This is an old alley route through the docks, with a name that’s both a WW2 legacy, and a recently built tower block.

This path came into existence alongside the development of the West India and Millwall Docks in the 1820s, giving access to the docks for local workers who otherwise would have had a decent walk to get around the far side.

So as a path, although much changed in appearance, it’s nearly 200 years old.

It doesn’t seem to have had a formal name until the 1980s, when the redevelopment of the area began and former workplaces became pleasant dockside walkways – and it gained the name of Thames Quay, as an extension of the walkway around the cleaned up docks.

And so it might have remained, a small spur of path that is used more often today by people accessing the floating Docklands Scouts boat and the local marina. Then a developer came along, saw that the site, while occupied by Dollar Bay Court, a 3-storey residential building was in their minds suitable to be torn down and a tower block built here instead.

That tower is called Dollar Bay, and was completed a couple of years ago.

It was also around then that this stretch of Thames Quay was renamed as Dollar Bay Place.

The naming is not entirely inappropriate, as this patch of the West India docks acquired the nickname of Dollar Bay during WW2 when local dock workers would help US Navy boats based here in the war. It’s said that the American sailors dropped dollar bills from the deck down to the English boats below in gratitude.

Quite what the British dock workers did with the dollar bills in an age before the widespread arrival of the Bureau de change is unclear.

So today we have a passageway that’s one one side 1980s fencing and the marina services, and on the other modern sanitised landscaping and fenced off areas. The new signs indicating the change of name accentuate the barrier between the new and old, and remind you that in modern times, we’re always being watched.

 

 

 

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