Tower Hamlets launches bid at Tower of London to be a ‘city’

London’s deprived East End has officially waved off its bid to become the UK’s latest city.

The formal ceremony to become the ‘City of Tower Hamlets’ was launched at noon at the Tower of London.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets launched the bid with its “historic past and vibrant future” which is being submitted to the Cabinet Office tomorrow (Friday).

The launch at one of the world’s most iconic landmarks and Britain’s oldest and most historic building is within the London borough’s own boundaries.

It is aimed to highlight the East End’s rich and varied past—with an eye to the future and the riches that ‘city status’ could bring to London’s most deprived and overcrowded patch.


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‘City’ status would put Tower Hamlets on a par with the wealthy City of Westminster, Mayor Lutfur Rahman believes.

The Mayor has the backing of the affluent Canary Wharf business district—also within Tower Hamlets—and was joined in the launch by Canary Wharf’s strategic advisor Howard Dawber, along with East End schoolchildren and beefeaters from The Tower in the Town Hall’s bid to become a ‘city’ hall, but against competition from Reading, Middlesbrough and Blackpool.

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Tower Hamlets historically is a collection of hamlets, parishes, municipalities and liberties d0wn the centuries, all within three miles of The Tower known collectively as the ‘Tower’ hamlets.

Victorian London expanded eastwards and absorbed the municipalities around Whitechapel, St George’s-in-the-East, Wapping, Mile End Old Town and the liberties around Spitalfields like Norton Folgate.

But poverty and overcrowding grew when the London Docks opened along the Thames and with the coming of the railways through the heart of East London, attracting huge swathes of immigrants from the country and abroad.

Once the County of London was established in 1888, the need for modernisation became paramount. The metropolitan boroughs emerged in 1900.

London’s East End became the boroughs of Stepney, Bethnal Green and Poplar. They finally merged into a single union in Greater London’s reorganisation in 1965 to become the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, stretching from The Tower to the Isle of Dogs and including the newly-emerging Canary Wharf.

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