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Blackwall, London facts for kids

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Blackwall, Virginia Quay and the Greenwich Meridian - - 789437.jpg
Virginia Quay, the line that runs down the centre of the avenue marking the prime meridian
Blackwall is located in Greater London
Population 19,461 (2011 Census. Blackwall and Cubitt Town Ward)
OS grid reference TQ385805
London borough
Ceremonial county Greater London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district E14
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
UK Parliament
  • Poplar and Limehouse
London Assembly
List of places
51°30′23″N 0°00′12″W / 51.5063°N 0.0034°W / 51.5063; -0.0034Coordinates: 51°30′23″N 0°00′12″W / 51.5063°N 0.0034°W / 51.5063; -0.0034

Blackwall is an area of Poplar, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, East London. The neighbourhood includes Leamouth and the Coldharbour conservation area.

The area takes its name from a historic stretch of riverside wall built along an outside curve of the Thames, to protect the area from flooding. While mostly residential, the Poplar Dock and Blackwall Basin provide moorings for vessels.


The small district by Blackwall Stairs was known as Blackwall by at least the 14th century. This presumably derives from the colour of the river wall, constructed in the Middle Ages. The area lay in a sheltered loop of the river next to Poplar's East Marsh, where the East India Docks were constructed at the beginning of the 19th century. The area has never had its own Anglican church so for services such as road maintenance organised by a vestry and poor relief it relied upon its ecclesiastical parish (of All Saints) Poplar. Indeed the whole Isle of Dogs was until the late 20th century referred to as being Poplar or the Poplar District.

The Isle excludes the symmetrical part (that is its north west forming the parish of Limehouse) and comprises:

the ancient hamlet of Poplar itself, the old shipbuilding centre of Blackwall, and the former industrial districts of Millwall and Cubitt Town. Poplar’s story is one of development and redevelopment on both the grand and the comparatively small scale, driven in the nineteenth century by mercantile interests and manufacturing, and after the Second World War by de-industrialization and the obsolescence of the Thames-side docks...

...[in recent times] a major subject is public housing, which includes the famous Lansbury Estate, built in association with the 1951 Festival of Britain.

Contrary to expectations, the River Thames landmark named Blackwall Point is not located in Blackwall district but on the northern tip of Greenwich Peninsula, which is south of the Thames. It is so named after the Blackwall Reach of the Thames.

Blackwall gives its name to the partially underlying Blackwall Tunnel, which passes south under the adjacent River Thames to North Greenwich.

Historic port

Sir Walter Raleigh's House at Blackwall
This house at Blackwall, once owned by Sir Walter Raleigh, was demolished during construction of the Blackwall Tunnel.

Blackwall was a significant ocean-going port in past centuries and was connected with important voyages. On 7 June 1576, financed by the Muscovy Company, Martin Frobisher set sail from Blackwall, seeking the North West Passage. Walter Raleigh had a house at Blackwall, and in the early years of the 17th century the port was the main departure point of the English colonization of North America and the West Indies launched by the London Company.


A relatively wide physical divide for a peripheral-to-Central London district separates Poplar, London from Blackwall, the A1261. The twin north-south tunnels forming the Blackwall Tunnel commence 250 metres (820 ft) north of this road, by the local borough Town Hall, within the edge of Poplar.

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