Voters are asked if they want to change ‘Canary Wharf’ to ‘Millwall’ or kick it into touch

Balancing act... whether to change Canary Wharf polling district name, like this daring escapade in 2017. Picture: Nightscape

Balancing act... whether to change Canary Wharf polling district name, like this daring escapade in 2017. Picture: Nightscape - Credit: Nightscape

The historic name of Millwall could be scoring a comeback on the Isle of Dogs after being booted out in 2014 by the Boundaries Commission that recommended naming the electoral voting district “Canary Wharf”.

Time at Westferry Circus to signal changing 'Canary Wharf' district name to 'Millwall'... green for go, amber to compromise o...

Time at Westferry Circus to signal changing 'Canary Wharf' district name to 'Millwall'... green for go, amber to compromise or red to say no. Picture: CWG - Credit: CWG

But not to be confused with Millwall football club the other side of the Thames at New Cross.

The return to the historic working class Millwall is one of two proposals by Tower Hamlets Labour Party which wants to drop the “Canary Wharf” tag in local council elections.

The other proposal is renaming St Peter’s polling district as “Bethnal Green West” and the current Bethnal Green ward as “Bethnal Green East”.

So Tower Hamlets Council has kicked in a public consultation running until the beginning of February to let voters toss the coin.

Cllr Andrew Wood... suggesting compromise "Millwall & Canary Wharf". Picture: Mike Brooke

Cllr Andrew Wood... suggesting compromise "Millwall & Canary Wharf". Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke


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But the on-pitch battle for Millwall could turn into a political football, with newer residents who see “Canary Wharf” as their turf from the massive redevelopment over the last three decades, while older voters see the old Millwall Docks as their goal.

“The area is no longer associated with Millwall as much as Canary Wharf,” opposition councillor Andrew Wood points out.

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“Canary Wharf identifies where people go shopping. Newcomers to Leamouth development nearby even call their neighbourhood ‘Canary Wharf East’ because it’s where they socialise and don’t know Millwall as much.”

There is, of course, Millwall Park—but that’s not the right polling district, being in neighbouring Blackwall and Cubitt Town at the other end of the Isle of Dogs.

We know it today as Canary Wharf... but Labour Party wants to call this polling district Millwall instead. Picture: CWG

We know it today as Canary Wharf... but Labour Party wants to call this polling district Millwall instead. Picture: CWG - Credit: CWG

Cllr Wood, who represents Canary Wharf at the town hall, is proposing a compromise double-barrel tag where it could be called “Millwall and Canary Wharf” to suit both sides.

“But many people are fed up,” he added. “They say it’s a waste of time changing names in the middle of the pandemic when there are more important things to kick around.”

The name change consultations follow local Labour party suggestions during the council’s Polling District boundaries review last January.

But changing names falls outside that review. The law requires the council to consult before any decision. They could decide on penalty points if the voting is a draw.

One resident in Canary Wharf living in the Millwall Docks is Sammy, who puts his seal of approval on having this consultation...

One resident in Canary Wharf living in the Millwall Docks is Sammy, who puts his seal of approval on having this consultation. Picture: CWG - Credit: CWG

Millwall FC in south London actually started on the Isle of Dogs in 1885 by workers at JT Morton’s factory and went on to lose their first match 5-0.

But some voters in the area dislike today’s reputation of hooligan fans and don’t acknowledge Millwall as the place where they live.

The online survey runs until 5pm on February 2. Anyone without access to the internet can book a computer at Idea stores at Bow, Poplar or Whitechapel, and if needing help can call 020-7364 0872.

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