Somehow missed this, but the DLR has published A Brief History of Time the Docklands as a station by station guide. The booklet, some 28 pages long gives 2-3 paragraphs to the history of the area which each station is located in.

A Brief History of the DocklandsI picked up a copy from the Greenwich Tourist Advice Centre (which I visit reguarly to see if any events are being promoted) and its not a bad little publication. It’s rather light on detail, but it isn’t supposed to be an Encyclopaedic journal after all, so that is acceptable.

From the press release:

For example, did you know that St Anne’s Church, a few minutes from Limehouse station, inspired the Victorians to make tiered wedding cakes?

Yes, that is a very well known story.

Or that The Gun pub, built in the 1700s and now close to Blackwall station, houses a concealed staircase with a spy hole facing the river that was once used to spot revenue inspectors.

No – and I must go to have a look!

It seems that the booklet wont be on general distribution though, as it is being made available though “schools, libraries and visitor attractions”, so you might have to hunt a bit to get a copy. The DLR will post out leaflets though, and when it is available, presumably you can order a copy from their ordering form.

Westferry DLR station

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5 Comments

  1. Thanks for this, it looks well worth seeking out a copy!

  2. “For example, did you know that St Anne’s Church, a few minutes from Limehouse station, inspired the Victorians to make tiered wedding cakes?”

    I’d be interested to see their source on this – I’ve always been told that it was the spire of St. Brides in Fleet Street.

  3. petoskystone

    sounds like a neat little book to clip on to.

  4. IanVisits

    I’d be interested to see their source on this – I’ve always been told that it was the spire of St. Brides in Fleet Street.

    I think the story is apocryphal to be frank – and whilst I usually heard about the Limehouse spire, it wouldn’t surprise me if there are a couple of dozen churches dotted around the country making the same claim to fame for their local audiences.

  5. Elizabeth

    Sorry for this late comment; I’ve just seen the booklet. But I must point out that the text is shot through with silly little errors! Just one example: “Mudchute” says “Millwall Dock was chosen by Isambard Kingdom Brunel to build The Great Eastern”. Wrong on two counts: 1) It was built across two riverbank shipyards because no dock was big enough and 2) It slid sideways into the Thames ten years before Millwall Dock was opened. There are many other slips needing correction!

    Nevertheless, the booklet is a great idea, it is handsome and a welcome reminder that East London’s present is built on a fascinating and important past. It passes the first test of any booklet – people will pick it up and look at it. The layout and illustrations are attractive and sometimes witty, but, the text needs to be corrected.

    The press release says schools are among the intended users of the booklet. They could perform a valuable service by challenging their pupils to write to DLR about all the mistakes they find.

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