Canning Town, Newham
A hitherto solidly working-class district – with much less industry than it once had – situated north of the Royal Victoria Dock and east of the River Lea
This settlement was originally called Hallsville and probably took its modern name from George Canning, briefly prime minister in 1827 – or from his son Charles Canning, first viceroy of India from 1858 until his death in 1862. Others have suggested that the name came from a mid-19th-century factory, possibly a cannery, but historians have failed to identify the relevant establishment.
The opening of a railway station (initially called Barking Road) in 1847 stimulated early jerry-built development, mostly without proper drainage, leaving the population prone to outbreaks of disease.
The fastest phase of growth came after the 1880s, in the heyday of the Royal Docks. The area’s greatest employer was the Thames Iron Works, Victorian shipbuilders to the world and the original home of West Ham football club. Thirty-eight spectators died at the ironworks when the slipway collapsed at the launch of the warship HMS Albion in 1898. The last major warship built by the yard was HMS Thunderer in 1911. The following year Thames Ironworks declared bankruptcy and closed down.
The Royal Docks brought significant immigration to the neighbourhood and Canning Town had the largest black population in London by 1920. This was the year that comedy writer Johnny Speight was born here: he went on to create the bigoted television character Alf Garnett.
The area was heavily damaged in the Blitz, leading to the construction of numerous council tower blocks after the war. The partial collapse of the Ronan Point tower block, in the Custom House area, prompted a temporary withdrawal from high-rise solutions to accommodation needs throughout the UK, and beyond. Late-20th-century redevelopment typically took the form of smaller units in a never-ending series of cul-de-sacs, built by housing associations.
Canning Town’s population exhibits a very diverse mix of ethnicities/nationalities. The main groups at the 2011 census are listed in the table below:
|Ethnicity/Nationality||Population||Share of total|
|Black or Black British: African||6,043||19.6%|
|Asian or Asian British: Bangladeshi||2,307||7.5%|
|White Eastern European (inc. Russian)||2,098||6.8%|
|Black or Black British: Caribbean||1,437||4.7%|
|Asian or Asian British: Indian||1,282||4.2%|
|Asian or Asian British: Pakistani||840||2.7%|
|Asian or Asian British: Chinese||742||2.4%|
|Asian or Asian British: Filipino||526||1.7%|