transport for London. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 April 2019.
  45. "Cycleway between Hackney and the Isle of Dogs" (PDF). Transport for London (TfL). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2019.
  46. "Cycling | Canal & River Trust". Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  47. Emma Midgley (23 May 2003). "MGM 2003 - A Capital Addition, Museum In Docklands Now Open". Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  48. "10 things you didn't know about Canary Wharf". SACO.
  50. "Take a look at Canary Wharf's spectacular Winter Lights festival". Evening Standard. 14 January 2019.

Further reading

  • Kevin D'Arcy (2012). London's 2nd City: Creating Canary Wharf. Rajah Books. ISBN 0955670624.
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