Living in Canning Town: area guide to homes, schools and transport links

The future looks shipshape in Canning Town, where a £3.7 billion regeneration project promises to deliver 10,000 new homes to this former docklands district.

Click to follow

The gleaming new towers of Canning Town in east London look down on a  working-class suburb of small terrace houses interspersed with post-war estates and the high-rise blocks that replaced streets wiped out in the Blitz.

Plans by the local council to regenerate Canning Town and nearby Custom House will cost £3.7 billion and deliver 10,000 new homes, two improved town centres and two new streets, to bring coherence to an area currently bisected by noisy arterial roads and ugly flyovers.



The bright red residential Vermilion Tower has become a landmark. Below it, long-standing Rathbone Market is re-establishing itself in a new public square. On the other side of the A13, a town centre is being created at Hallsville Quarter with the first phase of 179 flats and a new Morrisons supermarket opening later this year.

At Custom House next to the Docklands Light Railway station, a giant gantry is evidence of the construction of the new Crossrail station, at the point where trains will plunge below ground on their way to Paddington.

Canning Town is named after the Victorian governor-general of India, Lord Canning, who in the four years following the opening of the area’s Royal Victoria Dock in 1855, managed to suppress the Indian Mutiny and nationalise the assets of the East India Company.



Almost all of Canning Town's primary schools are judged at least "good" by Ofsted

Leisure and the arts
The Crystal at Royal Victoria Dock is a visitor attraction run by Siemens that demonstrates sustainability. The  nearest cinema is the 11-screen  Cineworld multiplex at the O2 on the Greenwich Peninsula, reached via cable car. The two local council-owned swimming pools, both with 25-metre and teaching pools, are at Newham  Leisure Centre in Prince Regent Lane and Balaam Leisure Centre in Balaam Street. 

Shops and restaurants
The biggest retail excitement in Canning Town itself is the recent arrival of a branch of the East End bakery Percy Ingle. Apart from this new bakery and Rathbone Market, the high street along Barking Road has little to offer beyond a few Russian stores, some Asian shops with good fruit and vegetables, BJ’s traditional pie & mash shop, and a wonderful old-fashioned tailors shop, Lukes. 

There are local shops on Freemasons Road close to Custom House DLR station and there are restaurants in and around the square in front of the ExCeL exhibition centre and overlooking Royal Victoria Dock near the cable car station.

Open space
Canning Town Recreation Ground in Prince Regent Lane has a cycle speedway and an Outdoors in the City facility with a climbing wall, abseiling, archery and bushcraft. There is a small adjoining wood, Ashburton Wood, created following the demolition of a school in 1984. 

The Canning Town Caravanserai, an outdoor community space in Silvertown Way, is the scene of markets and community events, and has a food-growing space.

In summer there is a beach at the western end of Royal Victoria Dock overlooking WakeUp Docklands, a wakeboarding centre next to The Oiler Bar. The bar, open on Friday and Saturday evenings, is housed in a former Royal Navy refuelling barge. 

Thames Barrier Park in Silvertown is an award-winning park overlooking the Thames Barrier. It is famed for its green dock, which features undulating hedges echoing the waves on the river.

Council: Newham council is Labour controlled and Band D council tax for the new financial year is £1,240.63.

Who told this Rolling Stone to stop dancing? Image: Getty

Three things about Canning Town

Who told Mick Jagger to stop dancing?
The Bridge House was a famous music venue in Canning Town that ran from 1975 to 1982. The landlord Terence Murphy wrote about his life organising gigs involving an eclectic mix of musicians including Iron Maiden, the Tom Robinson Band, Dire Straits and U2. In 1980, Mick Jagger came with fellow Rolling Stone Keith Richards to watch their drummer Charlie Watts play with Ian Stewart and Alexis Korner in the band Rocket 88. Jagger had to be told to stop dancing as the pub only had a licence for dancing on stage.

How did Hermit Road in Canning Town make footballing history?
It was where the team that eventually became West Ham United played their first two games. The team has its origins in an amateur club formed by the owner of the Thames Ironworks at the mouth of the River Lea. The club was known as the Thames Ironworks Football Club. It played its first game on September 7, 1895 against Royal Ordnance Factories Football Club and drew 1-1. It was reformed as West Ham United in 1900.

Where was a wartime tragedy covered up for 70 years?
On September 10, 1940 Hallsville School took a direct hit from a German bomber. Many Canning Town residents were sheltering in the basement. The government claimed 77 people died, but for years locals claimed the figure was nearer 600. Papers released from the National Archives in 2010 proved the residents were right and there had been a cover-up. A new school was built on the site in 1948 and there is a plaque in the playground commemorating the tragedy.

Photographs by Daniel Lynch

Follow us on Twitter @HomesProperty, Facebook and Instagram