Centenary of the Royal Docks celebrates historical past and ambitious vision for future
Few places can claim to have been a conduit for as much culture and commerce to the UK as the Royal Docks, and this year, on the centenary of its completion, the Royal Docks Team is looking to showcase and celebrate the area’s historic past and ambitious future.
Where once it was the nation’s gateway to the world, today it is one of London’s largest Opportunity Area’s and the capital’s only Enterprise Zone, making it the focus of significant growth. An ambitious public sector regeneration programme is underway that will deliver thousands of new and affordable homes and jobs, as well as improved transport connectivity and cultural infrastructure. It has the potential to deliver 25,000 new homes and 60,000 new jobs within the next 20 years, supported by the arrival of the Elizabeth line, making it a significant new business and visitor destination, and a vital part of the capital’s civic and cultural heart.
A new home for City Hall
The Royal Docks will also soon be home to City Hall, the political seat of the Capital. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced plans to move from the GLA’s current home in Southwark last year to The Crystal. The Mayor believes that the move to The Crystal will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of Royal Docks, bringing a wealth of new opportunities to the area and its communities.
One hundred years ago the Royal Docks secured its position as a global centre for trade and industry, connecting the world of commerce and opportunity to the capital. Today it is the site of one of London’s most ambitious regeneration project
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
To celebrate this past hundred years while looking forward to the next, The Royal Docks Team called on members of the public to be a part of the renaming of 'Siemens Brothers Way', as it prepares to welcome the Mayor of London and the London Assembly to their new home at The Crystal building.
In collaboration with the Royal Docks History Club and Custom House Bookshop, the Royal Docks Team organised a series of community workshops exploring the history and diversity of the Royal Docks as well as the area’s future. These sessions helped compile a longlist of 20 options for the Crystal’s new address and from these, three names were shortlisted: World’s Gate Way, Kamal Chunchie Way and People’s Way. These were then put to a public vote, which generated more than 1500 responses. The winner of the poll can be revealed as Kamal Chunchie Way, named after the eponymous race relations pioneer from Sri Lanka who founded the Coloured Men's Institute in 1926 for sailors, dock workers, and local residents.
The poll aimed to celebrate the past, present and future of the Royal Docks through the selection of a road name inspired by the stories and reflections of the area’s unique heritage and diverse community. More information on the renaming process and collection of the narratives that workshop participants shared can be found here.
Let’s Do Royal Docks
A packed summer of free things to do in the Royal Docks, also launched last week, bringing international artists and community projects alike to London’s new cultural quarter. The programme aims to highlight and celebrate the range of creative talent in the area through a number of free events, installations and waterside experiences. More than 26 events will take place between June and September, including theatre premieres, art installations, heritage projects, music, film and more. For more on the line-up visit here.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “One hundred years ago the Royal Docks secured its position as a global centre for trade and industry, connecting the world of commerce and opportunity to the capital. Today it is the site of one of London’s most ambitious regeneration project – creating a new commercial district and visitor destination with thousands of new homes and jobs. Its global heritage will continue to play a vital role as we shape the area’s future and I am excited to be relocating City Hall to the Crystal building in the newly renamed Kamal Chunchie Way and helping to turbo-charge the regeneration of the Royal Docks.”
Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, Mayor of Newham and Co-chair of the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone Board, said: “I am delighted to hear the result of the public vote renaming Siemens Brothers Way to Kamal Chunchie Way. The new name will stand as a fitting tribute to this man who settled here in the Royal Docks and contributed so much to support the dockworkers and sailors who came here from around the globe in their struggle for fairness and equality. It is very empowering for people to see their own history honoured in their own community and his name will remind us all every day that together we can make a better Newham.”
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