The City Canal, lying to the south of the West India Docks, was completed by the City of London in 1805, as a shortcut across the Isle of Dogs between Blackwall and Wapping. It was hoped that the canal would assist in clearing the hundreds of moored ships that clogged the river.
Since no tolls were charged the canal was soon considered a liability and was sold to the West India Dock Company in 1829. They changed it into a timber dock. Several years later it was enlarged and renamed the South West India Dock.