East End History

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 …

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MacDonald Syer Ltd – 1949 Margate Kent.

My grandfather (left back row) worked for MacDonald Syers for many 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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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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 …

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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. …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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History of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

The Whitechapel Bell Foundry is one of the most famous manufacturers of bells in the world. The foundry was 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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 as the result of a simple accident. The Silvertown Explosion at West Ham. This happened in 1917 …

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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 …

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The Ragged School Museum

The Ragged School Museum is located in Mile End, close to Mile End Park. The building was originally the largest of London’s free schools for poor children, known as the Copperfield Road Free School. It is a museum that is a great visit with kids (you can show them how lucky they really are!) but …

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East End Gangsters, The Krays

Over the centuries, the East End has always been a bit of a crime hot spot. Its position on the outskirts of the city, its often overcrowded population and its poor and relatively deprived conditions compared to the rest of London often made this one of the least safe areas to visit and live in …

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London Olympics, East End Regeneration

The East End of London has seen more changes than most other areas in the city in recent years. Following severe damage during the Second World War, much of the area was rebuilt. Despite this fact, the area did not ever really regain its former status as a hub of docklands industry. The 2012 Olympics …

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World War 2 and East London

Local Eastenders will tell you that there were a lot of changes to the area after the Second World War and some parts were probably unrecognisable from the way they looked in pre-war years. The East End in the Second World War The area was heavily targeted and bombed by the Germans, and much of …

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London’s Execution Dock in Wapping

The Port of London used to be the biggest port in the world; it is still the second largest in the country. The location of the Thames and the river’s sea access has played a major part in the general history of London, making it a significant trading site for centuries. Sea access also brought …

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History of The East London Cockney

Although some foreigners and people living in other places in the UK, assume that all Londoners are cockneys, this isn’t technically 100% true. The East London Cockney. You can technically only be a Cockney if you were born in the East End of the city. To be really specific, you must have been born within …

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Bethnal Green Tube Disaster of WWII

Bethnal Green tube station is located in the heart of London’s East End. It is the site of one of the worst disasters in the country during the Second World War, even though it wasn’t in use as a station and didn’t take a direct hit in bombing raids. The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster of …

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