Canning Town East London: A History Lover’s Paradise

Canning Town is a fascinating area of East London with a rich and diverse history. From its origins as a marshland accessible only by boat or toll bridge to its industrial hub and multicultural community development, Canning Town has witnessed many changes and challenges over the centuries.

One of the most significant events that shaped Canning Town’s history was the opening of the Royal Victoria Dock in 1855. This was the first of London’s docks designed specifically for steamships, which were becoming increasingly important for trade and commerce. The dock attracted many businesses and workers, especially from the shipbuilding, chemical and sugar refining industries. The dock also brought in a wave of immigration from various parts of the world, creating a vibrant and diverse population.

Royal Victoria Docks, Canning Town London.
Royal Victoria Docks Canning Town

However, the rapid growth of Canning Town also came with problems. The area suffered from poor sanitation, overcrowding, disease, frequent accidents and explosions from dangerous industries. Canning Town became notorious for its slums and poverty and was often visited by social reformers and journalists who exposed the harsh realities of life there.

What borough is Canning Town in?

Canning Town is a district in the London Borough of Newham, East London. It is located north of the Royal Victoria Dock and has been described as the “Child of the Victoria Docks” as the timing and nature of its urbanisation was mainly due to the creation of the dock. The area was part of the ancient parish of West Ham, in the hundred of Becontree, and part of the historic county of Essex. It forms part of the London E16 postcode district.

Canning Town is a diverse and multicultural community with a population of over 42,000 people. The area has many businesses, shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Canning Town is also a central transport hub, with two London Underground stations (Canning Town and Custom House) and several bus routes.

The area is undergoing significant regeneration, with several new developments underway. These include the new ExCeL London exhibition centre, the Emirates Air Line cable car, and the Stratford Waterfront development. Canning Town is also home to the University of East London’s Docklands Campus.

Canning Town is a great place to live, work, and visit. It is a vibrant and diverse community with a lot to offer.

Despite these difficulties, Canning Town also had a strong sense of community and culture. The area was home to many social clubs, pubs, music halls and sports teams, including West Ham FC, which originated from the local ironworks. Canning Town also produced famous figures, such as boxer Terry Spinks, who won a gold medal at the 1956 Olympics, and singer David Essex, who grew up in nearby Plaistow.

Today, Canning Town is undergoing a significant regeneration programme to transform the area physically, socially and economically. The programme includes building new homes, creating jobs and improving transport links. The Royal Victoria Dock is now part of London’s Docklands, a modern business and leisure district that includes Canary Wharf and the Excel Centre.

Visit Canning Town in East London.

Canning Town is an area that has always adapted to changing times and circumstances. It is an area that offers visitors a glimpse into East London’s past, present and future.

Like large parts of the East End, Canning Town once had a strong industrial heritage, but the area was originally marshland. As such, for many centuries, the only way to reach Canning Town was to boat or pay a toll bridge. The location opened in the early 19th century when the Barking Road was built, bringing a more prominent bridge and more opportunities for connections with the rest of East London.

Before the reign of Queen Victoria, Canning Town had no real significance and only got its name in the Victorian period. It is probably named after Charles Canning. At the time, he was a relatively famous and popular character and had successfully managed the Indian Mutiny as Viceroy of India. Once the area started to be developed, it became a busy industrial and commercial hub.

For example, in 1846, the North London train line brought higher levels of industrialisation to this area of the East End. Originally built to transport supplies from the local docks, the Barking Road passenger station’s opening and more housing construction attracted more workers to the area’s chemical, shipbuilding and sugar refining factories. The football team that started in the local ironworks famously went on to become West Ham FC.

By 1855, Canning Town had a new Royal Victoria Dock. However, the local water supply and sewage system must be designed to cope with the increasing residents and businesses. Canning Town became infamous for its slum living conditions, high poverty levels and outbreaks of smallpox and cholera due to its inadequate sanitary conditions.

Canning Town Forges

Canning Town is a district in East London with a long and fascinating history of industry and innovation. One of the most prominent examples is the Thames Iron Works, a shipbuilding company from 1837 to 1912. The ironworks was located on the banks of the River Lea, near the Royal Victoria Dock, and produced some of the most advanced warships of its time. The ironworks also had a social and cultural impact on the area, employing thousands of workers from different backgrounds and countries and founding the West Ham football club.

The Thames Iron Works was not the only forge in Canning Town. The area was known for its metalworking and engineering industries, which attracted skilled artisans and entrepreneurs from all over Britain and Europe. Some of the notable forges in Canning Town were:

  • The Canning Town Forge was established in 1857 by William Henry Piggott, a former manager of the Thames Iron Works. The forge specialised in making wrought iron pipes, fittings, valves, and boilers for gas and water supply. The forge also produced ornamental ironwork, such as railings, gates, and balconies.
  • The Victoria Forge was founded in 1865 by John Penn and Sons, a leading marine engineering firm. The forge manufactured steam engines, boilers, propellers, and other machinery for ships and locomotives. The forge also supplied parts for the London Underground and the Channel Tunnel.
  • The Britannia Forge was set up in 1872 by James Ashcroft, a former employee of the Thames Iron Works. The forge produced iron plates, bars, rods, and beams for shipbuilding and construction. The forge also made iron bridges, roofs, girders, and cranes.

These forges contributed to the economic growth and development of Canning Town and its reputation as a centre of excellence in metalworking and engineering. However, they also faced many challenges and difficulties over the years, such as competition from cheaper imports, labour disputes, environmental pollution, and technological changes. By the early 20th century, most forges had closed or moved away from Canning Town.

History of Canning Town’s New Docks

London Docklands and Canary Wharf
London Docklands and Canary Wharf

The increased docklands and shipping activities brought in a new influx of local and overseas workers who needed housing, including a significant community of West African, Caribbean and Asian immigrants. At one point, Canning Town was home to the most prominent black community in London, with over 100 families.

Many of the capital’s more dangerous industries were historically located in the East End, safely out of the way of the city of London and its more upmarket central areas. Charles Dickens described some of these industries as “offensive”.

This probably relates to the smells they created, as local businesses worked in gut spinning, varnish production and oil boiling at the time. Operating outside the city’s regulations also made it easier for companies to ignore housing and business regulations, sometimes leading to accidents.

Canning Town was no exception to this rule, and the area was affected by a significant accidental explosion at an ammunition factory in nearby Silvertown. Although this accident resulted in a relatively low loss of life, it damaged tens of thousands of local buildings around the East End.

Housing in Canning Town

By the 1930s, housing conditions in Canning Town were so dire that the local council started a program to clear the slums and provide better social conditions for residents. Many slum properties were torn down, and new houses, nurseries, medical clinics and even a lido opened.

The Second World War also severely affected the area and led to further redevelopment initiatives after the war. Much of the East End was a prime target for German bombers, and it is estimated that over 85% of the local housing stock was destroyed.

Canning Town station, 1983
Ben Brooksbank / Canning Town station, 1983

Canning Town was also the scene of one of the worst bombing events in the war, although a government cover-up at the time hid the full extent of the incident. In September 1940, residents were sheltering in the basement of South Hallsville School during an air raid. They were staying in the school because they had been evacuated from their homes.

The school suffered from a direct hit burying all the sheltering locals under piles of rubble. Reports at the time indicated that around 70 people died in the incident, but it is now believed that close to 600 people died on the site making this the worst civilian casualty rate in a bombing raid during the war.

Modern History: Canning Town Redevelopment

Due to redevelopment programs and damage sustained in the war, much of the housing in and around Canning Town is relatively modern; most rebuilding took the form of new council estates, including several high-rise tower blocks, which were popular at the time.

One high-rise block became well-known in the 1960s for all the wrong reasons when a gas explosion caused an entire corner of the block to collapse. It and its surrounding high-rises were demolished to make way for safer, smaller houses, and the lessons learned from this accident changed how high-rises were built. Canning Town remains a relatively deprived area and is undergoing continuing redevelopment.

624 thoughts on “Canning Town East London: A History Lover’s Paradise”

  1. I was brought up in 42 Morgan st canning town until. I moved to 8 Lambert Rd custom house I’m wondering if any one remembers the name of the men’s Taylors shop in Rathbone st in 1964 where I got my wedding suit does any one remembers Bacon bills shop

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    • Reading all of this is very interesting , my Mum is still hale and hearty at 94 years young and still living in the Cotswold Village that she was evacuated to ,after they were Bombed out of their house in MALMSBURY ROAD ,CANNING TOWN . My DAD no longer with us ,lived in RANDOLPH ROAD ,CUSTOM HOUSE , he and his Family were also evacuated to the same Village , he was in the ROYAL NAVY and my Mum did welding on Lancaster Bombers . Funny enough , my Paternal Grandparents returned to Randolph road after the War and when my Grandad died in late sixties ,my Nan came back to the Village , My Maternal Grandma stayed in the Village for the rest of her life. I wonder if there are any people out there that would have known them or the Family ? I was trying to remember what my school my DAD went to , he first worked in the Paragon factory when he left school, my MUM went to Star Lane School which is still in use today, I know because my Nephew was a Teacher there a few years ago.

    • My family Coombs and Jackson’s lived on Randolph Rd. Can you share any information about them. Also the Coombs sweet shop. Thx

    • My husband also had his wedding suit made at this tailors, in 1969. The shop was called Pollock’s, I think the tailors were 2 brothers. It was THE PLACE to go for wedding suits, I remember my husband had several fittings before they were satisfied it was just right

    • My husband worked for Lamson Paragon. He and many of his friends had their business suits made by Pollocks.. they were beautifully tailored.

    • My father Phil Salmon also worked at Lamson Paragon in Canning Town through the 50’s to 1979. He worked in the Bookbinding Dept.

    • My name is Chris Cowan and I worked for Lamson Paragon in Sales Training in the mid 70’s. I knew your father very well. I also remember Colin Rabey who I seem to recall was the manager of the Bindery Department.
      I remember your father as a very quietly spoken charming man who was exceptionally kind and helpful to me, as I had been tasked with training the new salesmen in PSB 5 Binding products.
      PSB stood for Paragon Self Binding and the 5 related to the number of punch holes used. It was a very clever and simple system that was widely used at the time. Happy days!

    • i think it was called pollocks,it was orrigonaly on the barking road,if you got a suit out of pollocks in the sixtys you had made it.my spelling will tell you that i was born in canning town.

    • The Tailors shop in Rathbone New Market was called ‘Pollocks’. I had many a suit made there. Having saved my money from working for the Thake family who had both greengrocer stalls (Jim and Vilot) and another part of the family had fish stalls. Granditors was not in Rathbone market they were on the opposite side, on Barking Road near to the old Town Hall.

    • Hi, just wonder if you knew Edith Hughes or any of her family that had a fruit and veg stall at Rathbone Market, for years.

    • Hi my father had his suits there he ent out with takes daughter for a while I think her name was Katie not sure his name was John or Jack Willis they came out of custom house

    • ‘Old’ Kate Thake had a shop and stalls in Raffy selling fish. I was at school with a Kate Thake at Saint Margaret’s in Gainsborough Road. I was in love with one of Kate’s daughters in Raffy when I was about 12. She chopped up the eels near Wise’s bakers.

    • Hello Bill, You would have to be Bill Smyth that went to Ravenscroft Primary and would have left in 1956, My name is Alan Howard and from memory we went through Ravenscroft in the same classes. Have lived in Tasmania, Australia since 1970

  2. My family came from custom houe went all the time to rathbone market my nan had a row of two ups at the bottom of rafy market lisa willis opposite pub cant remember name of pub mary and jackie murphy were her daughter and son in law we moved to essex when l was 8but every wknd was back there my. Parents were jack and joyce willis

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    • It’s a pity my Dad is not around today he would have loved remembering all those names from the past. I still have the scales he used to sell and check and I use them all the time. I am sure no one will want them when I am gone. It is still great that someone remembers those times.

    • Yes the pub opposite caters supermarket ,before the supermarket I lived in the round top Nisson huts ,I was Born in Howard’s road plaistow 1948 I lived in Lawrence street ,my NAN lived in Mary street I went to clarkson street school, st Luke’s ,star lane ,Ashburton school .

    • Hi Mackenzie,Im Bob Sexton and I lived in Lawrence St from 1946 until1964 when I got married and moved to Custom House,it would be nice to hear from you,regards Bob.

    • I think Jack might have been my nan’s cousin. Her name was Lou Grim (nee Willis) her mum and dad were James and Rebecca Willis.

    • Bambi Gee, Spent the first twenty one years of my life in Canning Town and I think the pub at the bottom of rathbone street was called The White House.

    • The White House was really The Hallsville Tavern. It was a triangular pub facing up Raffy.

      I hated passing Cribbs with all the coffins, empty I suppose, standing in the window.

    • Yes cribbs was across the road, I lived opposite The White House for 25 years on Shirley Street til 2005, I never see coffins in the windows… Still give me the creeps… My Family Name is Bruns we all lived in Canning Town.

    • My nan lived in canning Town liza Willis had Mary who married Jack Murphy Terry who married Diane Jack who married Joyce bought three two up two down in canning Town op. Pub, can’t remember name she was along by cafe and tailors on the corner best suits ever,, you could cross the Rd from hers and walk down side of pub to raffy.. dick and violet tranter house backed on to Beckton Rd he was manager in tate she worked parti me in the dairy Eastham they had doreen, violet Jean Joyce there Rd,, roman Rd, best grandparents ever

  3. I was born in 1938 at St.Mary’s Hospital but my Father had a scalemaker & hardware shop at 121 Rathbone Street, Canning Town. His father started the business in 1866 but of course with war my Father was bombed out and moved to Essex. I don’t suppose there are any survivors from that era but it would be interesting to find out.

    Reply
    • I was born in 5 Ford Street (off Rathbone market) in 1930 and have been trying to find out the name of the shop my grandmother (Emma Garner) had close by. It was a General store (not very big) and I have found picture of my old school (St.lukes) along with the church where I attended, I was evacuated but my parents were bombed out and moved to Rainham village in Essex. Wish I had been more interested in research when my parents were alive to tell me. Now I hanker to be able to tell my grandchildren a more detailed history. I loved Rathbone Street at Xmas. the stalls carried lit lamps on corners of stalls, smell of roasting chestnuts and the butchers selling of the turkeys outside the shops, the boxes of tangerines wrapped in their orange papers all added to the thrill.

    • John Moore had two shops. One was mainly a paper shop, the other sold fags and sweets. John Moore would have all his regular customers’ orders ready each morning, a paper, fags or tobacco and Rizlas so they didn’t waste time on their way to work. I think it was his mother who ran the other shop, she was a real tarter, told me off once for asking for some fags for a neighbour of mine, Carrie Huckfield, saying I was suggesting she was favouring certain people at a time of shortage and told people I had been rude to her. Never went there again.

      There was another tobacconist further along, opposite a wood yard that went up in flames once. The lady there was as sweet as a nut!

    • Moores was our local shop and often used to buy swwets and jubleys there plust take lemonade botlles back for the deposit money, I lived just a few yards away at Cribbs end of Rathbone Street opposit the Co Op store and dairy before they ere demolished.

    • My grandfathers family had a sweet factory and sweet shop in Rathbone street Coombs Brothers l think it was number 37 also a factory in Shirley street do you remember it ?
      Katie

    • Hi Katie, I have responded to several posts. Could you tell me more about the Coombs brothers. My grandmother was a Coombs from that area. Thx

    • Hi Julie,

      I just see your post and thought how strange it is that you live in the house that my best friend Emma Cook lived with her mum,Dad,brother, and sister. I lived 5 Shirley street from 1984 til 2005. I think they moved in 1973 til 1999.

      It’s weird that you lived there but in a different era. All the childhood memories of that house.. Sorry I it’s totally not relevant but I just wanted to share that. We are still best friends now nearly 40 years later.

      Best wishes

  4. I was born in 1938 in St.Mary’s Hospital, but my Father had his Scalemaker and hardware shop in 121 Rathbone Street, Canning Town which had been started by his Father in 1866 Samuel Ashmore Arnold. My Father’s job was to check all the Stallholders scales to make sure they were accurate. He was of course bombed out and we had to move to Essex. We did in my youth visit the market to catch up with people, one of them Mrs Olley. I think her shop was jellied eels but it may have been pies. I still have the scales he made so long ago. I don’t suppose there are many of the old timers from there left now but just maybe there might be some survivors.

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    • I have already commented elsewhere on this site, my dear Auntil, Edith Hughes, had a vegetable stall on the Rathbone market, originally her Father’s, R Hughes, he was trading during wartime and my Aunt, came back to Canning Town in the war as her evacuation place wasn’t nice. She is a great character, lived in Canning Town all her life. . She is now 91 and still full of life and love
      If anyone knows her please let me know

    • Your Aunt lived next door to my family in Ravenscroft Road we were number 83.
      As a child I went into their house when my grandmother died. Mrs Hughes looked after me. Edie was working on the stall in the market. They were the only family to have a lorry outside their house

    • Hi Lesley .. thanks for this so happy to read your comments. My aunt now lives in Norfolk but will never forget her roots. My grandmother, Mrs Hughes had a really hard life, was a very dear old lady, when I was young I stayed with her a lot. My other grandmother Mrs Thorp lived opposite at number 72, maybe you knew her too .. Didn’t get on well with her
      Thank you again for replying, do you still live in London? I don’t but love the East End .. will never stop going back

    • Hi I’ve just been reading about your family the Hughes . I also believe I come from the Hughes family from Canning Town. My mum was adopted as a small baby her mothers name was Phylis Copping her mother’s name was Clara Nellie Copping and father was
      Thomas Hughes apparently he was a bandsman I wonder if anyone remembers either one of them Tania

    • Hi Mary. Lovely to read your comment. I remember my Mum going in to the pie and eel shop. Like all Londoners she loved her pie and mash and jellied eels !

    • I’m afraid I am the rogue East Londoner who hates Jellied Eels. I was once “in love” with the lady who used to chop up the eels at Kate Thake’s stall near Wise’s. I was about 13 and used to go there to get eels for a neighbour. I hated seeing the poor things wriggling about and then being chopped up into pieces still wriggling. But the sight of that wonderful lady smiling at me with the blood dripping off her overall sent me wild. I told Terry Murphy about this once and he told me she was the mother of a boxer. Happy, simple days.

    • I lived at the bottom of Rathbone Street from 1957 till 1973 and remember Olleys sold Pie n Mash, Thakes on the market sold fish and live elels and I woked for Frank Wise on his stall until 1963 when the new market opened.

    • Hi, Tony Kemp, just wonder if you knew my Aunt, Edie Hughes or any of the Hughes family who ran a fruit and veg stall for many many years at Rathbone market. . Would be so happy to have everyone any information

    • I remember Olleys. So good to hear that name totally forgot about that.
      Raffy is in my blood. Went there every week. Ended up working as a Saturday girl there. Its where i met my husband. We have been together 42 years.

    • On Good Fridays Wise’s was the only place open at the bottom end of Taffy. We used to get our Hot X Buns there. Everyone who mentions Hot X Buns in my hearing are told that they were the best in the world, so much so that my kids remind me of this fact every Easter.

  5. My Family are from Canning Town and Custom House any still do. my nan still lives there and is 95. My Granddad past way this year he was born in 1920. They had some great stories about the area. I live close by and it is changing so much, not always for the best I fear, it great to hear the memories of people.

    Reply
  6. Hi, my dear Aunt, still alive and well at 91 years, had a fruit and veg stall at one point quite near to Caters, the supermarket when it was there. That was when I used to go there. But the stall was her Father’s. . R Hughes, and was trading through the war. My aunt Edie Hughes took it over and worked there until she retired. Does anyone remember her? Or Johnny, the guy who helped her. Would love to hear any stories from anyone that does .. she is really rather special, stayed in Canning Town all through the war and she is a very important person to me. Thanks to anyone reading this. Janice .. I am in the book about the Market, when the Ships come in .. as a toddler

    Reply
    • Hello I know aunt Edie I used to help her on the stall when I was young. on hr days off she used to take me and by brothers and sisters to the beach in her estate car. She is a lovely lady. I used to shovel the snow from her path in the winter. I hope she is well. Edie is my Nan’s cousin I think.

    • Thank you so much for this .. so sorry have not been to this site for ages
      What is the name of your Nans cousin, if it is ok to share it
      Yes, she used to love taking her Mother to the seaside and loved children so she would have been so happy to take you out in her car
      She had a really hard life but considered herself lucky and was content with nothing
      I am writing in the past tense, she is still alive and well but whisked away a few years ago from her home, friends and livelihood to a care home in Norfolk by my posh sister who hardly knows her
      My Aunt still considers it is temporary and still talks of returning to her friends and going to the local place in London she signed herself up for
      Lovely lady .. thanks so much for writing

    • hi . i was adopted but have found out my grand father was a thomas hughes. is he from the same family his dad was a r hughes.patsy

  7. My dad reckoned world war 2 was the best thing that ever happened to him and mum.

    She was from Poplar, he was from Hermit Rd, Canning Town. George and anne Kerry. My brother was born in 38 and my dad was in a reserved occupation when war broke out. They were bombed out on 1940 and Mum Gran and bro jumped on a lorry that was leaving the area. The driver picked his way thro’ London and made his way to the only place he knew outside London. The village of Bentley in Hampshire where he had been a hop picker before the war.

    Mum and bro were allocated a room in a farm house the day after they arrived having spent the 1st night in a hopping hut. Gran went back to Canning town cos granddad was working on the rail system in the V and A docks. They got bombed our again but still stayed. Dad was finally allowed to join up and spent 4 yrs in the RAF in Nigeria and Belgian Congo a real cushy number comparatively speaking but his younger brother Stan was sank by the Yanks while a Jap POW after Singapore defeat.

    Mum and 2 year old bro stayed on the farm for the rest of the war and were joined by dad after demob in 46. They all stayed on the farm for several more years finally settling in a new council house in the village where they had 3 more kids, me included. Gran and Granddad stayed in Canning Town, finally ending up in a 2 room flat in a terrace house in Star Lane, no bathroom, outside toilet, landlord constantly wanting them out. They deserved more! Granddad died in 66, gran in 79. We lived the life of Riley in our wonderful village in Hampshire….huge garden plus allotment…played in the woods and barns, swam in the river Wey. But my parents where always Londoners…

    I spent my life worshipping a certain team in Green St and travelled regularly to see grandparents, aunts, uncles…..and Bobby Moore. Haven’t been back in 30 years and google earth street scene shows the changes, but my, wouldn’t the folks who have passed be so proud of the East End Olympics.

    Reply
    • So sorry about terrible spelling and punctuation.
      Had been working all day and I find that, at 67 things get sloppy, especially when using a phone rather than a keyboard

    • Hello Patrick, thank you so much for your story. I used to drive through the village of Bentley most mornings as I returned home from Heathrow Airport to Whitehill in Hampshire, where I lived for 4 years around 2001.
      I’m now living in mid Devon and haven’t been back to East London for a couple of years now, but yes…how it’s changed so much.

      I know the area very well around Fleet, Farnham, Petersfield etc.

    • This is Diane Willis. I live in Brisbane Australia, with my family.I knew your mum and dad well.Me and my husband Terry lived with Charlie and Lizzy Willis opposite the Beckton Arms Pub. I think you are one of Jack and Joyce Willis children.So good to see a post from the old country, and relatives. I miss the pie and mash we used to have, in London. Take care keep well.

    • Hi Diane,
      I’m wondering if you knew my mum, Nicolette. She was one of Jack and Joyce’s children. Hope you are well.

  8. Hi Malcolm. I was born in 98 Hayday Road, Canning Town in 1946 . I remember riding my tricycle around the block, past the bomb site that me and my brother used to play on, also past a shop I knew as Forinos, they also sold the most delicious ice cream, with pieces of lemon ice in it. Also on one corner was what we knew as Lennie’s oil shop where presumably we bought the paraffin. I had an aunt in Kildare Road and another in Tinto Road. Opposite our house on the other side of a the road was a paper shop where we bought a bottle of Tizer every Sunday to have with our dinner ! I also used to love going to Rathbone Street where my Aunt always bought me a warm sarsparilla and my mother always bought our clothes, all second hand of course. I started school at Denmark Street School but wasn’t there for long as we moved to Devon in 1952. Wonderful memories.

    Reply
    • We moved to Edward Street in Canning Town in 1961/2 when I was 5 years old. I remember Mr Forino’s shop, right on the corner. I remember the ice cream and the lemon ice. You could have a mixed cornet! I went to Keir Hardie School and in the summer, if I was good, Mum would buy me an ice cream on the way home. I walked to school with Mum and crossed what is now the A13.
      My Mum is 95 and still lives in Canning Town. I moved to Kent over 30 years ago but go back to visit Mum every week. There have been so many changes, Canning Town is almost unrecognisable. Rathbone Street market has gone and the area is being gentrified. Sad really. All that East End character gone.

    • I looked up my Dad’s address on google and found it is now a crossroad. 121 Rathbone Street and I still have the business card showing the business started in 1866. I also have a photo of him with a stall outside his shop selling all the hardware. I may well scan it and put it on here just to add to the history.

    • I remember a small shop on the corner of Coolfin Rd and Butchers Road that we used to call ‘Greeny’s’. This was in the 50’s is this the shop that you knew as Forinos? Also several people have mentioned Keir Hardie school. I’m certain that there was no such school in the 50’s. Does anyone know when the school was built or is it an old school renamed?

    • Hi vicki
      I used to live in fords park road and I went to Keir hardie infants I was born 1951 so from about 1956 to 1958
      Pat

    • Hi Pat
      Forinos was on the corner of fisher street the other side of canning town, just behind Trinity school just off barking rd. 100 yds from what was the Trossex pub. Keir hardie was there in the 50’s and still is, although its a brand new building.
      Kellie

    • Charlie Sage ,I remember when I was at Holborn Rd school , later Renamed Faraday , at dinner time running across the the Kier Hardie estate when it was just a bomb site to have pie mash in Rathbone street market , I think it was called Olly’s.. I lived at 451 Beckton Road.

    • I was born in Plaistow and lived on Fisher Street from 68-70. Forino would see my folks taking me past, break off the bottom of cone and give me a ‘baby’ ice cream.

      I went back this weekend -I knew that the house we lived in was gone – it looks like the higher numbered end of the street has gone and been replaced with the park – any ideas about when this happened?

    • Having had Keir Hardy as it’s one time MP, predating the Labour Party, ensured that my dad considered himself as a rock solid labour man, even after the war when we lived in Bentley in Hampshire. What he didn’t realise that his views were actually very conservative, he just couldn’t stand the Conservatives, that’s all. Bentley probably didn’t have a Labour voter until he joined my Mum and Brother after demob in 46. Mum and Bro bombed out in 40 and evacuated. Nothing to go back to. So I didn’t end up playing on bombsights… more like swimming in the river and scrumping… possibly a bit Tom Sawyer. It has to be said that when our relatives came down to see us yokels, they didn’t seem to be very secure in the countryside, especially walking across fields with cows in! My uncle went fishing with me in brown suede shoes and ran away from some young bullocks in the field. Needless to say, the notoriously ( well to us yokels anyway) nosey bullocks ran after him. He ended up almost up to his knees in a bog, suede shoes n’all. Probably didn’t stop shaking till he got back to Star Lane….

    • We moved to Edward street in 60/61 I was born in 49 and we lived with my nan in Chadwin road, I went to tollgate school.When my brother came along in 59 it moved us up the list, hence the new house in Edward street.I remember forinos from my time at south west ham tech, used to spend our dinner money on single ciggies, yeah great memories

    • Stumbled across this site whilst researching family history. Barry Ives. I remember you. I’m Nigel Rogers. Lived in the short bit of road that was Denmark St. between the Becton Rd and Chadwin Rd. Two cafes on opposite corners on Becton Rd.. Mays was one. Then the cafe in Chadwin Rd. Cosy Cafe ( still there in 2019) Went to Tollgate Primary with you and have school photo of us all. Think headmaster in juniors was Harry Wepfer (spelling?) Our teacher was Mrs Markham. Then South West Ham Tech from 61 – 68. From 65 – 68 worked in John Walton’s
      Menswear along Barking Rd. Tiny little shop. Squeezed in between the Red House pub and Turpins, a carpet and furniture shop, all opposite Fairburn Hall boys club. Canning Town was our playground. From the “two Tits” on Becton dumps, the Lido, the Bombed Odeon in Alexandria st. and the paddle wheeled Woolwich ferry. SWHTech- best school ever. Better than any trade school…. Then there was The Bridgehouse pub and the groups etc.

    • One of my cousins was a Bevin Boy in the mines in Geordieland. He married a Geordie and she came down to London with him after the war. She had, what to us was, a funny accent. She kept saying For, meaning our, but we thought she was talking about the War. She got a job in one of the cafe’s in Beckton Road and was very popular with the Northern drivers because she spoke their language! My school, Saint Bonaventure’s, used the Old Beckton Road playing fields for sports so once a week I parked my bike outside the cafe and popped in to see her. She would give me a cup of tea and a large bun filled with that shaving cream stuff we called cream in those days. Simple pleasures!

    • Hello Nigel, yes I remember you from tollgate and SWHT, I don’t want to be my age but I think we lived in the best era. All the best.

    • Hi Nigel, so your in Benfleet, not sure how you leave private info on here, would be great to get in touch

    • Thats me Dave how you doing? in contact with anybody? Spoke to Brian a few years ago and I see Dave Garvey over the driving range sometimes. Still in Benfleet

    • Dave Creamer….. Remember you in SWHTech….. How you doing? And Barry, I too live in Benfleet, near the station. Can you do a private message on this site?

    • Hi, my Nan lived in Hayday Rd. I was born in 1961, and I remember the shop opposite you. Like others I remember the live eels in the supermarket at ‘Raffy market’ as my mum called it. My mum and dad met at the Paragon and married at St Cedds church. I remember being taken to the Lido on warm days. Im trying to remember the name of the grocers shop on the main road leading down to Woolworths that sold loose macaroni and other stuff out of large tubs – was it Maceys or something?

    • Does anyone remember the newsagent on the corner of Hayday and Ling Roads? I first remember it as Harry’s but Harry died in the early 1960s and it became Reg’s.

    • I remember it well . My Nan used to take me there and buy 2 comics Film Fun and Radio Fun, and put some money on a card for the Annuals at Christmas.I lived in Kildare Road, and I used to go to the greengrocers opposite Harry’s newsagent shop. The greengrocers was Sall’s ,I believe I called her aunt Sall as she new my Mum quite well. No problem with plastic bags , you took your own bag and everything went in- potatoes, fruit etc. Happy Days.

    • It is so interesting to see a reference to Reg’s as I remember that name from when I was a child. I remember riding my bike from our flat on Cambus Road to Reg’s to buy chocolate. This would have been before 1974. Would Reg’s have been there then?

    • Hey Brian, I also lived in kildare. I’m a bit younger than most on here though I think. Bourn in 1972. But no one seems to have mentioned Goddens that was on the corner of Kildare and Carson. My great nan was Sarah Thake. She married John Scofield. My great uncle used to run the greengrocers on the corner of Cambus and Hayday. He s daughter was Doris.

    • Hi I think you might mean Mulcasters, the shop was about halfway between Woolworths and Staddons the department store. Mr Mulcaster always used to give me a free biscuit when Mum and I went there. I went to the Convent school in Falcon Rd, we lived in Mary St. I remember William Devine, Billy Galenis whose Dad managed the library and Violet Munro who was my best friend.

    • I remember Rathbone Street well. My mum used to take me there to buy clothes off the stalls and my auntie always took me there for a glass of hot sarsparilla.

    • I remember that stool that sold sasperela I used to go there with my mum Dorothy Hill of shipman rd My name is Ray Hill. Still alive and in reasonable health Living in Epping Essex Now with lovely missus ..
      Take care keep safe and the best of health to you all

    • I went to school (Saint Bonavenyure’s) with Laurie Forino. He won the English Schoolboy’s Boxing Championship a year after losing in the Final. When he lost he was given a watch by Field Marshal Montgomery for putting up a very brave performance.

    • I remember Fourino’s ice cream shop. Used to lov e all the lemon ice in the ice cream.just around the corner from Hayday Road.

    • Also wasn’t there a shop that sold roasted peanuts called Larkins ? My great Nan was killed in the Halsville bombing … I never knew here. She was of the Moor’s family Custom house I remember dr Imber of Coolfin road (off Freemasons road) Also remember the school burning down in Freemasons road about 1942. I went to Rosetta rd school and then onto shipman road school where I grew up,in shipman road until a boy 1965. Best regards from Ray Hill, I remember the Heads And Nichols families , from my street

    • I used to buy Lemon ice at Forinos and i have never forgotten the taste. I remember when it caught on fire and they gave my dad slightly burnt Honey comb. I lived in Chandler Avenue no 19. My name was then Avril Sheldrake. I went to Ravenscrift Primary and later South West Ham Tech. I came to Perth Australia in 1962. Do you remember the bonfires on tbe debris on the corner of Chandler Avenue

    • Hi Avril , I was also born in 1946 and lived in Kildare Road off of Hayday Road . I went to Ravenscroft Infants and junior schools , and don’t remember you . I also went to South West Ham Tech. Boys School, and left in 1962 the same year that you left for Australia . Did you have a different first name then ?

    • Hi Brian. I too was born in 1946 in Hayday Road and went to Ravenscroft School but mum and dad moved to Devon in 1952.

    • Chandler road ? Was that the one that run beside the ‘ Seamen’s Mission ( flying angel ) ? Just asking as I lived in shipman rd Nearby … bless you all … Ray

  9. Hi Roger

    It sounds like the same Esther. I used to work with her at The Scotch House on Regent St. That was nearly 17 years ago.

    Reply
    • I once drove Esther back to her home in Gants Hill, from an Anti-Nazi rally where she had been speaking. She invited me into her home where I met her husband. She showed me many of his paintings. Each one pictured a Polish village. As we looked at each, he sadly shook his head and said, ‘No more, no more, all gone’. He was a lovely man.

  10. MY Grandfather, Billy Adams, was a Lightweight Champion from Canning Town, London. Became the Lightweight Champ of West Virginia (USA) and got Jack Dempsey to give his gloves to his son (my Dad). Billy Adams sparred at “sporting shows,’ most advertised was the world heavyweight champ “Battling Hooker’. He had to for the money; Professional or “Prize Fighting” was illegal. Would send pics but website does not allow.

    Reply
    • Hi Billy. I have just seen the posting you made in 2017 – better late than never!!

      My late Gran, Liz Porter (nee Adams) was the sister of Walter Adams, a very decent boxer, who emigrated to the USA from East London. Could he be related to Billy Adams? Your story seems very familiar to me.

      Liz was married to Ted Porter and they lived first of all in Dale Road and then Desford Road, Canning Town. They had four sons (Ted, Fred, Dave and George) and a daughter, Kathleen (Kit) who has outlived all her brothers and will be 99 on April 19, 2019 – she is my mother.

      I remember “Uncle Walt” and other members of the Adams family visiting the UK in the late 1950s and getting together with “the Porters”

      During the 1960s I had a pen friend Mimi Gelinas who lived in Jacksonville Beach, Florida – I believe her mother’s single name was Adams. In the late 1970s my uncle David Porter, met Rose (Adams?) on a visit to West Virginia. They married and she moved to London but very sadly she died in 1978.

      I also grew up in Desford Road, close to my grandparents and three of my four uncles and their families! I am now retired and live in Nottingham.

      Does any of this mean anything to you?

      Best Wishes

      David Timcke (but often known as David Porter when I lived in Canning Town!!)

    • Hi again Billy I now have the history straight, thanks to my mother! We are talking about the same person – George Walter “Billy” Adams. Your grandfather was my great Uncle! I knew his wife as Aunt Brooke! Small world!

  11. Anyone remember Feacey butchers Dale road bobs grocers corner avondale /percey road and wrens sweet shop in clarence road

    Reply
    • HI, I was born in 1949 , at No 4 Clarence Road. I have very strong memories of Wrens sweet shop. Do you remember the fizzy sherbert drinks that he made from a big red bubble machine, served in a jam jar for 1 penny?

    • Hi Robert, I see you lived at no.4 Clarence Road, and I see Clarence Road has been mentioned quite a lot, so I don’t know if anyone remembers a family called Lock who lived right on the corner, it came under Clarence Road, but the rest of the houses was just as you turned the corner? I will ask my sister in law Jackie who lived at Clarence Road,with her sister Doris (called Babs) George and Chris Lock (the boy I married!) the mum was Doris Lock and hubby George Alfred Lock. Sadly Babs (Doris) passed away a few weeks ago, so a funeral to attend to this week, and I lost my gorg. hubby Chris which now only leaves Jackie.

      I bet she would remember if there was a sweet shop there, and it has surprised me that everyone talking about Rathbone Street Market? That no one has mentioned the bingo that they used to play in the market with milk tops? I used to win lots of prizes off there, and yes I sure do remember the sarsaparilla in barrels I loved it! There was a mention of the name Adams? I lived in Steele Road West Ham and there was a family of Adams who lived at no.50? And the name Coulson?

      There was a family who lived right opposite us called Caulson, the lady was called Rose and worked at a sweet factory? I wonder if this is the factory that was mentioned? This lovely lady used to give my mum two whacking big tins of sweets, one was boiled sweets and the other was toffees, because my mum had 8 kids, and every xmas she made sure we got some sweets. I was shocked to see that this lovely lady was buried in a common grave in East London Cemetery right behind my Polish stepdads grave, and the Ordnance Arms pub was mentioned? I celebrated my 21st birthday in that pub and I remember my hubby buying me a gorgeous royal blue dress with streamers down the back, oh what lovely memories but also lots of sad ones too.

      So I don’t know if Robert or anyone who lived in Clarence Road remembers the Lock family? They was just off the corner, it might have been a shop on the corner? And then the door where my future hubby Chris lived, there were no more houses there just that one, cant remember the number but my sister in law would tell me, and then the rest of Clarence Road was just around the corner to the house the locks lived in whereby you went upstairs, oh it must have been a flat with a back yard lol. Yes, it is changing everywhere now, we didn’t have much then but we was far happier than kids are today! Rosina Lock via facebook

    • RE: Steele Road, West Ham, E15.
      My nan (Agnes) lived here. I vividly remember, (if I came out of her house and looked right); I could see the 2 huge cooling towers of the West Ham power station. It was quite surreal. I think Steele Road, among others, was knocked down to make way for the new Manor Road.
      Does anybody remember the Gibson family in Steele Road? 1940-1970 approx.
      The children were James (Jimmy), Terence (Terry) and Valerie.
      I know Valerie attended Holbrook County Secondary School and her teacher was Mr. Moliver.
      Is anyone familiar with Harry Waite? Possibly lived in Steele Road with the Gibson family.

      My nan’s maiden name was Clark and she lived in Grange Road, near the East London Cemetery, (during the 1930’s approx.) before marrying George Gibson from Kelland Road, which is near the Abbey Arms.

    • I remember Wrens sweet shop very well. He was always playing tricks on me when I was little. My mum took me in there one afternoon and I asked for a Crunchie bar. He handed it over and my mum put it in her bag until we got home. When I unwrapped it, it was a wooden block in a Crunchie wrapper. Cheeky devil had given me one of the bars they used in window displays. I went back and he was waiting for me. He was so amused he gave me TWO Crunchie bars for being such a good sport!

    • hello l;m sorry to say that dale road has gone l believe its now a park. l grew up in dale road from 1945 to 1954 no 121 when we moved to the next street clifton road no 77 next to the bombed church yard can any one remember my father riding around the street on his speedway bike in the early fiftys he was called ray terry and was known as the duke of canning town ,when l was a lad we used to walk to peggy leg bridge and stand there as the trains whent underneath l can smell that steam from the trains kind regards

    • We were bombed out whilst living in Dale Road on the night Saint Margaret’s Church and school was hit. The church reopened in the early 1950s but the school was never rebuilt. It moved to temporary premises in Gainsborougb Road school until Saint Helen’s was built in Falcon Strre in the early 1950s.

    • Yes just like it was yesterday. What about Bill’s the greengrocers.and rennies sweet shop. who sold drinks in a jam jar .ant the man who came around with his roundabout on the back of his lorry..you worked in Bob’s the grocers then you must remember Albert who delivered Mike in his hand cart..the rag and boan man.

  12. I was born in Canning Town in 1948, and lived in Chester Road. My mother’s family name was Cridland and my father’s was Speight. I remember Murcoff’s ice cream, particularity the lemon ice which was a type of sorbet, which was my favourite. I also remember the old Rathbone street market, particularity the stall that sold cordials including sarsaparilla, and buying roll mops out of a barrel for 3d each, I think. There was a lady there who used to grate horseradish to sell, her eyes permanently running. When the new Rathbone market was built I remember a fish stall run by Kathy Thake (I think) where my dad would buy live eels, and the wonder of a supermarket! Caters where the novelty was picking up a wire basket and helping yourself! My aunt ran Popkin’s fish shop down the Hermit Road – signed ‘Fish, wet dried and fried’, she was always good for a bag of crackling.

    Reply
    • My husband John Sidney Clark, went to Harold Street School. He was born in 1941.
      His family still live in the East End.
      This June We’re going on holiday to visit them.
      We’re staying on The Isle of Dogs.
      I’m an East End Tragic!!
      Love the history.
      I was born in Auckland, New Zealand and we now live in Perth, Western Australia.
      Lyn Clark

    • I used to have a market stall at Christ Street Market, selling Christmas decorations. The nearby Pound Shop used to check my prices and undercut me. As a result I never made a profit. After giving up I became a teacher at Royal Docks Community School, Custom House. I am shortly publishing a novel set in wartime Canning Town.

    • Murcoff’s! I loved the ice cream from that place and I’ve never found anything that tastes like it and believe me, I’ve tried!
      I remember having hot sarsaparilla.
      My Nan would only have fish from Thakes and if you bought it anywhere else, she knew! When she went to live with my cousin in Wiltshire and we visited, we had to buy bowls of jellied eels for her and take them with us!
      There was also a stall where the lady sold buttons. Hundreds of buttons! If you lost a button from a coat or jacket you could go to the stall and find one to match. My Mum knitted jumpers for my children and would buy novelty buttons from the stall. I can’t remember the lady’s name.

    • I am currently writing my memoires and I have just documented that same thing. Murkoffs, Pie and Mash, sarsaparilla. Rathbone market was my go to place, it was the hub of the town. I lived in Varley Road until I married. I still miss the east end life.

    • Hi Kate. Your family must be related to Jonny Sleight who wrote and created the infamous Alf Garnett. Believed he lived in Liverpool Rd.

  13. Just come across this site which I find very interesting. My mother was born in Charford Road in 1923 and her sister in Tree Road, Custom House in 1911. Their father and other family members worked at the Docks. The family home was bombed but everyone returned to Canning Town (Ling Road) to live, except my mum, who married and moved to Essex. It was my second home during the 1960s and early 1970s. I remember the trolleybuses and Murkoff’s ice cream! I also remember buying fish and chips from Billy Betts shop in New Barn Street but cannot find any reference to it anywhere. My mum’s aunt lived at No. 1 Beckton Road, which was demolished for the flyover to be built. Her son was Eddy Grimstead who ran the motorcycle business.

    Reply
  14. Pat Jolly I know a Brian Jolly who now lives in Cornwall but whose famy are from Canning Town. Any relation? I am trying to find a connection between his family and mine and was interested to see your comment about Jolly’s Greengrocers. My Grandad Parker had a Greengrocers shop as did his parents. They were bombed out during the war and moved to Essex. My Gt Aunt bought a house in Goodmayes and we went to live with her. She was in the rag trade and did business with a lot of Jewish people. I use to do fashions shows at Bodgers as my babysitter worked there!

    Reply
    • Hi Dee
      I cannot say for definite if Brian Jolly is a branch of my family or not..My grandfather and great granfather didnt seem to keep closr ties with their siblings..So i know very little about them..My gt grandfsthrr came from Suffolk and he must have had siblings but they are all a mystery to me..So sorry cant help you..x

  15. Malcolm, I believe that the shop Vicki remembers was called Murkoff’s in the Barking Rd along where the Ordnance Pub was, the best Ice Cream I have ever tasted.
    I lived in Rogers Rd.

    Reply
  16. Pat, the shop I remember did sell ice cream through a window at the front of the shop. Just mentioned this story to my husband and he says the shop is where you say but he doesn’t remember what it was called.He also thinks I may have got my memories mixed up and that Rossi’s ice cream was sold in Southend. Does anyone know?
    My husband’s aunt used to have a toy stall in the market. She had the stall for quite a few years.

    Reply
  17. Born in Percy rd in1947, in a nissen hut.My nan lived in Rathbone st. when it was the market place, remember the live well stall, the fortune teller at the start of the road. Remember the street party for coronation day,won a model of a tractor for winning a race. Anyone got any photos.

    Reply
    • Peter, yes I do remember Rathbone St. market. I went to Clarkson St school that backed onto the market. Used to spend lunch time in the market. Bought a pennorth of broken biscuits out of my lunch money and Horlicks and/or Fishermans Friend tablets. I also remember the live eel stall (I think that’s what you meant) and the sarsparella stall. The fortune teller singled me out by name one lunchtime (didn’t know her from Adam). This was a couple weeks before the eleven plus, she told me not to worry – that I would pass and go to grammar school. She also told me I would go far overseas to live (I have been in Australia since 1974) and have a family of three children. All that came to pass so I’m now hoping that her prophecy of a long life also comes to fruition 😀.
      Do you also remember Rossi’s ice cream just round the corner from the market. Best ice cream ever.

    • hi Vicki…if it was the sweet shop next to the Ordnance arms pub and directly across the road to Canning Town Public Hall then it would be Murkoffs..they used to sell the ice cream outta the front window. They were Jewish and nade their own ice cream..
      There is a FB site called Memories of Canning Town that people put photos on. Murkoffs crops up from time to time.. Or i have a couple of pics..if you wanna see em i can Message them to you..let me know..

    • I remember ian the son who went to a private school when he came home on a school holidays he would call round my house to play I’m not Jewish but his family liked us playing together I lived in Lawrence street my NAN in Mary street my nans name Badcock and my cousins Linda ,Valerie,Terry

  18. I lived in Canning Town in flats called Mansfied Buildings in 1948-54. Are they still there. I now live in Australia. Left the UK in 1954 with my family.

    Reply
    • I think those flats are what I remember as the Manot Road buildings. I think they came down under slum clearance.

    • yes they were named Mansfield Buildings Right next to Star Lane School. People get them muddled with Manor Buildings which were round the corner on Manor Road My dad lived there from 1928 to 1938 My granddad new it was the wrong place to be as a war was coming. The buildings are no longer there but Star Lane school is. We took my 95 year old father back there few years back and walked over the bridge where the old railway was I think he called them inky pinky steps Don’t quote me. The boys used to stand on the top and try and throw stones down the steam engine funnels nice to have my dad around for the memories

    • Yes I remember them, I had a friend that lived there. I went to Star Lane School infant and juniors. I was born in 25 Malmesbury Road 1947.

  19. My Grandmother was born in Malmesbury Road. I would love to know what housing looked like back in the 1890s as a huge proportion of her family lived in places like Swanscombe Street Woodstock Street. Wouldham Street and the list goes on. My Grandmother was of German descent, and her grandfather worked in sugar refining. Love to hear stories of this place.

    Reply
    • George olmit. I was born at 162 malmesbury road opposite the landlords office ,mr Jude.? a builders yard a general shop where you could purchase broken biscuitswas opposite.my grand parents also lived in malmesbury road.Mc Williams and Olmits.
      Twelve cousins McWilliams lived in Percy road.Two vivid memories , walkingfrom north woolwich past pools of burning debris after a bad air raid in Silvertown in 1940to find that malmesbury road was deserted and all buildings were bomb damaged the residents haveing done a moonlight flit and later while waiting for a trolly bus to go to the ferry looking up and seeing the street sign Hermit toad for some 15 years I had understood it was called ERMIT road.

    • Used to take mums rent there for our house in Clarence Rd. Also was it hoadlys scrap metal yard opp bomb site near clifton rdal

  20. Is this the same Jollys greengrocer that had a shop on Hermit road Canning Town opposite the sweet shop Tarrants? I also lost my uncle in the Ronan Point explosion as well would love to know more details about a memorial 4 people died if my memory servers me right?

    Reply
    • Denise Who was your uncle. I have been trying to get a permanent memorial since 2013. It is going to happen once regrneration of freenasons road is completed. we had a memorial service last year for 50th anniversary. You can contact ne on FB under the name Patricia A Jolly if you want further info

  21. Just a couple of facts to add to your article. The slum clearance in Canning Town/Custom House after WW2 resulted in the creation of what was known as the Keir Hardie Estate. The estate was named for James Keir Hardie, the first
    Labour MP and a member of the first Labour government, the Ramsey McDonald Labour government. He had previously been an independent and represented West Ham South in the early years of the 1900s.
    The ‘infamous’ towers you mentioned were Ronan Point, Patterson Point. There was a third but I’ve long forgotten the name. My sister-in-law lived in Patterson Point and it was Ronan Point that lost one corner of the top floors through an explosion. Local rumour had that someone was storing gelignite ‘under bed’ but the more prosaic reason for the explosion was probably a gas leak.
    The tower blocks were a cheap and nasty way of housing the less well off. From memory the grounds were not well looked after and the lifts always stank of urine. I was thankful that my family had been rehoused in a decent, attractive environment long before those monstrosities were built.

    Reply
    • I lived on the Kier Hardie Estate..from 1952…In Tarling Road near St Lukes church…I also know the Tower blocks you refer to, Merrit Point, Ronan Point Dodson Point Abrahams Point and several more. My sister lived in Merrit and I lived in Dodson…Ronan point was in fact a gas explosion it happened on the 15th floor…My dad’s cousin and his wife both died in the disaster…As a matter of fact i and a friend have been in contact for the last two years to have a memorial put in place for the victims…The area of Freemasons Road will be undergoing a large refurb to go along with the new Crossrail Line at Custom House Station…Newham Council have agreed to it…it is just a matter to decide where to place it…
      The Beckton area was reclaimed marshland..I also lived there from 1983 off Tollgate Road….Many properties today still suffer subsidence because of the ground..

    • Pat, I’m sorry you lost family in that Ronan Point disaster. I had moved away from the area by then but most of my family still lived off Freemasons Road. My sister-in-law lived in Patterson Point at the time of the explosion and my husband’s aunt lived in the third tower block. I remember only those three being there, perhaps the others were built at a later date.
      I moved from there to Chingford then to Walthamstow and on to Brentwood and finally left the country for good in 1974.

    • Hi Vicki – just found this site ……… all the memories are flooding back!!
      Just adding to your post, the other tower was Gannon Point – I lived there in 1971 after the Ronan Point explosion, they were rebuiding Ronan Point at the time and they changed all the blocks to all electric only. It was a gas leak blast that caused the collapse of the corner flats. My sister-in-law moved into Ronan point after it was re-built.

  22. Hi Malcolm..I lived in Brunel Street off the Silvertown Way from 1946.. before moving to Tarling Road..My family name is Jolly, we were greengrocers and we had stalls down the old Rathbone Street, before taking over shosp in the early 50s. Our shop was just across the railway lines from the Victoria Dock…I have written a book about growing up in Canning Town…It’s called ‘A Jolly Time in Canning Town’ by me Patricia Jolly…..available on Amazon, Newham Bookshop and Waterstones…The heart has gone out of it now…but still i return often

    Reply
    • Hello, thank you for your comment. I was born early ’70s and East London still seemed to be just about hanging onto the “old ways”. I remember seeing the derelict dock cranes, the rag and bone man on a horse and cart. Everything going silent for Remembrance Sunday at 11am.

      The pace of change nowadays is so rapid that I struggle to recognise parts of Ilford where I grew up. The rat runs my grandfather would drive to take us all to Kings Cross to visit his mum etc.

    • You lived in Ilford eh…In my younger days Ilford was ‘posh’…lot of money people there…A lot of Jewish people lived there…Jewish people loved a fur coat..My aunt had a mink fur coat and a mink fur jacket made over Ilford…Being as my family were in business they mixed with other business families and one of them was Jewish..The lady if that family took my aunt to the furriers and told him what my aunt wanted..Then she said the skins had to be female mink…My aunt didn’t argue..Apparently female mink is softer that male mink…My aunt is now 92.. She wanted me to have her fur coats..they woulda been too small for me, but i suggested that my cousin would like them…It was only recently that they were given to my cousin. I found the bill for the Full length coat dating back to 1967.. £3,000.. My aunt only wore it a few times..then left it in the wardrobe cos the animal rights people were throwing paint over people wearing fur coats in the 70s…I used to like shopping in Bodgers…they did nice stuff..

    • My grandmother used to clean a house for a Jewish lady who lived in Gants Hill. I still remember the lady’s name to this day. My grandparents lived near Kings Cross station and moved to Ilford in the very early ’60s. Certainly was a step up from their tiny flat in a Victorian block in Tonbridge House.

    • ARE YOU ANY RELATED TO RON JOLLY WHO MARRIED PEARL MYERS WAS A FRIEND OF MINE MOVED TO CORNWALL SO I LOST TOUCH M REED

    • I was born in Plaistow, Beatrice Street backing on to Chargeable Lane, moved at the outbreak of war to Dale Road, bombed out in March 1941. My father worked for Standard Telegraph & Cables so we moved to Leicester when the firm was bombed. Returned in 1946 to a Nissan Hut in the shadow of Saint Luke’s in Tidal Basin. Raffy was my regular haunt. We were one of the first to move onto Kier Hardie Estate, Killip Close, before returning to Plaistow.

      I met my wife at Jenson & Nicholsons in Stratford. She was originally from Forest Gate but a V2 destroyed their house so they moved to Ilford. For an East End boy to go out with an Ilford girl was really going up market in those days. We’ve now been married for neigh on 58 years.

      We don’t go back to Ilford etc any more, I feel like a foreigner up there these days.

    • Hi Pat, I don’t know if you will get this as your post is 3 years ago, but I would love to know more about Brunel Street, what it was like. My gt grandfather and family lived at 1 Brunel St in the 1870s.

  23. I heard in Barking St that there treasure they left..some of them are dimposed but this woman never tell to just landlord but they digged n breakfast the Brick ..there’s some left according to my knownfriend ..the woman keeps this not report to police or counselled bec of the woman intention..how can you the treasure find this tresure ..to detected gusto treasure..

    Reply
  24. My grandfather was born in Canning Town in December 1875, his name was Charlie Thomas Shaw as was his father and his mother was Annie Jack. My grandfather immigrated to Australia late 1800 early 1900s.My aim is to come over there when I retire and try and find a little more of his background, if there is anyone who know or connected to this family I would love to hear from you.

    Reply
  25. Hi my grandfather lined in bengeo st two streets away from Canary Wharf , their surname was Hopewell my grandmother was Mary Ann my grandfather was John Edward my dad was one of 12 him being th last born , I could not even imagine what life must have been like,

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment, I guess like anything there were situations that we would love (quiet Sundays, no 24 hour shopping!) and hardships that we don’t want to see ever again.

    • My parents use to live in Bengeo Street. They may well have known each other. My Mother only passed away last year at the age of 98. Some of the stories she told were beyond belief

    • my Grandfather ( Joseph Warren )was born at 24 bengeo st in 1879.
      My Great Grandfather was Jonathan Summers Warren, and his wife was Amelia.

    • Your the 1st person I have found who had a relative living in Bengeo St. One story which my Mother told me was about the bomb that hit Hallesville School. They were suppose to go to the school, but my father said no were not going there and instead went to an air raid shelter. hen I saw it on TV it brought it all to life.

    • The “Blitz” TV program rang a bell, hence the post. By 1893 the Warren family had moved to 42 High St, North Woolwich.
      (Now Pier Rd, I believe) by 1916 my grandfather lived in Station St, where my father was born, until bombed out during blitz.

    • Alan Just been looking at the 1939 Register and found that My Dad and brother were living at 22 Bengeo st. I know between 1891 and 1911 I had family that also lived in Bengeo st

  26. I’m youngest of 10 kids I’m now coming up 58 my mother was one of 12 kids she was born 1919 her dad was in the boer and WW1 and was a warden in the 2nd growing up in Canning Town and custom house was the best time of me life we had sod all but we had family and true proper people.. Have to go a long way to find the kind of people that come from that place.. Times AV changed around that place now pubs where all the memories of the jolly ups have gone! The rows and rows of the old vic house where I once lived have gone but a trip down memory lane brings back all the old characters names faces and places.. My home my town Canning Town my kind of people x

    Reply
    • my name terry I was born in canning town I came from a family of five kids I was the youngest we move into house just as the war ended I was born in 56 and the area still look like a bomb site but I love it and still do even so I now live in norfolk

    • Hi Terry, there can only be one Terry Hulme. We lived next door to each other, and your mums name was Hilda and mine was Mary. I have one sister Mary, I’m sure you will remember and 2 brothers younger than me. You have brothers Ron, Colin and sister Julie? if your the right person, my mum was your god mother when you and your siblings were all christened at the same time Glad you swopped East London for Devon. I moved to Kent 1976, but still have relatives in Canning Town. Although they were hard but great times growing up, and often wish they were still, as less complicated than today.

  27. Malcolm, I have just posted a comment on the site re the South Hallsville school disaster. I am puzzled as to why the area is referred to as Canning Town when our address in Murray Square was Custom House E16, in fact all of that area was Custom House down to the Lido on Becton Rd. When did Custom House lose its identity?

    Reply
    • Vicki,
      There isn’t a single agreed boundary between Canning Town and Custom Hose which creates a lot of confusion. The only official line in use appears to be current council wards which put Murray Square *just* in Canning Town South – the boundary with Custom House ward starts at the bottom of Freemasons Road, heads up, turns left along Coolfin Road, right up Mandela Road, left along Hooper Road then right up Butchers Road all the way to the A13 (which took over Beckton Road).

  28. My Mother’s family came from Canning Town. My Gt Grandfather was a Dockworker. All 7 children were born in the early 1900’s and I know life was hard for them. They lived in Beckton Road and went to Holborn Road School. It affected them in different ways; some had no children and lived indulgent lives and the others had many children and lived frugally.
    I am amazed they all came through both World Wars unscathed. My Mother was born in 1939 in West Ham but after WW2 most of my family moved away from the area to places like Essex.
    My Grandparents and all my Gt Aunts and Uncles have now passed on and I regret not finding out more whilst they were still alive; I now rely on sites like these to help me paint a picture of what life must have been like for my East End relatives.

    Reply
    • I grew up in Ilford as you may have read, so know those areas very well. My parents are post war babies but my grandparents had plenty of stories to tell. Likewise we as a family migrated to Essex before then moving all over the UK. I’m in Devon now.

    • Malcolm, I was born in Forest Gate, as a baby lived in Oakdale Road, evacuated to Somerset, back to Forest Gate then were rehoused to Murray Square, Custom House. I’m still puzzled as to why that area is referred to as Canning Town. In the early 70s I moved to Brentwood and from there to Australia. My husband and I now live in Victoria but we’re spending Christmas with our daughter and her family in Darwin. It is hot,muggy and very wet right now. Happy Christmas to you and all your blog friends.😊😊😊

    • I was born in 1938 at St Mary’s Hospital but my father business was a Scalemaker and hardware shop at 121 Rathbone Street market where he had to check all the stallholders scales to make sure they were accurate. He was bombed out and we had to move to Essex and I wonder if there are any survivors of that old market. His shop was started in 1866 by his Father Samuel Ashmore Arnold.

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