This shopping precinct was built in the 1960s as part of the redevelopment of Cubitt Town on the eastern side of the Isle of Dogs. In the early 1980s, before the opening of the Asda superstore, it contained a variety of shops including a baker, butcher, chemist, greengrocer, haberdasher, ironmonger and a Post Office. The Castalia Square shops were very useful and in those days the Borough (the landlords) did not allow duplication. One local resident remembered: "When my husband got his wages on a Friday I used to go to Ryan’s, to the Co-op, to Powell’s to get bread - you didn’t do one big shop. Or, you could go to Chrisp Street. Nowadays, you would have to go to Chrisp Street for knitting wool".
All the shops had grills to protect the windows from flying footballs. Sometimes the grills stayed up all day, as they were awkward to take down and keep padlocked together. The grills were replaced by shutters when the Square was refurbished in 1992.