To the north of Docklands, Poplar retains its working class character. Its eastern flank is marked by an urban motorway and the River Lea. Once, this river marked the boundary of London, and all 'noxious' industry was relegated to its eastern bank. Thus there were tanning plants, rendering plants, soap factories, match factories, paint and dye manufacturers along its length. Poplar itself housed much shipping-related business; the warehouses, shipwrights, tool makers, shipchandlers and others providing employment to the locals, and to some extent they still do. This is no Silicon Valley.
Poplar residents used to work in the docks, and were thus much involved in strikes and workers' rights issues. Much of what might be called the Labour Movement - as opposed to academic Socialism - originated in areas such as this. In 1927 the entire Poplar council was jailed when they instigated a rates strike, refusing to collect rates (taxes) to be spent across London rather than in support of the local unemployed.