Hidden London

Heron Quays

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Tower Hamlets

Canary Wharf’s little sister, originally an eight-acre quay but now extended by a further three acres to connect with Canary Wharf at its eastern end. Narrower than the other quays of the West India Docks, it formerly separated the Export and South Docks and was mostly filled with offices and stores rather than warehouses. There was a herring shed on the quayside from around 1840, but never any trade in herons or with a place of that name. In an early chapter of Docklands redevelopment Tarmac Properties drew up plans in 1981 for a mixed-use scheme that would cover the whole Heron Quays site, but only the first two phases were completed. These were high-tech cabins with monopitch aluminium-clad roofs and colourful enamel panelling. Although generally well received, the buildings were not of the scale and grandeur of neighbouring developments. Despite proposals to build an apartment complex, the rest of the quay remained empty for more than a decade, mainly owing to uncertainty in the property market. In 2001 the Canary Wharf Group bought the site from Tarmac and began work on the HQ project, also known as Canary Wharf South. The scheme consists of five office blocks, of which the three tallest are around 500 feet high. Tenants include Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and Clifford Chance. Heron Quays station has been rebuilt beneath the HQ2 podium, with an underground link to the Jubilee Line station via a new shopping centre called Jubilee Place. The neighbouring Jubilee Park has a moderately pleasing water feature, shown below. The result of all the redevelopment is that, on the ground, the quay is no longer visually distinguishable from the rest of the Canary Wharf complex.

Jubilee Park water feature
click for area map (opens in a new window)
Herons Quays roundabout has Pierre Vivant's Traffic Light Tree, created from 75 working signal heads

To prove the viability of the proposed City Airport, Captain Harry Gee landed a Brymon Dash 7 on the quay in June 1982.

Postal district: E14
Station: Docklands Light Railway, Lewisham branch (Zone 2)

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