Cyprus, Newham

A rebuilt urban hamlet located north of the eastern end of the Royal Albert Dock, off Woolwich Manor Way

Drum-shaped halls of residence
Halls of residence at the University of East London’s Docklands campus

Cyprus’s name dates from 1878, when Britain leased the Mediterranean island from Turkey. Also known as New Beckton, this tiny settlement with its shops and services was a ‘self-supporting community’, entirely owned by the Port of London Authority, providing homes for workers at Beckton gasworks and the Royal Docks. Unlike the earlier workers’ housing in ‘old’ Beckton, construction standards here were not high and the absence of mains drainage contributed to the poor health of the residents.

Council houses were built on Savage Gardens shortly before the First World War. Much of the Victorian township was destroyed by Second World War bombing and the council erected prefab­ricated houses in the neigh­bourhood after hostil­ities ended.

Following the relocation of some existing noxious indus­trial plants in the 1970s, Cyprus became the site of the London Docklands Development Corporation’s first sponsored housing project, with homes built by Barratt, Wimpey, Broseley and Comben.

The rapid sale of the properties prompted the LDDC to release further land for resid­ential building and drew more developers to Docklands.

Cyprus DLR station opened in 1994 on the newly built branch line to Beckton.

South of the Docklands Light Railway station, the former quayside of the Royal Albert Dock has been trans­formed into the University of East London’s Docklands campus. Opened in 2000, this was the capital’s first totally new university campus in 50 years, and its most distinctive feature is a waterside row of drum-shaped halls of residence. A second, less archi­tec­turally distinctive phase of construction was completed in 2007.

SportsDock, the university’s multi-purpose sports and fitness facility, opened in 2012. Built at a cost of £21 million, the amenity is open to all (but charges apply) and it claims to “cater for everything from archery to Zumba.”

The Ferndale
The Ferndale, photo­graphed in May 2015*

The former Ferndale public house, at the corner of Cyprus Place and Ferndale Street, is the only remaining Victorian structure in Cyprus. Newham council approved the disused pub’s conversion to flats in 2009, imposing various condi­tions that would conserve the character of this locally listed building. As sometimes happens, the developers overlooked several of the stipu­la­tions – and then sought retro­spective approval for the finished job. A compromise agreement was reached in 2013, under which certain features would be reinstated – but the stately old boozer will never regain its former appearance.

Postal district: E16
Station: Docklands Light Railway, Beckton branch (zone 3)
* The picture of The Ferndale on this page is adapted from an original photograph, copyright Chris Whippet, at Geograph Britain and Ireland, made available under the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence. Any subsequent reuse is hereby freely permitted under the terms of that licence.