Poplar, or Poplar All Saints, was historically an extra-parochial area associated with the parish of Stepney which became a chapelry in 1654. Poplar became a parish in its own right in 1817. In 1889 it was transferred from Middlesex to the newly-created County of London and in 1900 became part of Poplar Metropolitan Borough. Poplar Metropolitan Borough was abolished in 1965, becoming part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
On a map of London Poplar can always be identified as the peninsula projecting from the north bank of the River Thames just east of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. The peninsula itself is known as the Isle of Dogs. During the period from 1800 until after World War II it was a community linked to the docks that surrounded it. It suffered badly in the bombing of World War II and the population dropped by more than half between the censuses of 1931 and 1961.
In 1855 the "Poplar District of the Metropolis" was formed, which also included Bromley and Bow. In 1900 the district became the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar and in 1965 it was abolished when the London Borough of Tower Hamlets was established. Poplar Metropolitan Borough was formed from the three civil parishes. In 1907 these three were combined into a single civil parish called Poplar Borough, which covered the same area as the metropolitan borough.
The three civil parishes all took their names from local churches: St. Mary Stratford-le-Bow, St. Leonard Bromley and All Saints Poplar. These names are commonly shortened to Bromley, Bow and Poplar. However, there are other places named Bow and Bromley around London and care must be taken to find the precise one referred to in any context.
From north to south Poplar Metropolitan Borough included the neighbourhoods of:
Since the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has come into being, Poplar has been separated into two wards, Blackwall & Cubitt Town and Millwall, with an east-west border between them. Poplar cannot be found in the 2011 UK census database.
History of the area prior to 1900 will mostly be found in the articles for the various communities or neighbourhoods.
Poplar is No. 20 on the map to the right. All the boroughs and their codes can be found on the page County of London.