East London’s changing economy

Key stage 4 Geography

Enquiry question: How is the economy of east London changing?

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understanding

The basis of east London’s economy was once manufacturing industry

This changed with the closure of the docks and Dockland and Olympic regeneration

Manufacturing industry has almost gone, to be replaced by financial and creative industries

Geographical skills

Annotated field sketch

Questionnaire about jobs

Land use mapping

Business location assessment

Learning outcomes

Most students will be able to:

Complete a timeline for Dockland regeneration

Draw and annotate a field sketch to highlight economic change in Docklands

Carry out a questionnaire about the jobs people do at Canary Wharf

Map present day land use and evidence of past manufacturing in Hackney Wick

Assess the suitability of Here East for a new business

Pre-visit recommendation

Students read about economic change in east London, including the closure of the docks and decline of manufacturing industry.


Sheet 1: Economic change in east London


Meet at Canary Wharf station. Point out the docks that were once filled with boats, which brought many of the raw materials used by manufacturing industry in east London.

Visit Docklands Museum to find out about the docks decline and regeneration, to put the main events in order on a timeline.


Sheet 2: Old photos of east London

Sheet 3: Docklands timeline


Location 1: West India Dock Students draw and annotate a field sketch to show evidence of past and present economic activities, including the dock, cranes, warehouses, international banks and new building construction. Locate site for sketch on Docklands map.

Location 2: Canary Wharf station Students carry out a questionnaire with workers to find out which economic sector they work in and what type of job they do.

Then, travel by TfL to Hackney Wick via Stratford.

Location 3: Hackney Wick Working in groups, walk around the area to map land use, including residential, retail, leisure, creative and manufacturing industry. Identify evidence of past manufacturing industry to locate on the map. Take photos of evidence.

Location 4: Here East Walk to Here East, where students assess its suitability as a location for a new business. Students work in a group, each group choosing one business for which they carry out the assessment.


Sheet 4: Docklands map

Sheet 5: Employment questionnaire

Sheet 6: Hackney Wick map

Sheet 7: Hackney Wick land use

Sheet 8: Business location assessment

Sheet 9: Here East summary


Compare and contrast Canary Wharf and Hackney Wick/Here East as locations for economic activities. Consider what industries were there before, when and why they declined, the need for regeneration, the type of regeneration and what new industries have emerged.


Sheet 10: Canary Wharf/Hackney Wick comparison