Hidden London

Island Gardens

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Tower Hamlets

A DLR station and small riverside park at the tip of the Isle of Dogs. After William Cubitt had built up the south-eastern quarter of the island he leased land from the Admiralty to put a handful of grand villas along the waterfront here. To accompany these he commissioned a plantation, with dozens of varieties of trees and shrubs. The ground was planted but the villa scheme was a failure; only two were built and one of these lasted fewer than ten years. The other survived into the twentieth century, eventually becoming a library. The plantation fell into neglect and by the 1880s it was derelict. In 1895 the London County Council created a park with walks, a play area, bandstand and a 700 foot terrace offering a superb view across the Thames to Greenwich.

The Millwall Extension Railway came here in 1872 and the station was named North Greenwich. The line carried some docks traffic as well as daytrippers who crossed to Greenwich by ferry. The ferry service was discontinued after the opening of the free foot tunnel in 1901. The inception of omnibus services and the departure of Millwall football club from the island in 1910 impaired the railway’s viability and the station closed in 1926. It reopened in 1991 as Island Gardens, originally the southern terminus of the DLR. The station was relocated underground in Millwall Park when the line was extended to Lewisham in 1999. Tower Hamlets’ improvements to Island Gardens in the 1980s included a refreshment house with a giant teapot and teacup.

click for area map (opens in a new window)
View of Island Gardens from Greenwich, with the towers of Canary Wharf in the background

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

Brewer's London Phrase & Fable

 
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