The Pool of London is divided into two parts, the Upper Pool and Lower Pool. The Upper Pool consists of the section between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, while the Lower Pool traditionally runs from Tower Bridge to the Cherry Garden Pier in Rotherhithe. It was of vital importance to London for centuries - as early as the 7th century the Venerable Bede wrote that the Pool was the reason for London's existence - but reached its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries. By this time the river was lined with nearly continuous walls of wharves running for miles along both banks, and hundreds of ships moored in the river or alongside the quays. The congestion was so extreme that it was said to be possible to walk across the Thames simply by stepping from ship to ship. London's Docklands had their origins in the lack of capacity in the Pool of London, which prompted landowners to build enclosed docks with better security and facilities than the Pool's wharves.
The abrupt collapse of commercial traffic in the Thames due to the introduction of shipping containers and coastal deep-water ports in the 1960s emptied the Pool and led to all of the wharves being closed down, and many being demolished. The area was extensively redeveloped in the 1980s and 1990s to create new residential and commercial neighbourhoods.
In 1996, an organisation - the Pool of London Partnership - was established to help promote urban renewal of the areas north and south of the river. It also extended its remit slightly further eastwards to include the docks and wharves of St Katharine Docks and Shad Thames. After a decade of successful regeneration and an investment of approximately £100m, the Pool of London Partnership was due to dissolve in March 2007 with its work to be partially continued by three new organisations: the London Bridge Business Improvement District Company, the Potters Fields Park Management Trust and the Tower Hill Management Group.
The 'core area' includes Borough Market, London Bridge, Guy's Hospital, London Bridge railway station, Hay's Galleria, HMS Belfast, City Hall, Shad Thames, Tower Bridge, St Katharine Docks, the Tower of London, Tower Hill tube station and the Monument to the Great Fire of London.
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