Beautiful black and white photos of the Isle of Dogs in the early ’80s

Before Canary Wharf had skyscrapers

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Locals call it ‘the island’. 
 
But these days, it’s probably better – though incorrectly – known as Canary Wharf. The area we're referring to is the Isle Of Dogs, chunk of east London formed by a loop in the River Thames. You’ll have seen it on the credits to EastEnders
 
Today, it’s the UK’s second financial centre after the City Of London: home to banks like Barclays, HSBC and endlessly multiplying skyscrapers and office blocks. 
 
But take a walk around, and you’ll see notice something else: water – lots of it. This isn’t there to soothe stressed bankers on their lunch hour: instead, it’s a relic of the island’s past as the centre of London’s international sea trade. Less Isle Of Dogs more ‘isle of docks’.
 
By the time photographer Mike Seaborne started taking pictures of the area in the early 1980s, the docks and factories that had provided employment had closed. His images of the island – and with the South Dock at its northern edge, it actually is one – show working-class Londoners at work and play in an urban, yet strangely tranquil, environment. 
 
This is the Isle Of Dogs before the money came, before the towers, the shopping centres and countless branches of Pret. It’s kids playing in the street, old ladies waiting for the bus and women taking in the rays on a sunny day. 
 
That period has passed: glass and steel has largely replaced the brick and corrugated iron of then, but today if you walk southwards past Millwall Dock, that community can still be found: smaller than before, but hanging on in a place that’s in London, but not truly part of it. 
 
Something that Mike Seaborne captured perfectly more than 30 years ago.
 
The Isle of Dogs: Before The Big Money by Mike Seaborne is published by Hoxton Mini Press on October 11. Get yours here







Beautiful black and white photos of the Isle of Dogs in the early ’80s Comments












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