Some years ago, the BBC commissioned a series of short films to fill gaps in their schedules, each being 10 minutes long, including trailers, about architecture.

One of them being presented by Jools Holland who took rather a fancy to the newish Canary Wharf, and now offers us a chance to remind ourselves just what an exceptionally aloof structure the original tower was before it was surrounded by even more towers.


Being a celeb, he is allowed to stand right at the top of the tower, inside the pyramid, and climb out onto the pathway that runs around the top a few floors below.

There’s also a few comments about ground architecture, and it was then that I realised I had seen the film before, but was unable to find it as I had presumed that softly spoken Dan Cruickshank had presented it — as the only bit I could really remember were admiring comments about the detailing on the lamp posts.

Nope, a musician was the presenter, so much for my fallible memory.

The film has a fleeting moment to delight transport geeks, of early DLR trains pulling into Canary Wharf station. A comical comment about the symmetry of Greenwich being ruined is actually quite an interesting point about how the long distance landscape affects views across London.


You can now also delight in nine minutes of Canary Wharf as it was in the year Ninteen Hundred and Ninty Six thanks to good old iPlayer, where the entire series has also been put online.




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  1. LadyBracknell says:

    I used to be able to see Canary Wharf (just) when I lived in the Deptford area and remember when One Canada Square stood in splendid isolation. Now it’s just about identifiable because of the pyramid roof amongst the jungle of other equally tall buildings.

    Thanks for the link to the other films. I well remember the drubbing that Alexander Fleming House used to receive and always thought it a rather grim building. However, I call well the uproar when the proposal to convert the building into apartments was announced. Now it’s just one of many such buildings in the now ‘gentrified’ Elephant & Castle.

  2. Howard says:

    I had a good friend who worked for Canary Wharf (about 15 years ago?) and he arranged for me, my wife and two children to go not only onto the top but also outside, right next to the pyramid. We had to walk past the maintenance machinery, then out onto the balcony. Super experience that not many others will have had!

    I now need to find someone who works at the Shard! 🙂

  3. LadyBracknell says:

    My sister went for a birthday dinner at the Shard. I like high views, but I would rather not be reliant on a lift, so I go to Greenwich Park, Primrose Hill or Alexandra Palace.

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