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A chronologial list of the key events in the life of the LDDC.

1980   1981   1982   1983   1984   1985   1986   1987   1988   1989   1990   1991   1992   1993   1994   1995   1996   1997   1998

More details of most of the events can be obtained from the LDDC's Press Releases many of which are available on this site either on this page or via the Popular Press Releases page. Those not published online can be obtained (up to six) by e-mail or by post on a CD [More Details of how to obtain CD]

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1980Nigel Broackes and Bob Mellish

=> Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980 (LGPLA 1980) authorises Secretary of State for the Environment to establish Urban Development Corporations (UDCs) by Order. 
=> Decision announced to set up UDC for London Docklands. 
=> Shadow Chairman (Nigel Broackes), Vice Chairman (Bob Mellish) and Chief Executive (Reg Ward) appointed.
=> Staff from the Department of the Environment and the Docklands Development Organisation staff seconded to help in setting up new UDC. 
=> The draft Area and Constitution Order published - 27th November 1980
=> Early decision taken not to fill any more docks

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Reg Ward (2004)


January-July => Shadow staff settle into former Fred Olsen Line offices on the east side of the Millwall Dock - the office is renamed "West India House".. 
=> More shadow staff appointed including Eddie Oliver (Director of Finance), Mel Hague (Director of Operations), Ted Hollamby (Director of Planning) and Michael Wand (Director of Property).
=> House of Lords Select Committee appointed on 3rd February 1981 to hear objections to the LDDC's Area and Consitution Order. After sitting for 46 days the Select Committee issues its Report on 5th June 1981.
=> Parliament finally approves the the London Docklands Development Corporation (Area and Constitution) Order 1980 (S.I. 1981/936).

2nd July => The LDDC comes into being, the second UDC to be set up under the LGPLA 1980 (the first was Merseyside Development Corporation).  The LDDC's area embraces 5100 acres of three Lodnon Boroughs
=> Orders vesting in LDDC derelict land in Docklands formerly owned by the local authorities, PLA and other public bodies take effect and 657 acres are transferred to the Corporation.

December => First LDDC private housing scheme - for 610 homes at Savage Gardens, Beckton - is given planning permission.

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Michael Heseltine opens  the first private housing scheme at Beckton 1982


January =>  Billingsgate Fish market moves to new premises on the Isle of Dogs

March =>  Bids accepted for the first LDDC private housing sites in Surrey Docks - 480 homes

March =>  LDDC now has 69 members of staff

April =>  Enterprise Zone of 482 acres is established in the Isle of Dogs [Press Release]
=> Canon Workshops on the Isle of Dogs opened by LDDC Chairman

May => Arrangements announced for the funding of community schemes [Press Release]

June => EZ - 1982Dash 7 aircraft lands on Heron Wharf on the Isle of Dogs to prove the concept of the suggested airport in the Royal Docks.
Docklands Public Transport Steering Group reports [Summary of assessment of schemes]

August =>  Airport Feasibility Study published

September => Work begins on the first Enterprise Zone roads on the Isle of Dogs

October =>  Go ahead given for the Docklands Light Railway - detailed planning gets under way

NDash-7 lands on Heron Wharf  - JUne 1982ovember =>  Guide to Design and Development Opportunities on the Isle of Dogs published along with Development Strategy for Limehouse

December =>  Remaining 62 acres of LDDC land in the Enterprise Zone put on the market
=>  Work starts on industrial units at Indescon Court in the Enterprise Zone

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January =>  LDDC appoints first Community Liaison Officer

February =>  Development Strategy Future for Wapping published

March =>  House of Lords supports order vesting in LDDC 140 acres of the former Surrey Docks - so-called the "Southwark Site" [More Details] .

Southwark Site after development 1996

May =>  Northern and Shell publishing group start work on their new HQ in the Enterprise Zone

June => Public inquiry into airport starts.
=> £100m invested in Enterprise Zone in first year.

July => Daily Telegraph signs contract for new print works in Docklands (News International already established in Wapping)

August =>  Government approves £77m funding for the Docklands Light Railway

September => Princess Alexandra formally opens Enterprise Zone ("red-brick" ) roads and ASDA superstores at Beckton and on the Isle of Dogs.

November => LDDC acquires from PLA land and waters in the Royal Victoria Dock. 
=> Housebuilders on LDDC land report 2,208 homes completed. 
=> LDDC unveils plans for the Southwark Site
=> LDDC rebuts critical review by GLC
=> BT announces plans for a comprehenesive fibre optic network for Docklands

December => LDDC Chairman Sir Nigel Broackes announces he is to stand down in July 1984.Sir Nigel Broackes and Christopher Benson

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January => Docklands Clipper bus service starts linking Isle of Dogs with Mile End.

February =>  Heron Wharf on the Isle of Dogs sold to Tarmac Brookglade for development

May =>  LDDC awards Cherry Garden Pier housing site in Southwark to Lovell Farrow

June =>  LDDC hosts USSR v Rest of the World Chess Tournament in first ever satellite match

July =>  Sir Christopher Benson takes over as LDDC Chairman. 

September => Work starts on the original Docklands Light Railway

November =>  Work starts on the infrastructure for the Southwark Site

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Building the original DLR 1985


January =>  LDDC publishes draft development Framework for the Royal Docks

February =>  The Guardian announces plans for printing works on the Isle of Dogs

June => Airport proposal approved by Government after inquiry and High Court challenge

September =>  Parliament asked to approve £50m extension of Docklands Light Railway to Beckton.
=> LDDC sponsors chess festival

October => LDDC Board approves £1.5bn Master Plan for Canary Wharf submitted by consortium of American banks.  Work starts on negotiating the Master Building agreement.

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January =>  First contracts let for new £30m Royal drainage system.New Printing Works at Hamrsmworth  Quay 

January/February =>LDDC compulsorily acquires 746 acres of land in the Royal Docks and Lea Valley Estuary.  Other land acquired by agreement

March => LDDC announces meetings of its Planning Committee will now be held in public. 
=> Annual report says LDDC has spent £279m to date and attracted £1182m in private investment

April => Bill approved to extend Docklands Light Railway to Bank 

May =>  Prince Charles lays Foundation Stone at London City Airport

June => LDDC unveils its strategic highways programme

July =>  Further construction work on Royal drainage system commissioned.
=> Work on £646,000 project to transform Silvertown Tramway into a landscaped route is completed.

September => Mail Newspapers start work on printing works in Surrey Docks (later known as Harmsworth Quay)

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Signing the Canary Wharf MBA


January => Work begins on Tidal Basin Pumping station

March =>  Social Facilities Programmes Unit (SFPU) set up in LDDC to provide greater focus to the social and community, education, training, health, welfare, tourism, arts, leisure and watersports aspects of the Corporation's work.  Later superseded by the Community Services Division

May => LDDC Board approves negotiations with three consortia for major developments in the Royal Docks (all of which foundered in the subsequent recesssion in the property market):

~ Rosehaugh Stanhope for the north side of the Royal Albert Dock and Albert Basin,
~ Laing/Fox/Vom for Londondome Arena proposal for the north side of the Royal Victoria Dock
~ Heron/Mowlem/Conran Roche for south side of Royal Victoria DockOpening the original DLR - July 1987

=> Skillnet, LDDC sponsored youth training scheme, launched. 
=> Financial Times
begins work on its printing works in Leamouth. 

July => Canary Wharf Master Building Agreement signed
=> Original Docklands Light Railway completed

September =>  LDDC and Newham sign Memorandum of Agreementsecuring package of social, community and housing benefits

October => First Flights from London City Airport. 
=> International News Towns Association Conference
held in Royal Docks.

December => LDDC's first Chief Executive, Reg Ward, leaves at the end of the month.  Replaced by Major General Jeremy Rougier who stayed only 17 days and then resigned for "personal reasons".

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March => Michael Honey appointed as LDDC's Chief Executive. [Press Release abouot appointment]  
=> LDDC and ASDA launch computer based Teleshopping scheme for the elderly and disabled on the Isle of Dogs.

April => Work begins on first building contract at Canary Wharf and on the extension of the Docklands Light Railway to Bank
=> Development brief for issued Surrey Quay Phase II[More Details]
Margaret Thatcher driving the first  pile at Canary Wharf

June =>   LDDC and Towers Hamlet sign Accord which secure significant benefits for residents and clears the way for major road and rail projects [Press Release about signing].

July =>   Elizabeth Filkin appointed Director of Community Services and Sunny Crouch as Director of Marketing. 
=> BAe 146 demonstrated at London City Airport.

October =>   Chairman Sir Christopher Benson retires and is replaced by David Hardy.
=> Surrey Quays shopping centre opens.[More Details of new Chairman]

December => LDDC agrees contribution towards the cost of extending the Gill Street Health Centre in Limehouse - part of an LDDC programme to provide to whole of its area with new or refurbished .primary healthcare centres.
=> The planning applications for London Bridge City are submitted and called in for determination by the Secretary of State.  There is a public inquiry in March 1989.
=> Contracts exchanged for sixth Docklands self build scheme.

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March =>   LDDC agrees to buy private housing development at Timber Wharves on the Isle of Dogs as replacement housing for tenants displaced by the Limehouse Link.  Other sites at Devons Road, Bow and Roy Square, Limehouse are acquired later.

June => Public Accounts Committee report on UDCs recognises LDDC's achievements in restoring confidence and attracting investment to Docklands.[Press Release about PAC Report]

August => Major increase in LDDC expenditure on social and community, education and training and housing programmes announced, including £20.5million for social housing at Winsor Park, Beckton.
=> Work starts on refurbishing the Roche Estate in Limehouse with LDDC meeting half the cost. [Press Release about scheme]

Opening of Eastern Gateway Acces Road - October 1990 September =>  Docklands Computer Aided Learning Project launched for Docklands schools in Southwark and Tower Hamlets with £2.2m allocated over two years.

October => Eastern Gateway Access Road (Royal Docks Road) opened.
=> LDDC unveils new Social Housing Strategy [Press Release about EGAR]

November =>Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, launches work on the construction of the Limehouse Link
=> Docklands childcare study published. [Press Release on study]
=> Dr Penny Bevan seconded to LDDC to work on health strategy.

December =>Contract awarded for £116m Beckton Extension of Docklands Light Railway.  Construction starts the following month.

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Social housing at Winsor Park

February =>  New £24m Connaught Crossing opened in the Royal Docks

March =>  LDDC sells site for large new social housing scheme at Winsor Park

April => Royal Docks Spine Road (Royal Albert Way) opened to traffic linking Royal Docks Road with the new Connaught Crossing.

May =>  Work on the widening of North Woolwich Road completed thus completing the strategic highways for the Royal Docks.

June =>Plans for Rosehaugh Stanhope development on the north side of the Royal Albert Dock and Albert Basin are hit by recession and abandoned

October =>  Chief Executive  Michael Honey departs [Press Release about departure]

November => Canary Wharf Eastern Access Road (Trafalgar Way) completed
=> Canary Wharf Tower is topped out

December =>  Re housing of 500 families for the Limehouse Link completed. [Press Release]

Top of Page Eric Sorensen


January =>  Work starts on Bacons City Technology College in the Surrey Docks - the new secondary school is co-sponsored by the LDDC.  LDDC sets up community legal service
=> Board decides to re-organise the management structure of LDDC and launch a study of staff requirements

March =>  Eric Sorensen takes up his appointment as LDDC's new Chief Executive [Press Release about appointment]

May => Basic Skills Support Team launched with LDDC funding. 
=> LDDC provides funds for refurbishment and extension of . Wapping Health Centre

July => LDDC celebrates a decade of achievement.
=> Docklands Special Needs Training report published

September =>  Michael Portillo opens LDDC supported Docklands ITEC computer training facility.
=> Drive to sell remaining EZ sites before the special arrangements come to an end

October =>  Bank Extension of the DLR (£282m) completed. 
=> LDDC welcomes Government's appointment of consultants to report on the development potential of the East Thames Corridor

November => Control of DLR transferred from LRT to LDDC [Press Release about transfer]
=> Planning begins for orderly withdrawal of LDDC

December =>  Lower Lea Crossing (£43m) completed providing a direct link between the Isle of Dogs and the Royal Docks

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Sir MIchael Pickard


January => Formal celebration of the extended and refurbished health centre at Gill Street, Limehouse [More Details about celebration]

February => New LDDC development framework published for the Royal Docks. 
=>  LDDC commissions Docklands social services review
=>  First tenants move into the Winsor Park Housing Estate, Beckton

March => Michael Pickard takes over as LDDC Chairman. 
=> Princess Diana re-launches London City Airport with a longer runway suitable for jet aircraft

April => The Docklands Enterprise Zone expires. 
=> LDDC takes over control of Docklands Light Railway

May =>  Canary Wharf developer is put into administration following slump in UK property market - creditor banks take control [More Details]

June => Action plan announced for 26 historic buildings in Docklands which are at risk

LDDC Visitor Centre

July =>  Work starts on new £11m sewer for the Isle of Dogs

October =>  LDDC Visitor Centre re-launched in Limeharbour

December =>  Formal opening of new community centre for Winsor Park Estate at Beckton - co-funded by LDDC.
=> Increased security at Canary Wharf following attempted bombing by the IRA.

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The Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 is passed to make it easier for UDCs to withdraw from their areas by stages

Eastern Portal of the Limehouse Link

January => Docklands Social Services Study published

March => London Borough of Tower Hamlets announces its HQ is to move to East India Dock

May => Limehouse Link (£292.3m), East India Dock Link and Prestons Road Flyover (£48m) and Aspen Way (£30m) road schemes completed.

June => LDDC abandons abortive scheme for the Londondome Arena on the north side of the Royal Victoria Dock and launches new plan for Exhibition Centre. [More Details about new plan]

October => Canary Wharf taken out of administration

December =>  The first man-made nesting rafts are installed in the docks to attract rare species of birds to the area.

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January =>  Prime Minister John Major inaugurates work on the £2.6bn Jubilee Line Extension.
=>  HRH Prince of Wales lends support for the plan to build an urban village at West Silvetown

March => £258m Beckton Extension of Docklands Light Railway completed. 
=> Work starts on social housing project in the proposed urban village at West Silvertown

May =>  LDDC agrees £7.2m contribution towards the cost of Olympic standard Rowing Course in the Royal Albert Dock

DLR Beckton Extension running through Bow Creek Ecology Park

August => Wimpey Homes chosen as developer of Phase 1 of the urban village in West Silvertown [More Details about choice]

October =>LDDC withdraws from Bermondsey Riverside

December => LDDC launches social care grants scheme

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January =>  Work starts on North Woolwich Pumping Station - completed early 1997. 
=> LDDC chooses developer for exhibition centre on the north side of the Royal Victoria Dock. 
=> Work starts on Bow Creek Ecology Park [Now maintained by the Lee Valley Park - more details]

May => Island Health Centreopens on the Isle of Dogs

West Silvetown Urban Village

August => LDDC . sells 28 acres of land in urban village at West Silvertown to Wimpey Homes
=> Corporation allocates £2m for replacement homes to allow demolition of the tower block at Barnwood Court as part of the village scheme. [More details of plan]

September => LDDC endows newly established Royal Docks Trust (London) with £1.2m to secure the community grants programme in Beckton into the future

October => London City Airport acquired from John Mowlem and Co plc by Dermot Desmond, an Irish entrepreneur [More Airport History]
=> Design chosen for  Thames Barrier Park

December =>LDDC withdraws from Beckton
=> Canary Wharf acquired by the International Property Corporation Ltd consortium.
=> Government approves £7.8m funding for the Thames Gateway Technology Centre - part of the planned Royals university project.

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February => IRA Bomb kills two people and severely damages 6 buildings at South Quay as well as the DLR and Marsh Wall.

March => Formal opening of new footbridge over Limekiln Dock in Limehouse - this completes the Docklands section of the Thames Path. 
=> New footbridge completed linking Butlers Wharf with New Concordia Wharf in Bermondsey

April =>  LDDC grants £1.9m towards new social homes in West Silvertown Urban Village. [More details of grant]
=> Health Secretary opens new Health Centre at Newby Place, E14

May => Newly refurbished Health Centre at Kennard Street North Woolwich is opened
Ceremony to mark the LDDC’s departure from the Surrey Docks

August =>  Norton Healthcare announce proposed purchase of site in the Royal Docks for its European HQ
=> Citibank announce plans to build new UK Headquarters at Canary Wharf

September => CCTV security cordon installed on the Isle of Dogs

October =>  Construction work starts on the Lewisham Extension of the Docklands Light Railway
=>LDDC donates to £2.248m to the Isle of Dogs Community Foundation for projects in Millwall Park and to help meet ongoing community needs
=> Design chosen for footbridge across the Royal Victoria Dock. [Press release about design]

December => LDDC withdraws from the Surrey Docks. 
=> Lottery and LDDC funding secured for International Rowing Course in the Royal Docks - work starts March 1998.

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January => LDDC withdraws from Wapping and Limehouse

February =>  Work starts on the Thames Barrier Park

March =>  Roger Squire and Neil Spence appointed Joint Chief Executives following departure of Eric Sorensen to the Millennium Commission [Press Release about apoitment]
=> LDDC adds a further £1.5m to the endowment of the Royal Docks Trust (London) to secure an ongoing community grants programme across the whole of the Royal Docks.

May => Footbridge opened linking South Quay to Canary Wharf

South Quay Footbridge

September => LDDC transfer Business Park at Cody Road to London Borough of Newham - the site was acquired in 1983 for the relocation on industrial enterprises in the docks,

October => LDDC donates to £2.248m to the Isle of Dogs Community Foundation for projects in Millwall Park and to help meet ongoing community needs
=> LDDC withdraws from the Isle of Dogs. Dock estate on Isle of Dogs transferred to British Waterways. 
=> Royal Victoria Footbridge opened.

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January =>  New footbridge linking St James Gardens with  Limehouse, across the northern approach of the Rotherhithe Tunnel and landing on the Western Services building of the Limehouse Link tunnel.
=> LDDC in partnership with AVP launches Picturebase CD for schools. 
=> First tree planted in the Thames Barrier Park

UEL Docklands Campus - completed 2000

February =>  LDDC approves application by London City Airport to double to limit on the annual number of flights to 73,000.  The application is sent to the Government for endorsement. [Press Release about application]

March =>  Formal launch of construction work on the Docklands Campus of the University of East London

20 March => Thumbs up from Local for LDDC [LDDC Press Release about closing MORI poll]

26 March => An Era Ends with New Beginnings in London Docklands [Last LDDC Press Release]

31st March => LDDC leaves £8m with the Royal Docks Trust (London) to secure projects in the Royal Docks.
=> LDDC withdraws from the Royal Docks and ceases operations

1st July => LDDC finally dissolved by the Urban Development Corporations in England (Dissolution) Order 1998 (SI 1998/953)

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