During the 19th century the British Empire was expanding at such a rapid rate that London’s ports could not handle the influx in merchant ships. Entrepreneur George Parker Bidder sketched a plan to build docks deeper than they had ever been before in marshland known as Lands End. Bidders vision became a reality on 1855 when the 13m deep Victoria Dock was opened, complete with the latest technology. By 1880 the Docks had grown to be the biggest base for cargo ships in London. Over time two more docks were created, Albert Dock in 1880 and King George V Dock in 1921. The group of docks were furthermore known as the Royal Docks. World War II saw the Royal Docks hit with significant damage by German bombers, whom believed that destroying the ports would have a strong negative impact on Britain’s war efforts. Regardless the Royal Docks enjoyed a brief boom post War. With technological advances in the 1960s, larger ships were required to move the containerised cargo which the Royal Docks could not accommodate. As a result, they officially closed to commercial traffic in December 1981. The London Docklands Development Corporation was born in mid-1981 to regenerate the abandoned Docks area. A new campus for the University of East London was constructed in 2000 on the old Royal Albert Dock. The waterfront campus includes a 24/7 Docklands library, a £21m SportsDock centre and on campus accommodation – one of the few London Universities to do so.
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