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Canning Town still remains a relatively deprived area and is undergoing continuing redevelopment.
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Canning Town was also the scene of one of the worst bombing events in the war, although a government cover up at the time hid the full extent of the incident.
In September 1940, local residents were sheltering in the basement of South Hallsville School during an air raid.
However, the local water supply and sewage system was not designed to cope with the increasing number of local residents and businesses, and Canning Town became infamous for its slum living conditions, high poverty levels and outbreaks of smallpox and cholera due to its inadequate sanitary conditions.Reports at the time indicated that around 70 people died in the incident, but it is now believed that close to 600 people died on the site making this the worst civilian casualty rate in a bombing raid during the war.Due to redevelopment programs and damage sustained in the war, much of the housing in and around Canning Town is relatively modern; most rebuilding took the form of new council estates, including a number of high-rise tower blocks, which were popular at the time.Many of the capital’s more dangerous industries were historically located in the East End, safely out of the way of the city of London and its more upmarket central areas.Charles Dickens described some of these industries as “offensive”.
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The increased docklands and shipping activities brought in a new influx of local and overseas workers who needed housing, including a significant community of West African, Caribbean and Asian immigrants.