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View of the Great Eastern

It may be interesting to add a few details of the spot upon which this stupendous vessel is being built. The Isle of Dogs, a place which most Londoners have heard of, is however—although already a scene of busy industry—a place which has been but little visited except by those whose employment renders it convenient for them to dwell on the island, as it is called, and a small number who may be brought by curiosity or otherwise to this curious spot.

Having reached the Blackwall Railway station, and taking a peep, as we always do if time allows when in this direction, at the crowds of famous vessels and busy people from various lands who congregate in the East India Docks, we take a westerly direction; and, being provided with a map, we see by it that the Isle of Dogs is a large piece of land of a horse-shoe shape, surrounded by those parts of the Thames called Blackwall Reach, Greenwich Reach, and Limehouse Reach. The west part of the horse-shoe is intersected by two cuttings—one at the entrance of the West India Import and Export Docks, and the other the City canal; those forming two water roads across the Island; there are also the Blackwall road, and the Deptford and Greenwich road, leading to a ferry. Part of the district is seven feet lower than the level of the Thames, and some more of it level with high water mark. Our map, being seven or eight years old, shows no houses on the centre of the island, except a place called Chapel-house.

SOURCE: The Illustrated London News, May 24, 1856