In the 13th century, the area was known as Scadflet and Shatfliet – derived from the Anglo-Saxon fleot, meaning a shallow creek or bay – the land was a low lying marsh, until drained (by order of Act of Parliament, after 1587) by Cornelius Vanderdelf. A spring, issuing from near the south wall of the churchyard was dedicated to St Chad, and filled a nearby well. The origin of the name is therefore confused, being associated with both the earlier use and the later well. Shadwell was formerly called Chadwelle. In the 17th century, Thomas Neale became a local landowner, and built a mill and established a waterworks on large ponds, left by the draining of the marsh. The area had been virtually uninhabited and he developed the waterfront, with houses behind as a speculation. Shadwell became a maritime hamlet with roperies, tanneries, breweries, wharves, smiths, and numerous taverns, built around the chapel of St Paul's. Seventy-five sea captains are buried in its churchyard; Captain James Cook had his son baptised there.
The station opened on 31 August 1987 as part of the first tranche of DLR stations. Initially designed for one-car DLR trains, Shadwell's platform underwent extension to two-car operation in 1991. The station underwent further refurbishment in 2009, which extended the platforms to accommodate three-car trains, revamped the station entrance at ground level, and added an emergency exit at the east end of the platforms. The station stands on a viaduct and consists of a single island platform serving trains in both directions. The ticket machines and entrance are located at ground level to the west of the island platforms, facing onto Watney Street. The station is usually unstaffed like most other stations on the DLR. There is a crossover west of the station which allows trains from Westferry, Bank or Tower Gateway to reverse here.
Connections: London Buses routes 100, 339 and D3 serve the station.