Canary Wharf is a major business district located in Tower Hamlets, London, United Kingdom. It is one of London's two main financial centres – along with the traditional City of London – and contains many of the UK's tallest buildings, including the second-tallest, One Canada Square.
Canary Wharf contains around of office and retail space, of which around is owned by Canary Wharf Group. Around 90,000 people work in Canary Wharf and it is home to the world or European headquarters of numerous major banks, professional services firms and media organisations including Barclays, Citigroup, Clifford Chance, Credit Suisse, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, KPMG, MetLife, Morgan Stanley, Skadden, State Street and Thomson Reuters.
Canary Wharf is located in the West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs in the Borough of Tower Hamlets in East London. The West India Docks once formed part of the busiest port in the world. After the docks were closed in 1980 the British Government adopted various policies to stimulate the redevelopment of the area, including through the creation of the London Docklands Development Corporation in 1981 and granting the Isle of Dogs Enterprise Zone status in 1982. In 1987 the Canadian company Olympia and York agreed to construct a major office development on the Isle of Dogs, with construction commencing in 1988.
Canary Wharf is located on the West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs. From 1802, the area was one of the busiest docks in the world. By the 1950s, the port industry began to decline, leading to the docks closing by 1980.
Canary Wharf itself takes its name from No. 32 berth of the West Wood Quay of the Import Dock. This was built in 1936 for Fruit Lines Ltd, a subsidiary of Fred Olsen Lines for the Mediterranean and Canary Islands fruit trade. At their request, the quay and warehouse were given the name Canary Wharf.
The idea of a new financial services district was not popular with local residents as the expectation was that the development would provide no local jobs or transport improvements. However, over the course of the development relations with the local community have improved and more than 7,000 local (Tower Hamlets) residents work at Canary Wharf.
In 1997, some residents living on the Isle of Dogs launched a lawsuit against Canary Wharf Ltd for private nuisance because the tower caused interference with television signals. The residents lost the case.
Rescue and recovery
In December 1995 an international consortium, backed by the former owners of Olympia & York and other investors, bought the scheme. The new company was called Canary Wharf Limited, and later became Canary Wharf Group.
Recovery in the property market generally, coupled with continuing demand for high floor-plate grade A office accommodation, slowly improved the level of interest in the estate. A critical event in the recovery of Canary Wharf was the much-delayed start of work on the Jubilee Line, which the government wanted ready for the Millennium celebrations.
In March 2004 Canary Wharf Group plc was forced to be taken over by a consortium of investors backed by its largest shareholder Glick Family Investments and led by Morgan Stanley using a vehicle named Songbird Estates plc. At the peak of property prices in 2007, the HSBC building sold for a record £1.1 billion.