History of Canning Town East London

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 by paying to use a toll bridge. The area opened up in the early 19th century when the Barking Road was built.

This brought with it a larger 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 it did not even get its name until the Victorian period. It is probably named after Charles Canning. He was a relatively famous and popular character at the time as he had successfully managed the Indian Mutiny in his role as Viceroy of India. Once the area started to be developed, however, it turned into a busy industrial and commercial hub.

Visit Canning Town in East London.

Royal Victoria Docks
Royal Victoria Docks

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 opening of the Barking Road passenger station, together with 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 also had a new dock, the Royal Victoria Dock. However, the local water supply and sewage system was not designed to cope with the increasing number of local residents and businesses, and Canning Town became infamous for its slum living conditions, high poverty levels and outbreaks of smallpox and cholera due to its inadequate sanitary conditions.

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 largest black community in London with over 100 families living in the area.

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 of the regulations of the city itself also made it easier for businesses 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 to provide better social conditions for local residents. Many slum properties were torn down, and new houses, nurseries, medical clinics and even a lido opened in the area.

The Second World War also badly 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 local housing stock was destroyed.

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 local housing stock was destroyed.

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, local 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 of 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 a number of 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, and smaller, houses and the lessons learned from this accident changed the way that high-rises were built. Canning Town still remains a relatively deprived area and is undergoing continuing redevelopment.

517 thoughts on “History of Canning Town East London”

  1. My Dad was brought up in Brassey house (flats) Hie name was Kenny (kenneth ) Maroni he was good friends with Dennis smith, Anyone know them ?

  2. My name is Margot Farnham. My Nan was Dorothy Read and my granddad David Read. His family had a totters yard in Star Lane. Anyone know that family or my Nan’s family who were Adams?

  3. My Mum was born in ‘old canning town’ as she always referred to it. Millicent Hawkins was born in 1926 and lived in bidder street. when the houses were declared slums by the then King and demolished, she moved to Kildare Road. I was born in Plaistow, and have great memories of canning town market from the guy in the butchers who chanted what he was selling. the hot saveloys and peace pudding. the live eels in caters, and the horror of them having their heads chopped off ! but most of all my love of mirkoffs icecream.

    1. Mirkoff’s!!! I remember that tiny icecream shop. My mum used to take my sister and I there for a treat. The icecream was out of this world – by far the best I had tasted. The old street market (Rathbone Market, also known as Raffy) was a 10 minute walk down our road. I was born in Plaistow Hospital in the mid 60’s and lived in Malmesbury Road, Canning Town, until the houses (called slums) were demolished in 1976 and we moved to Plaistow. Caters supermarket – what memories! I can faintly remember the live eels. Also the laundry on the corner, opposite Caters, where we used to take our washing if it was too difficult to hand wash.

    2. Hi Karen. Whereabouts in Malmesbury? I was born in 1947 at no. 25, then around the age of eight we re-located to no. 80. I went to Star Lane Infant and Junior, then onto Pretoria (now known as Eastleigh). My family name is Burns, and Nichols, also Denwood in Clarence Road.

    3. It’s funny how people say Murkoff’s Ice cream was so great. In my list it came last and was only used if nowhere else was open. Old Murkoff was a miserable old so-and-so who only spoke to tell you how much you owed, never a please or thank you. But then again maybe it was me! Mitchell’s had the best ice cream and Caldori’s did the best lemon ice,,

      1. I worked for Murkoffs for a while after leaving school ( Shipman road )
        Mr Murkoff could hold a conversation. serve ice cream, and still check my adding up , and the till was similar to arkwrights , need all your fingers and the strength of popeye to open the damn thing
        saw the ingredients for the ice cream delivered though but not the recipe

  4. Hi all
    My family had two she’s and two factorys in the canning town area Coombs brothers sold sweets, jam and tea. There offices were in rathbone Street any information would be greatful.

    1. Coombs had a factory close to the bottom of Raffy. They used to open up a sort of window and as you walked past you had the gorgeous smell of strawberries or whatever wafting out. I understood that they were an off shoot of Clarnicos. Green & Siley Weir were nearby.

    2. Hi, tell me more about the Coombs in that area back then. My grandmother was a Coombs that married a Jackson. Thx

  5. My mother, Patricia Conlogue nee Florey grew up in Randolph Rd, E16. Her mother, Annie and father Sidney both worked at Tate & Lyles. My mother attended Shipman Road Secondary School in the 1950’s and I attended a primary school on Prince Regent’s Lane in the late 1960’s before we relocated to Thetford, Norfolk with Jeyes. I had a great friend called Donna O’Shea who I believe lived on/near Churchill Road.

    Does anyone have any post war pictures of this street or the area that has now been demolished?

    1. My husband’s cousin went out with a Rita Florey. My husband also knew this girl from Shipman Road. The cousin’s name was Philip Pigrem.

      1. My aunt is Rita Florey, who would be about 77 now; she moved to Australia about 10 years ago. I am trying to locate any photographs of the area, especially Randolph Road and the primary school on Prince Regent’s Lane that I attended in the late 1960’s.

        1. My husband is 77 so roughly the same age as your Aunt Rita. I would say we’re talking about the same Rita. My husband’s name is Ted Coppell and he’s just said that Rita was a lovely girl – he liked her. We came to Australia in 1974. What state does Rita live in?

          1. I believe she is in Western Australia – I don’t have any contact with her these days. My mum passed away a few months ago and I am annoyed with myself that I didn’t ask her more about ‘the good old days’ as she referred to them. I have found a photo of Shipman Road school on the internet – it looks quite forbidding. However, mum always said the school reminded her of the school in “To Sir With Love” with Sidney Poitier, minus the handsome Mr Poitier of course! I love that movie ; very nostalgic. Mum & Rita used to live at 92 Randolph Road and as a child I moved to no. 54. There were also some prefabs on both sides of the street. I remember going on errands to some shops at the top of Randolph Road and also to the summer reading club at the library. As a family we all ended up in Gorleston-on-sea in Norfolk (near Gt Yarmouth) which is where mum, Rita used to have holidays in the 50’s and 60’s

            Mum used to talk about someone called Rita Millett – does your husband remember her?

    2. Joann Emms nee Wheeler

      Hi ya Tracey. Donna O Shea died of an overdose some years ago now. I was her friend at Woodside School. I named my daughter after her. She was a wonderful person. I’ve been trying to find any photos of her.

      1. Greetings Joanne,

        I think I have an old school photo of Donna (aged about 6/7). Not sure how to get it to you though – but perhaps you meant you would like one of her as an adult. I see the name Wheeler in your post. My grans family were Wheeler’s (I think my gran was one of 11 children) who lived at 63 Randolph Rd. Any relation that you know of?

        1. Long delay in answering your question, Tracy. No my husband didn’t know Tracy Millett. Any luck tracing where your aunt lives/lived in WA. I have a sister living in WA.

        2. Hi Joanne, my family lived at 51 or 57 Randolph Rd, before the bombings. The Jacksons. Can you put me in contact with anyone or info. Thx

        3. Hi sorry to jump in my Partner is a Wheeler Barry George he married a Iris Watson don’t know if there’s any family links

    3. Have you read the book “The Sugar Girls about Tate sugar factory? Wonderful book and lots of mentions of Cannong Town, Plaistow. All where my family are from

    4. Ellee Taylor/Lacey

      Hey Tracey , my great grand father was George Henry Taylor , his wife was called Violet (nee smith) . He also worked in the Tate and Lyles sugar factory as a labourer , Just wondering if them names ring any bells , many thanks x

  6. Born, 1929. I lived at 29 Cave Rd Plaistow.One Sunday in July 1944 . We left the house at approx. 11am. Doodlebug hit it at approx. 12pm . Many neighbours killed and injured. We were lucky. Any one out there know anything about this. Was not evacuated I have lots more info.Live in Kent now.

  7. Did anyone contributing to this page go to or is/was familiar with Stratford Grammar School when it was in Stratford behind West Ham Recreation Park – around 1952-1955. The schoolwas relocated to a site close to The Spotted Dog after that time. If there is someone familiar with the school around that time do they also remember a teacher by the name of Mr. Fieldgate?

    1. Hi there,
      I went to both of the Stratford Grammar Schools – the first one next to West Ham Park was just around the corner from where we lived, on Shirley Rd. I remember there was a tuck shop on the corner. Lots of memories from there – thanks for bringing it all back.

  8. My grandfather was born in Canning Town (c1898) and lived in 34 (I think) Scott Street. His name was Albert Coulson, son of Joseph Coulson. I am starting to trace this part of my family if anyone can help/is related.

    1. Hi Robert
      I come from canning town and there are a few really good Facebook sites…canning town memories…start with this one and they will advise you on another one where they help you trace people from the area…I’m sure someone will be able to help you on there. ..good luck

  9. My mother, Hilda Clark, was born at 197 Barking Road, Canning Town to Tom & Sophia (Dolly) Clark. She had three older sisters, Edna, Mary and Mabel (but Mabel died in childhood, I believe) and a younger sister, Pamela. In 1937, the family moved to Barking. My mother died in March 2016, aged 92 and, had she lived another 3 months, would have celebrated the 70th anniversary of her wedding to my father Jack Cresswell – now 98, but not all that well.

  10. Hello, I have just came across this site, My maternal G Grandmother (Margaret Alldridge nee Andrews) was born in 1902 at 29 Clarence Rd, Canning Town (as were her sister Ethel 1903 & brother James 1908) by the time she married in 1919 she was living at 32 Clarence Rd. My grandmother was also born Canning Town, most of my maternal side came from Canning Town, Poplar, Bow, West Ham, at some point though they moved out to Southend & Romford.

    1. Ilived at 25 clarence rd born there 1940 and we moved to barking in 1956 went to star lane and south west ham tech

      1. Hi Alan.
        I remember you and your sister Margaret. She was my friend . Do you remember Albert the milkman who delivered the milk on his hand cart..we lived opposite no 64..it makes you relive the past with so many happy memories. I often wondered what happened to Margaret..my single name was Holdbrook.

  11. 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

    1. 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.

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

    2. 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

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

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

          1. 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!

    3. 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.

      1. Bill Smyth. Ex Carson Road, 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.

        1. 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

          1. ‘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.

        2. 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

  12. 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

    1. 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.

        1. 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 .

          1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

    4. 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

  13. Mary Andrews nee Arnold

    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.

    1. 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.

        1. 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!

          1. 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.

      1. 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 ?

        1. 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

      2. Lisa Davies (Bruns)

        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

  14. Mary Andrews nee Arnold

    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.

    1. Janice brown josch

      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

      1. 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

        1. Janice Brown josch

          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

      2. 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

    2. 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 !

      1. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. Janice Brown Josch

        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

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

  15. Barbara willson-Graham

    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.

  16. 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

    1. Barbara willson-Graham

      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.

      1. Janice Brown josch

        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

    2. 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

  17. 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.

    1. 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

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

  18. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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?

        1. 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

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

          3. 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?

        2. Patrick Blake-Kerry

          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….

      3. 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

        1. 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.

          1. 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!

          2. 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.

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

          1. 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

          2. 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?

          3. Barry Ives. From Nigel Rogers. If you read this, have a temporary email address you can contact me on.
            Leave your contact details and we can arrange meet in The Hoy or Anchor

    2. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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?

      2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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

      1. 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 ?

  19. 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.

  20. Hi Malcolm
    You mentioned that your grandmother cleaned a Jewish lady’s house in Gant’s Hill…was her name Esther?

    1. 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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.