Blog Archives

Historical events and places in London’s East End.

The Sinking of The Princess Alice

A tale of a pleasure trip on the River Thames from London Bridge that turned into a terrible tragedy that shocked the nation. The text is taken from a book passed down to me by my grandfather called: Fifty Great Disasters & Tragedies That Shocked The World. Published in the opening years of the 1930s and a book I read many times as a young child. Fascinated by the stories.

The Princess Alice –

Read more…

Posted in East End History


MacDonald Syer Ltd – 1949 Margate Kent.

My grandfather (left back row) worked for MacDonald Syers for years. They were a lift engineering and electrical business based in Calvin Street, Shoreditch East London.

Here they all are very smartly dressed on a works outing to the seaside. Margate in Kent in June 1949.

Photo taken by Sunbeam Photo Ltd, 82 Sweyn Road, Margate Kent.

Read more…

Posted in East End History


Coventry Road Ilford Essex

Here are a couple of images from the house I grew up in. Most of Ilford in Essex was built up around the late 1800s, during the Victorian style of architecture.

I can remember I used to talk to my friend who lived next door through our bedroom walls.

Long before soundproofing and cavity insulation was thought of. Also every house had a lovely tiled front path, I always remembered that.

Read more…

Posted in East End History


My Grandfather – Lift Engineer and Electrician.

My grandfather worked for a company based in Calvin Street, Shoreditch, East London. He spent most of his working life as a lift engineer / electrician in London. Pre and post WW2. Here he is in action, working on machinery that must now be very very old!

Read more…

Posted in East End History


London Police Officers – Old Photos.

I’ve just started to go through my old photo albums and scan in some of the more interesting London images.

What I Know About This Photo.

The chap standing on the left is my grandfather’s step-father. He was one of the founders of the Met Police’s flying squad. A highly trained fast response police driver. I can assume that they have attended a burglary or attempted burglary at A. Cobden the jewellers.

On the rear of the photograph is the stamp of: Planet News Ltd,

Read more…

Posted in East End History


Henry VIII and East London History

If you walk past the BSix Sixth Form College building in Hackney’s Clapton area, you may not notice anything too unusual about the site. But, this was once the site of one of the most impressive Tudor homes in the East End and, at one point in time, it was one of the royal palaces of Henry VIII. The original building that came to be known as King’s Place and latterly Brooke House,

Read more…

Posted in East End History


East London Food

The East End of London offers some interesting options for local cuisine not found anywhere else in the capital, or in the rest of the UK for that matter. You may have to dig around a little to find some of these once-common traditional delicacies, but, if you want to experience real East End life, this is certainly worth doing!

London’s East End Food

The area is also renowned for other cuisines introduced by immigrants over the years.

Read more…

Posted in East End History


History of Bow Brewery

The East End of London has been home to many major breweries over the years and even to a couple of distinctive types of beers. In the 19th century, the Mann, Crosman and Paulin’s brewery in Whitechapel created a beer that is held to be the daddy of the modern brown ales that are still drunk today. In Bow, a brewer called George Hodgson and his son created India Pale Ale at the Bow Brewery,

Read more…

Posted in East End History


Poplar Upper North Street School Disaster

When we think about war damage in London, we tend to think about the Second World War. After all, the Blitz in 1940 caused significant damage all over the East End. Many civilians lost their lives, their homes and their places of work in the East End. This area was a natural target for bombing raids, as it was so close to the docklands areas that were vital to the war effort.

But,

Read more…

Posted in East End History


The Battle of Cable Street – East London

In the 1930s, one narrow East End street, Cable Street, became the location for one of the most famous anti-fascist clashes in England’s history. On the day, local residents fought against the fascist and anti-Semitic principles of Sir Oswald Mosley and his Blackshirt followers. The Battle of Cable Street has become a celebrated anti-fascist event.

Oswald Mosley and the East End

Oswald Mosley was a politician who switched across the Conservative and Labour parties before setting up the British Union of Fascists in 1932.

Read more…

Posted in East End History


Second World War Bombing Raid South Hallsville School

One of the worst incidents to involve civilians during a Second World War bombing raid took place in South Hallsville School in Agate Street in Canning Town in 1940. For years, people believed that the highest number of civilian casualties in an air raid had happened in another area of the East End, when an accident at Bethnal Green tube station killed 173 people in 1943. The official casualty rates for the South Hallsville School bomb were 77,

Read more…

Posted in East End History


Billingsgate Market Brief History

Now located in the East End’s financial capital, Canary Wharf, Billingsgate is one of the capitals’ best known fresh produce markets and its oldest wholesale market. Held to be the leading inland fish market in the country, Billingsgate has a long history, dating back to the 1400s, if not further.

Billingsgate’s Early History

Historically, people couldn’t set up a market without a royal charter. Billingsgate got its official charter in 1400 from King Henry IV,

Read more…

Posted in East End History


London East End Street Names

Like all of London, the East End is rich in history. Despite modernisation and rebuilding initiatives over the years, you can still find older hidden gems in the area. This isn’t just about historic buildings, streets and scary small alleyways where Jack the Ripper probably walked.

Odd East End Street Names

The East End also still retains some curious old street names with interesting stories behind them that teach us something about the area.

Read more…

Posted in East End History


History of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry is one of the most famous manufacturers of bells in the world. Located in the heart of the East End, the foundry is also the oldest manufacturing company in Britain, according to the Guinness Book of Records. It has made some of the best known bells in the world, including Big Ben and the Liberty Bell.

Whitechapel Bell Foundry, The Oldest Manufacturing Company in Britain.

The foundry was first formally established in 1570,

Read more…

Posted in East End History


London’s East End and The Blitz

During the Second World War, the Germans started a range of strategic bombing missions across Britain. The worst of the bombing raids came to be known as the Blitz. This is an abbreviation of the German word “blitzkrieg”, or lightning strike. Starting in 1940, the Blitz devastated many major cities in the country – London came under particular pressure and, at height of the Blitz, the city suffered from over 70 major air raids across 37 days.

Read more…

Posted in East End History


V1 and V2 Rocket Attacks in East London

In the early years of the Second World War, bombing raids tended to use traditional bombs and incendiary devices. These were used to great effect in sustained attacks during the Blitz, for example. However, later in the war, the Germans developed new technologies and created the V1 and V2 rockets or flying bombs. These were long-range artillery weapons that could be launched on Britain from Germany.

V1 and V2 Rocket Attacks in the East End

These rockets caused significant damage to London as a whole,

Read more…

Posted in East End History


The East End in the 1950s

The BBC’s Call the Midwife is one of the channel’s most popular shows. Set in the East End of London in the 1950s, this is a heart-warming programme that also gives us an insight into just what life was like in the East End during this period. Covering the work done by the nuns and midwives based at a convent, Nonnatus House, in Poplar, the show takes us back to an East End that was soon to change.

Read more…

Posted in East End History


The East End Dwellings Company

Housing has been a historical problem in London’s East End. This was once always a heavily populated area, with workers living there to be close to their jobs on the docks and on industrial sites. There was often a lack of decent housing, which together with the relative poverty of the area, resulted in many people living in sub-standard and squalid conditions.

The East End Dwellings Company History

During the Victorian age, some philanthropists started to try and create better standards of living for East End locals.

Read more…

Posted in East End History


The Silvertown Explosion of 1917 – WW1 History

One of worst disasters of the First World War in the country happened at Silvertown in West Ham in the East End of London. This was not down to bombing raids or action by the Germans, but was a simple accident.

The Silvertown Explosion at West Ham.

This happened in 1917 when TNT in a munitions factory owned by Brunner-Mond caught fire and exploded. This killed over 70 people and injured over 400.

Read more…

Posted in East End History


The Thames Tunnel. Connecting East London

The Thames Tunnel, built between 1825 and 1843 was the first underwater tunnel in the world. It spans the Thames between Rotherhithe and Wapping in the East End of London and introduced the UK to the Brunel family.

The Thames Tunnel – Connecting Wapping and Rotherhithe.

The tunnel was conceived by Marc Isambard Brunel, father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and both father and son worked on this innovative construction.

Crossing the Thames.

Read more…

Posted in East End History


Recent Comments

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 50 other subscribers.