With the formation of Greater London in 1965, the former Essex county boroughs of West Ham and East Ham were joined together to create the London Borough of Newham.
Joining them was North Woolwich which used to be inconveniently lumped together with Woolwich on the opposite side of the river.
The Thameside areas of North Woolwich and Silvertown are part of London’s Dockland’s, but generally speaking, regeneration has been slower than the areas around the docks nearer to the city centre.
The first major project was the Thames Barrier which stretched across the river between Silvertown and New Charlton. It was designed to protect London from high tides surging up the Thames from the North Sea and flooding the city. Work started in 1974 and took ten years to complete, and up until now at least, has been successful it what it was built to do.
Another thing that stretches across the river is the Emirates Airline cable car which transports people across the sky between the Royal Victoria Dock and Greenwich. Most people seem to regard it as a tourist attraction though rather than a serious commuter transport facility.
There are (or were) three docks that make up London’s Royal Docks – the Royal Victoria, the Royal Albert and King George V, and sandwiched between the last two is another location where you can be whisked across the sky – the London City Airport, but the days of ships loading and unloading cargo at the docks are long gone.
The docks have been generally smartened up and a large new exhibition and international convention centre (Excel) constructed, but the area has still some way to go to before its industrial base has completely gone.
Excel was a venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics, where sports such as boxing, judo, fencing and weightlifting took place, but the main location for the London Olympics was at Stratford, an area that desperately needed a lift.
Before 2012 there would have been very little to entice tourists to this part of the city, but with the regeneration that the games provided (although not to everyone’s advantage), there are now more reasons to come here.
Apart from the great sports facilities at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, there is also an emphasis on creating an environmentally friendly habitat along the Lea Valley, and that’s not all. The adjacent Westfield shopping centre offers a major source of retail therapy, and future plans include a cultural hub which will see the likes of the Victoria & Albert Museum bring some much-needed escapism to this part of East London.
A large number of local people are in low paid work and the political allegiances are firmly in favour of the Labour Party. In the 2014 borough elections Labour won all 60 seats.
The estimated number of people living in Newham in 2017 was 348,000, and at the last count 16.7% were white British and 32% Muslim.