Visionary who created London Docklands dies

THE man whose vision created Canary Wharf and the DLR network across East London has died.

Reg Ward, the London Docklands Development Corporation’s first chief executive from 1981 to 1987, died in hospital last Thursday.

He developed and saw through the plans for London City Airport and the Royal Docks and Surrey Quays redevelopment schemes as well as Canary Wharf and the DLR.

Friends and colleagues in the industry still hold regular reunions to celebrate his regime. They held their last one at the Puzzle Bar in the Isle of Dogs in 2008, close to the former headquarters of the corporation.

One former staff member commented: “It’s a good example of the dismay among staff that Reg’s work wasn’t recognised by so much as an MBE, which it seems are issued two-a-penny to others!”

Another wrote on the LDDC website veterans’ page: “What a pity we couldn’t have got some sort of recognition for all he did. Still, we who knew him know he was the force behind the Docklands development which is a lasting memorial.”

Reg started his career in the Inland Revenue and worked his way up to chief executive of Hammersmith & Fulham council in West London and then Hereford & Worcester county council, before joining the LDDC in the ‘shadow period’ in 1980.

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He left after seven years and went on to work on major regeneration projects around the world, the most recent in St Kitts in the West Indies.

Reg and his wife Betty celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in April, 2004, with a party attended by many of the original LDDC staff from Docklands. His wife died early last year.

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