The Mayor of Tower Hamlets has given the go ahead for Tower Hamlets Council to bid for city status as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.

The council is throwing its hat in the ring with full backing from Canary Wharf Group, local businesses and community groups and sees itself as a strong contender up against the likes of Middlesbrough, Blackpool and Reading.

The Mayor believes city status will bring a raft of benefits to the area and put Tower Hamlets firmly on the map as a unique, vibrant and exciting place to live, work and visit.

City status will enhance and unify the many diverse aspects of our borough: including our arts and creative industries, cultural centres, historic visitor attractions and economic hubs.

The accolade will also pay homage to the borough’s rich and fascinating East End heritage.

The history of the nation is reflected in this borough from the Tower of London to the Docks which traded with every corner of the earth. The borough has been home to successive groups of immigrants and continues to play this pivotal role as new communities make their home here and thrive together.

The borough boasts an unrivalled history of social reform with the first ever social housing built in Tower Hamlets on the Boundary Estate. Prominent local politicians who campaigned for equality include George Lansbury, Clement Attlee and William Crooks.

As a young borough, Tower Hamlets made itself heard on important issues shaping national policies and reform.

This is an ideal opportunity for the borough to demonstrate both our pride in our heritage, values and community, and our aspiration to play a major role in the future of the country.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: “I feel being a city would be a fantastic boost to the borough and really show what we have to offer. We are unique in that we have a thriving business and shopping district in Canary Wharf, an innovative arts scene, a first-rate university on our doorstep in Queen Mary, and a vibrant community spirit, which has embraced different groups of people throughout our history.

“The royal wedding celebrations which I attended were testament to the genuine community spirit that exists in the borough and there is a real appetite to build on this pride and let everyone know what an amazing place Tower Hamlets is. I hope residents will support our bid to become a city.”

Howard Dawber, Strategic Advisor at Canary Wharf Group said: “I am honoured to have been invited by the Mayor to help support the Tower Hamlets’ bid for City Status. For a thousand years the East End of London has been the engine room of the capital – the factories, the docks, now the business centre too. Our borough has the most amazing diverse community from all over the world and so much history.”

“Our bid will be a bid for the hardworking, proud and ambitious people of east London. East Enders made London what it is today – it’s time the east end was able to look the West End in the eye and say yes, we are a City too.”

The council will be submitting the bid document on May 27 and residents are being encouraged to submit images of the borough which best illustrates what is unique about Tower Hamlets.

To enter, email your images to by May 20. The Mayor will select the images for the bid. Residents can send in images after this date too as we will be planning an exhibition later this year.

City status is available for only one local authority area in the UK in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. To find out more visit


For further information, please contact:

Hamish McDougall
Group Communications Manager
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2326
M: 07779 888 075