April 2015 was the 50th anniversary of the coming into operation of the 32 London boroughs of which, in the legislation, Borough Number Five became Tower Hamlets .
The actual name, following the merger of Bethnal Green, Stepney and Poplar was one of nine borough names agreed in September 1963 without controversy. The remaining 23 boroughs took more time to find an acceptable name.
Over the past half century this borough has seen extraordinary change, indeed more than any local authority in the UK and possibly more than any similar authority in Europe, with the exception of Berlin Mitte, which was divided by a notorious wall for three decades.
The population has fallen and then dramatically risen. There has been substantial demographic change and the change from historic industry, including the docks, to the borough becoming the world’s fourth great financial centre would have simply been unimaginable to the 70 council members and officers who assembled in the former Town Hall on Bow Road in April 1965 to assume governance.
Between 1966-1976 some 150,000 jobs in the docks were lost creating enormous social and employment problems.
Yet resilience showed through and the world famous skyline of Canary Wharf has emerged. This resilience has seen the local council emerge stronger and more determined after the scandals of the Rahman years.
This stronger and more determined council must now work with Canary Wharf and the City fringe to bring prosperity across the borough and not just the edges.