Westferry, Tower Hamlets

A Docklands Light Railway station on the eastern edge of Limehouse

railings by Giuseppe Lund, symbolising the seasons
The gardens at Westferry Circus have railings and gates by Giuseppe Lund, symbol­ising the seasons

West Ferry Road (as it was called until the 1920s) was created, together with its eastern coun­ter­part, when local landowners and busi­nessmen estab­lished the Poplar and Greenwich Ferry Roads Company to make turnpikes to the Greenwich ferry in 1812. This marked the opening up of the inland part of the Isle of Dogs although it was several decades before the peninsula was fully colonised. The company abandoned its horse-ferry service in 1844 but continued to levy tolls until the Metro­pol­itan Board of Works bought out the owners and removed the toll-gates in 1885.

Westferry Road has been progres­sively diverted and extended, finally meeting West India Dock Road when the London County Council demol­ished the Rosher estate in 1960. This junction is the site of Westferry station, opened in 1987 as one of the original fifteen stops on the Docklands Light Railway.

The immediate vicinity of the station (once the heart of the Chinese East End) remained unre­gen­er­ated for many years after Canary Wharf’s towers cast their long shadows here – and that’s still the case under the railway arches on Trinidad Street. Elsewhere, however, new blocks of apart­ments, studios and live/work units now mingle with postwar council flats.

A blue plaque in Westferry Road celebrates the building in 1858 of Brunel’s Great Eastern, the largest steamship of the century.

Postal district: E14
Station: Docklands Light Railway (zone 2)