All that talk of tall buildings got me wondering how many there are in Greater London. This is a vexed question, because what counts as 'tall', what counts as finished, indeed what even counts as a building?
I decided tall meant 'over 100m' because that's Wikipedia's cut-off, whereas the City tends to say 75m. I included topped-out buildings that are already part of the skyline, even if not entirely complete. I discounted TV transmitters, telecoms towers, football stadia, observation decks and ferris wheels because they're structures rather than buildings.
I turned to Wikipedia's List of tallest buildings and structures in London, which has a gold star so I hoped would be accurate, and started bashing the data. Then I spotted it contained errors, for example a 2020 completion date on a massive residential tower that's still a hole in the ground, so went off and did a lot more research elsewhere. I ended up with almost 100 100m+ buildings on my list. I'm fairly happy with the results, but they won't be 'correct'.
Boroughs with the most tall buildings(100m+) 1) Tower Hamlets (30) 2) City of London (21) 3) Southwark (9) 4) Newham (7) 5) Hackney (6) 6) Lambeth (4) 7) Camden (3) 7) Islington (3) 7) Wandsworth (3) 7) Westminster (3) 11) Croydon (2) 11) Hammersmith & Fulham (2)
» Tower Hamlets wins easily, entirely thanks to Docklands. The majority of skyscrapers are at Canary Wharf but significant clusters exist alongside at Blackwall and around Millwall Inner Dock. Highrise development kicked off with One Canada Square in 1991, then really powered ahead from 2002 onwards. All the early tall buildings were office blocks but the latest fashion is very much residential, indeed a comfortable majority of Tower Hamlets' 30 are for living rather than working. Being Britain's fastest growing borough, expect a lot more.
» The City's next, as we saw yesterday.
Between them the City and Tower Hamlets contain well over half of London's tall buildings.
» Southwark's 9 include the Shard, the UK's pre-eminent building, plus four other residential buildings on the South Bank and four more at Elephant & Castle.
» Newham's 7 are all in Stratford. Manhattan Loft Gardens (143m) is Outer London's tallest building.
» Hackney's 6 are almost all on the border with the City of London, but with a residential outlier at Woodberry Down.
» Lambeth = Vauxhall + the Shell Centre.
» Camden includes 1960s classics Centre Point and Euston Tower, plus a block of student accommodation behind King's Cross.
» Islington's whoppers lie along the City Road.
» Wandsworth's appearance is thanks to the explosion of development at Nine Elms, which is very much work in progress so expect numbers to shoot up imminently.
» Westminster's 3 are all more than fifty years old (Millbank Tower, Portland House, London Hilton). The council simply don't believe in highrise building, so the West End skyline remains in characterful contrast to the adjacent City.
» Croydon may be South London's Manhattan with twelve buildings over 60m, but only two are over 100m.
» Hammersmith & Fulham's 2 are the (1960s) Empress State Building and a new tower in White City.
The only other boroughs with a 100m+ building are Kensington & Chelsea, Haringey, Redbridge and (North) Greenwich.
The majority of London boroughs have no 100m+ buildings at all. They still have tall buildings, because in the suburbs height is entirely relative. But the really tall stuff restricts itself to where real estate is the most expensive, around London's two financial hubs.
Also, most of London's tall buildings are very recent. Over half are from the last decade, and most of these have been completed since 2015. By contrast only two 100m+ buildings were built between 1981 and 2000, both at Canary Wharf. The rush to build high is now relentless, or will be so long as London's economy holds out, changing the capital's skyline forever.