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Fish Island

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Tower Hamlets
The borough’s largest industrial area, situated south of Hackney Wick and east of Old Ford. Fish Island is bounded by the River Lea, the Hertford Union canal and the East Cross Route, and is so-called because of its street names (Roach Road, Bream Street, etc). Old Ford Road used to continue through the marshes and across the river and one large house, later known as King John’s Palace, stood here until 1863. In 1865 the Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company bought 30 acres of land as the site for a new works, but instead decided to build these on the east bank of the Lea in Bromley-by-Bow. The company sold the site and the present network of streets was laid out, and filled with small houses and multi-storey factories. Until recently the island’s largest employer was Percy Dalton’s Famous Peanut Company, at the Old Ford Works in Dace Road. Fish Island is now dominated by waste disposal and recycling facilities and wholesale and distribution warehouses, together with some offices. A number of vacant properties have fallen into disrepair and the council has permitted their conversion to live/work loft apartments. The proximity of the Olympics site on the opposite bank of the river Lea has recently heightened the island’s appeal but some or all of the area known as Fish Island South may be taken for Olympic developments. One new and very appropriate resident of the island is Forman and Field, who produce gourmet foods here, including smoked salmon, other smoked and marinated fish and shellfish. The company’s former factory occupied the precise site of the new Olympic stadium, now under construction on the other side of the River Lea.
Channel 4’s Big Breakfast was broadcast from the Lock Keeper’s Cottage at Fish Island from 1992 to 2002. There had been rumours that the show’s founder Bob Geldof would blow up the cottage on the show’s final day but computer tricks were instead used to fake its disappearance.
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Symbolic fins at the gateway to Fish Island
Postal district: E3
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