About 1857, when I was living at Poplar, the building of the Leviathun steamship, designed by the great Brunel, was going on, and I remember walking to the further end
of the Isle of Dogs to see it lying on the shore after the first attempt at launching. At that time there were one or two small factories near the Folly House on the north-east corner of the island, but otherwise it was all pasture land and marsh intersected by narrow roads and ditches. The ship, afterwards known as the Great Eastern, was marvellous for its enormous size and construction. It had several paddle-wheels and screw propellers with their respective engines, but was so extravagant in fuel that I believe it made only one paying voyage, and that was in laying the Atlantic Telegraph cable.
Professor Henry Adams