1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Poplar (borough)

POPLAR, an eastern metropolitan borough of London, England, bounded N. by Hackney, S. by the river Thames, and W. by Stepney and Bethnal Green, and extending E. to the boundary of the county of London. Pop. (1901), 168,822. The river Lea, which the eastern boundary generally follows, is believed to have been crossed towards the north of the modern borough by a Roman road, the existence of which is recalled by the district-name of Old Ford; while Bow (formerly Stratford-le-Bow or Stratford-atte-Bowe) was so named from the “bow” or arched bridge which took the place of the ford in the time of Henry II. South of these districts lies Bromley; in the south-east the borough includes Blackwall; and a deep southward bend of the Thames here embraces the Isle of Dogs. Poplar falls within the great area commonly associated with a poor and densely crowded population under the name of the “East End.” It is a district of narrow, squalid streets and mean houses, among which, however, the march of modern improvement may be seen in the erection of model dwellings, mission houses and churches, and various public buildings. In the north a part of Victoria Park is included. In Blackwall and the Isle of Dogs streets give place to the extensive East and West India Docks (opened in 1806) and Millwall Dock, with shipbuilding, engineering, chemical and other works along the river. Blackwall has been a shipping centre from early times. From the south of the Isle of Dogs (the portion called Cubitt Town) a tunnel for foot-passengers (1902) connects with Greenwich on the opposite shore of the Thames, and lower down the river is the fine Blackwall tunnel, carrying a wide roadway, completed by the London County Council in 1897 at a cost, inclusive of incidental expenses, of £1,383,502. Among institutions the Poplar Accidents Hospital may be mentioned. Near the East India Docks is the settlement of St Frideswide, supported by Christ Church, Oxford. In Canning Town, which continues this district of poverty across the Lea, and so outside the county of London, are Mansfield House, founded from Mansfield College, Oxford; and a Women's Settlement, especially notable for its medical work. The metropolitan borough of Poplar includes the Bow and Bromley and the Poplar divisions of the Tower Hamlets parliamentary borough, each returning one member. The borough council consists of a mayor, 7 aldermen and 42 councillors. Area, 2327·7 acres.