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.

554 thoughts on “History of Canning Town East London”

  1. Hello, does anybody remember the E A Burnell butchers in the original Rathbone Market, Fife Road and Tarling Road. These shops were owned by my Grandfather and Father. I have visited the area today and found the Tarling Road parade of shops are no more and the Fife Road shop is now a Ladbrokes betting office. Massive changes in the general area too – Kier Hardy School has gone amongst other big changes.

    1. I was born in 1939 and lived in Beckton rd , I can rememember after the war going to the Queens theatre in poplar to see the variety shows , I think the compare was called Buttons,does anyone else remember the theatre.

      1. I was born in 1932 Charles, and I went to the Queens many times as a schoolboy. I used to help a local greengrocer with his Saturday morning horse and cart round and my payment was a trip to the Queens in the evening. And I loved it.

        1. Perhaps I should add that I was born in Chard Street which was located in what we used to call Old Canning Town, an area that was destroyed by incendiary bombing early in the war and,as far as I am aware, has remained an industrial site till this day. But I lived in Canning Town until I was past 40.

          1. Members of the Romany ‘Gypsy’ branches of my family tree [Buckley, Taylor, Smith] settled in Canning Town / West Ham / Plaistow / Leytonstone in the late Victorian era – often when the early death of the man of the family made it too difficult to carry on travelling. I know that one of the families, surname Taylor, lived at 1 Chard Street, and others variously and at different times in Star Lane, Shipwright Street, Charlotte Street, Wellington Place, Bidder Street, Tucker Street and Florence Street. I wonder if the descendants of these family might be looking at this thread?

          2. Hi, I’m searching for a john Taylor, Worked on the building trade of canning town roofing and scaffolding. 1960’s i think he was born. Any one have any information (maybe his mother was Italian, i have heard through the grape vine) ManyThanks

      2. Charles – I believe your late sister Doreen to be my Auntie. She was married to my Mother’s brother Bernard [who I know as George – a ‘family’ thing I assume]. They lost contact many years ago and I don’t know if Bernard is still alive. His parents [my grandparents] lived in Grange Road, Ilford and i think Doreen and Bernard lived in Seven King’s at the time. My mother is Margaret Clarke nee French her husband Bob sadly died last year. If you are still in contact please feel free to pass this info on.

      3. Sorry Charles not sure if my last post worked.
        I believe your late sister Doreen is my Auntie. She was married to Bernard French my mother’s brother. We know him as George [a family thing although my youngest is named George after her brother]. My mother is Margaret Clarke nee French. Her parents lived in Grange Road Ilford – I think Doreen and Bernard lived in Seven Kings when I was very young. Sadly her husband Bob Clarke died last year and Margaret lost touch with Bernard many years ago although I do remember him telling my mother of Doreen’s sad passing. If you are still in contact with Bernard please feel free to pass this information on. Thank you.

        1. Hi joe , Small world , you are right and sadly George died a few years ago , George and Doreen along with there three sons Steve, Paul and Chris all lived in Witham near Chelmsford as I do now . I think your mum had a sister who I got on very well with when we were young she was a such a lovely girl . Keep in touch would love to hear from you again. Charlie.

          1. Charlie – thanks for replying so quickly. Well that is sad he was younger than my mother as well. Any idea when and from what he died? Only Jeanette and my Mother left although they also remain estranged since about 1987 I think. I live near Chelmsford as my parents moved to Ingatestone from Ilford in 1978. Jean had two sons Eddie and Daniel. Joe

          2. Joe , where do you live now and we can arrange to meet in a pub near you , looking forward to meeting you. Charlie.

        2. Joe , George died about five years ago with cancer the same as Doreen, he did marry again but perhaps if we could meet up I will fill you in with the whole story. We must only be a short distance from where we both live , my son only recently moved from ingatestone I still play bowls there sometimes. Charlie

          1. My apologies Charlie i found my mother collapsed at home (Bernard’s sister) so nursing her back to health. Give me a while and we can arrange something maybe at The Bell In Danbury? Joe

          2. Joe , sorry to hear about mum hope she’s gets well soon , the Bell pub is good for me , see you soon , Charlie.

          3. Charlie – I thought I would update you that we have finally got my mother reasonably comfortable at home. So if you are still OK to meet up let me know when free. Maybe short notice but I am around tonight [Tue] and most Tuesday’s. Let me know. Kind Regards, Joe

          4. Hi Charles, my grandads name was Charlie Sage (born around 1915) and his mums name was Nellie, I’m sure they were from that area around the same time,. He went on to marry Dolly Sage and had two children (Joan and Pauline). Any relation or memory of him?

          1. Charlie – assume we are still on for 7.30pm tonight Bell Inn? Looking forward to meeting you. Joe

          2. Ok see you there – I will bring a picture of the French family and it is sadly the only picture my mother has of George [Bernard]. I’m sure you will recognise them all as it was taken in 1962 i believe.

      4. I am 82 now but I worked in my dad’s shop Gobells butchers in Prince Regent Lane for many years from 1957 when I came out of the army. Anybody remember the shop? Hope they do.

        1. Was Gobells near churchill road I remember a butchers shop with adjacent grocery shop, in the sixties,
          and sweet shop Mrs Larkins i think and at the end of prince regent lane was mrs Stephens tobacco and newspapers ,
          I lived in Ripley road

    2. I remember Burnells Butcher Tarling Road, because my dads greengrocers shop Jollys was right next door.
      The original 10 shops were Francis-Grocer
      Lakers -Sweet shop
      Laundrey shop
      Burnell-Butchers- Also Benny Rand Butcher


      1. Hi Pat
        I was born in Malmesbury Rd in 1947 and went to Star Lane Infant and Junior School. Then Pretoria Secondary (NOW EASTLIEGH) There was a girl in my class from the Jolly family, and her parents had a Greengrocers in Hermit Road? But I cant remember her Christian name. We moved from Canning Town when I was 15 to Custom House. I remember the Ronan Point explosion, it shook me in my bed early that morning. And my now sister- in-law’s Aunt and Uncle that lived in the tower were killed.

          1. my husband was a fireman at prince regent lane, and drove the first appliance that went to Ronan Point, he is Ken Smith and lived in Percy road

        1. Hi Christine.. Only just now seen your post. I think she was Mary Jolly. I lived in the area at the time that Mary owned a VW Beetle and I had one with almost the same registration. Never got to spoke with her – too shy, thanks to having attended an all boys school (the old South West Ham Tech on Barking Road)

        2. I do not remember if there was one in Hermit Road but Mrs Jolly (elderly) had a shop in Pretoria Road, next to the coal yard. She used to give me an Apple when I shopped for my Mum !!

      2. i think i remember you Pat and your younger sister Liz? – my name is John Andress (Andy) – we used to all go to St Margarets club on Barking Road – i lived in Hermit Road then next door to my uncles Charlies the Barber and opposite Georges Pie & Mash shop (luvly) – i still see Mick Dulieu – Max & Peter Stevens and recently met with Kay & Jack Duffield at Mick’s 70th birthday bash – i hope you are the same Pat Jolly ?

        1. Charlie Wickenden, now there’s a name to jog the memory. His wife did a bit of Ladies hairdressing too. Spent a large part of my youthful life watching Charlie give blokes a D.A. etc. One very wet Saturday morning I watched a bloke have a really elaborate DA. When Charlie asked what he was doing that afternoon the bloke said “I’m playing football at the Mems, then off to The Winter Hall (dance hall in East Ham)”. I bet the “mud” helped his haircut set nicely!

      3. Hi Pat . my grandfather had a shoe repair business on Hermit road it was known as Reids our surname is Tripp I think we are related.

      1. I read your book, Pat, and really enjoyed it. It provided a brilliant perspective on the social history of the fabric and cohesion of the community at that time and is of great interest for anyone who knew the area, past or present.

    3. Yes remember the butchers in fife road ,we lived in Reed close just around the corner ,went to Keira hardy school from 1955-61

  2. Hello all,
    My Mum and all my aunties were born in Canning Town in the 1930s and lived there until they were bombed out during WW2. I wondered if any of you could please recommend a DVD about life at the time in that part of the East End. Many thanks and I enjoy reading all your comments about your memories.

    1. Hi Jane
      A friend of mine johnny ringwood has written an autobiographyof tge life and times of a london docklands man. It us a good read, he was brought up in canning town, the book is called Cargoes & Capers. I bought it on Amazon im pretty sure it was less than a tenner. Jphn was born in 1936 next to the royal doc the book was printed in 2017. Im sure you will enjoy it.

  3. Hello, Just found this site. My Dad was born in Hearn Street in Canning Town in 1930 and lived there with his 2 elder sisters and parents until the start of WW2 when they were evacuated. Don’t suppose anyone knows of any photos of that street on any sites or has any memories of it or my family? My Dad often recounted how he and his mates would cross under the Thames on foot and then return on the Woolwich ferry.

    1. Janice Brown Josch

      Hello everyone .. did anyone know my now late father, Charles Brown? Lived in RavensCroft Road, his mother (remarried) Eileen Thorp

    2. Ellee taylor/lacey

      Hey , i have just found out my great grandparents and grand father was born at tidal basin , 29 hearn street . My grandad is called Ernest Taylor , be nice to hear from anybody who knows him

  4. stanley reed farther frederick reed dockeri was born

    i lived 44 ordnance road e 16 bombed 1940 now live north london age 88 met a school mate 1951 raf benson

    1. Are you related to the reds who lived in liverpool rd to end near the sweetshop my husband came from there Lesley Reed no 28 m

  5. Does anyone remember the Wheeler or Florey family? They lived in Randolph Rd, Custom House in the 50’s and 60’s (probably earlier than that too). My nan, Annie Florey (nee Wheeler) & grandad Sid worked at Tate & Lyle in Silvertown.I am looking for any photos of the street from any time period and Shipman Road school.

    1. my aunt eileen and uncle pat pepper lived in Randolph rd then i will have a look for some pictures i know i have some

      1. Hi Debra,

        Did you manage to find any photos of Randolph Rd? I attended Prince Regent Lane primary school in the 1960’s does anyone remember this school? I can’t find anything on it at all

        1. Hi Debra. Try searching for Tollgate school. It was just off Prince Regent lane, and is probably the school you’re referring to. I went there from 1960 to 1966, infants and juniors.

  6. Hello I am Lisa Bruns now Davies..My whole family comes from Canning Town.They started of in Malmesbury Rd (the old one.) And they then moved to Exining Road some years later (the first house on the corner) right up until 2015 when my Grandad sadly passed away christmas eve 2014. My Dad is Stephen Bruns,he has 3 brothers and 1 sister, Keith, Geoff, Angela, Brian. And my nan and grandad were Sidney and Phyllis Bruns. Also My Great nan used to own the Fish and chip shop on Star Lane her name was Rose Hopkins but this was way back I think before the Anchor Pub was around? Which I basically spend most of my childhood in the Anchor (Or on the step outside haha) The owners used to have a daughter called Leigh and we all used play outside together must be about 30 years ago now.. I am 38.

    I loved going up the raffy (Rathbone Market) and getting a hot dog for 60p and then a cake in Percy Inckles or going to Murkoffs Best ice creams ever..I lived in Shirley Street all my life and moved 2005.. All my childhood memories are from the east end and I miss it.

    1. Hi Lisa,

      My name is David Pickles, I was born in Stratford in 1955 (Queen Mary’s Hospital), and lived in Plaistow (Falcon St) until 1989.

      I remember someone called Elaine Bruns who went to either Grange Rd school and/or Ravenscroft and wondered whether she was a relative of yours too, as it’s such an unusual surname.

      Both my parents are buried at East London Cemetery and I go up around every 6-8 weeks to put flowers on their grave. Unlike you, though I don’t miss the East End anymore as it’s not the place of my childhood (lovely) memories anymore, but changed beyond total recognition.

      Best wishes to you and your family.

      1. Christine Jackson

        My friend is Elaine Bruns and she remembers you. She lives in Dagenham. She went to Grange Road, then Curwen then Lister Tech. She is related to the Bruns family in Canning Town but didn’t really know them.

        1. Hi Christine,

          Thank you for replying, I wonder if you know what Elaine’s Parents are called please, just so I can see how we are related.

          Thank you

      2. Lisa Davies (Bruns)

        Hi David

        I don’t know Elaine or heard of that name. But my family is so big and I’m still meeting new members..

        I only miss the old days, not as it is now as it’s totally changed..

        I lived and worked in Stratford for about 10 years along the Broadway and lived at Riverside road and I worked in The Builders and The Greyhound pubs, Do you Terry White? He was the DJ in the Greyhound for years.

        1. Hi Lisa

          No, I don’t recall the name. I did frequent the Greyhound occasionally, you may have served me a pint or three!

          My usual visits to Stratford were either the Swan (big pub on the corner – not sure whether it’s still there now), or to pick up the coach for the speedway at Hackney on Friday nights, when we’d go into the Edward VIII by the church.

          Happy days – never to be repeated of course. How things have changed, we never knew then how it would all turn out!

          Best wishes – David

          1. Hi David

            I worked in the greyhound from 2001 for a few years, when Tino and Isabelle ran it. Me and my family always used to go every Saturday night and knew a lot of people in there, was one of the best times of my life.

            I do know the Swan but only went in there once or twice. Mainly The Greyhound and sometimes the Spread Eagle.. And Streeties in Canning Town but So many pubs have gone.. its really sad.

            Kind Regards


      3. Hello David, I remember both you and Elaine Bruns. My name was Fiona Rowland (now Potter) and I went to Ravenscroft after Grange Road. Do you remember Glenda Smith she lived near you at the end of Anne Street.

    2. Hello lisa
      I knew your dad very well and your nan & grandad, i used to sleep over at weekends, Hopkins fish & chips were the best around, my dad wouldnt have any other. I remember the family moving round to Exning rd cos the offy was next door on the corner. The anchor pub has been there forever we used to hire out the upstairs regular for little parties when we were too young to drink downstairs ! give my regards to your dad, had fond memories of ol “Brunsy”
      Colin “Tommo” Thomas

      1. Lisa Davies (Bruns)

        Hello Colin

        My dad sadly has dementia and I care for him he lives with me in Suffolk with my family.

        He always talks about the fish and chip shop that my nanny hopkins had, sadly she passed away many years ago now at the age of 81 ish, My Nan (phil) passed wen I was 13/14 25 years ago.

        How old would you of been then? My dad’s memory is around that era alot.I will ask him if he remembers you and I will pass on your regards.

        Thank you so much for replying Colin – Best wishes to you and your family.

  7. My grandfather was born in West Hamm, and lived in Custom House in 1911. He was 13 at the time. His name was Robert Wilfred Waters. His father had the same name, and his mother was either Eliza or Lilian Webb. He had an elder sister with the same name as his mother and some younger siblings, I believe one was named Harold.

    On the census they were just listed as living at Custom House, London. No specific address – anyone know why? What was ‘Custom House’?

    Any information would be greatly appreciated! My grandfather died after the first world war from an injury that left him in a wheelchair. It was a rather sad story, but thankfully my father Robert Waters emigrated to Canada and had a good life.

      1. I lived in Murray Square, Custom House from 1950 until 1962 and always believed that the area was a suburb on its own – totally separate from Canning Town.

        1. I am 38 and Custom house/Canning town is all the same. I know a few families in Murray Square.. A family friends of ours who has been the Decades they are the Jackson Family do you know them?


          1. No, Lisa, don’t remember any Jacksons ( not to say there weren’t any) but I do remember a Davies family. They had a german shepherd called Kim that terrified the neighbourhood kids.

  8. My name was Irene Bull , lived in Mary Street and then Silveryown Way, loved going to Rathbone market for the sarspirella and Murkoffs icecream. Love looking back to those good old days, may have been a slum area but there was more community spirit than there is nowadays.

    1. my mum, used to go to Rathbone market, she often mentions hot sarspirella in the winter time. She was born 1936 a Scanlan, they lived in Victoria Dock Road. She has dementia now , so if any one has any memories to hare or photos, that would be great

  9. Hello pat leach. I remember your family very well Pat Sylvia mick and mum dad, Do you remember who lived above you in Beckton road. Mr
    rattenberry. my sister dolly and Joan have now passed on. Ivy has,
    moved to Brighton, Some one may be interested to to know that mr CRIBB
    is still with us but retired, his real name is STAN HARRIS. I must
    get in touch with my cousin CHARLIE SAGE. have not seen him for many years looking forward to hear from you.

      1. Good morning Charlie,

        Just a stab in the dark, but was your mum edie who lived at number 36 next to us in 38.

        I was only young but I knew edie & remember Pauline who married ken,

        Let me know please if Im right

        1. Paul Short , hi Paul Yes your right also my sisters Doreen and Theresa , you probably lived there when my father died when we worked at the BOCM in Silvertown, sadly mum and Doreen have died but I’m in Witham , Pauline in Canvey,and Theresa in Maldon .

  10. reading about charley sage brought back lots of memmories his sister Doreen who sadly passed away as well as her mother edie and there was . Pauline.we were all related my family were the browns and we lived in beckton rd 441 next door to the leach family Sylvia and her sister pat and brother mick. and opposite down a side turning was a
    stadium much larger than Wembley who used to put on speedway after the war.brick air raid sheltersin the back garden,hop picking every
    September. I could go on and on but bye for now

    1. Hi Alfie Brown ! I remember the hop picking very well they were great times down China farm , the old huts lightig the fires going so mum could get dinner going , that long walk to the shop opposite the green hill, Bert doing the toilets , scrumping in the orchards,so many great memories like going into Canterbury every weekend , likeyou say I could go on and on.

      1. Patrick Blake-Kerry

        Makes me laugh, the talk of hop picking as I ended up living in Hampshire as my mum and brother were bombed out and evacuated in 1940. They ended up in Bentley because it was the only place the driver knew outside London.
        Conversly having stayed and live in Bentley after the war it seemed strange that people would want to come all that way to pick hops. Of course all the locals also did the picking, as well as hop training in the spring. Also spud picking as well , and a few Londoners used to stay behind for that. We also had a field full of gypsies complete with horse drawn caravans for the picking season.I think Mum and bro were living in Hermit Rd when they were bombed.

        1. Patlrick , We lived very close to Hermit rd after moving from Beckton rd in fact we drove along there this very day , we went to the cemetery to take flowers to put on my parents grave. To put it bluntly Canning Town is like a foreign country now , it is a s***hole.

  11. I used to have a friend who lived in Star lane in Canning Town in the late 60s and 70s his name was Frank Morgan he was a drummer in a band called The Trend if anyone knows him or has information I would dearly love to hear from them

  12. I went to school in Canning Town, the old South West Ham Tech from 1964 to 1970. They were halcyon days! Tech was very sports orientated and missing lessons to attend athletics matches and to go sailing for a week on the River Blackwater was most welcome. We were a real mixed bag. There was a really good workshop complex where you could choose between metalwork, woodwork, motor mechanics, bricklaying and plumbing. In the first year you could only do Pottery and being told that if you didn’t get all the air out of the clay, it would explode in the oven led to many a hollow head being made purely to destroy all the serious boys pots. Chemistry would involve explosives some times, again, the wrong thing to teach a bunch of budding juvenile delinquents like a lot of us were at the time. I can remember making several bombs from steel tube packed with ingredients I learned about at Tech. We blew up a tree in Balam st park with one shattering the windows of a nearby house.

    Rather than have school dinners, it would be pie and mash at Mudies in the Barking Road or a cafe type place in Rathbone market that had those sugar dispensers whose lids we would loosen before we left. Vinegar bottles and salt pots also got the same treatment. You could buy loose fags in most shops close to the school and these were known as threepennies. It was pot luck what you got but I remember that Gaurds were a regular brand. Ferinos at the back of the school sold ice cream drinks, a mixture of Tizer and the lovely ice cream he sold. I have many stories of my time there which one day, I intend to put into a book. Names will have to be changed as some of the strokes pulled would be extremely embarrassing to those involved and their now families.
    I now work as a Consultant in the Oil and Gas business and travel all over the world and it was Tech that gave me the grounding that has enabled me to do this.

    I will always be grateful to Ozzy, our brilliant headmaster, Mr Garbutt who instilled in me a love for motor engineering, Bill Thurman who always accompanied us on our sailing trips. Jim Lou will always be fondly remembered as will Fred Mundy, for all the wrong reasons. Noddy Brennan was the schools sadist master who enjoyed cutting lads arses open with his famed misuse of the cane but he was the exception,

    All in all they were five years where I made friends I still keep in touch with.
    Great days that will never be forgotten.

    1. Hi John I remember you well I was a couple of years above you but knew all those teachers and the strokes pulled Kevin Selby

        1. Janice Brown josch

          Yes, my Aunt, Edie ran her veg stall for years. Originally her father’s Richard Hughes, my mother Doris, was one of Edies sisters. My grandmother was adorable lady, Edie’s and my mother’s mother. All the time they were alive I saw them at RavensCroft road. They also had a brother, Johnny who died young from tb. Did you know them well .. to me totally irreplaceable people, they had a really hard life, never complained .. salt if the earth Did you know my father, Charles brown who lived opposite

      1. I remember you Kev.if I remember you went to wok as a finger print specialist mate. They were great days mate,never to be forgotten. I still meet up with John Aldridge (Collins brother) and Pat Parret.
        We are all old geezers now Kev but I can still remember the school motto, “Age Ex Animo”. I think it meant have a great time and f*ck about to your hearts content.I may be wrong but I sure tried to live by it!

      2. Ahoy there ole fellow, Ive just stumbled across this site while practising the computer skills picked up while on holiday. I see you’ve been talking to johnnie Walpole a previous regular in the bakers arms stratford and that he has met up with stylo . I phoned stylo 3 years ago when he worked at canary wharf but he had moved on, any news? Do you remember when it was raining coming home from a hammers match and you took off your suede coat and carried it under your arm so it didn’t get wet? Did that happen or was I dreaming?
        The swarve one

    2. hi John I remember all of those teachers and you , im Jeff Smith and was in your class ,John Thurston has been my brother in law since 1976 , have recently met up with Tony Severyns stylo ,it was good to hear about all those old school days

      1. HiJeff!
        I remember you too mate! They were halcyon days Jeff. I’ve met up with Stylo as well, along with Pat Parret and Johnny Aldridge.
        I will always remember Bob Trew writing “Fred” in the snow on the dri play area and shouting out “Fred’s a wanker” when we were in Fred Mundys detention.
        Give my regards to John “Fred” Thurston when you see him mate.

        All the best,

        John Worpole

  13. Antony (Tony) Springate

    My Dad and Mum moved to Malmesbury Road, Canning Town from Kingston Road, Greengate when I was 1 around 1957. They moved to a new town after having their sixth kid around 1968 / 69. Before we moved there were 6 children and 2 adults living upstairs of one of the terraced houses on Malmesbury Road, no wonder we were told to play outside and get home by dark.
    I have started researching my family history and currently gone back as far as 1776. It seems my family have lived in East London all that time.; around Poplar, Stepney, Greengate and Canning Town.
    Here are some of my memories.
    Playing on and picking wild rhubarb on the waste ground adjacent to rail tracks.
    Tiring a rope around top of street lamps, converted from gas to electric, to make a swing.
    Playing ‘tin can alley’ in the road.
    Having cut out cardboard for my plimsoles when they had a hole in the sole.
    Playing on flat bed lorries parked up on debris in our road.
    Going to the lido during the summer.
    Using my school dinner money for pie and mash, oh that lovely green liquor too.
    Being caned across my hand at Star Lane school by Mr Dunlop and Mr Owen. I remember the Head being Mrs Hood.
    Stone frights with the Tiger Lilly gang from Percy Road.
    Going to Saturday morning pictures watching Flash Gordon and Lone Ranger; not that I heard anything with all the ruckus going on by the other kids.
    Player cricket with milk crates as wickets.
    The one eyed milkman.
    The corner sweet shop that sold sarsaparilla, my mums 20 Number 6 fags and my dads 1/2 oz of Old Holborn tobacco.
    Puppet show for my birthday by a local criminal gang member.
    Playing on swings in Hermit Road park.
    My dad working at Spillers French, Silvertown (I later also worked there for 5 years).
    I seem to remember David Essex (Cook) and Frank Lampard senior, both a few years older than me, firing a PP gun at me as I was wearing a very heavy coat.
    Frank Lampard senior came to Pretoria school to teach us football.
    Every 5th November the fire brigade always tried to put the bonfire out on the debris, it was a huge bonfire with loads of kids running around it so not surprised.
    I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane for us 50’s / 60’s kids living down Malmesbury Road.
    All the best,

    1. Tony I remember all you wrote about , I lived in beckon rd from 1939 until 1957 then moved to malmesbury terrace, I worked at the B O C M silvertown for many years . Great times wish we could have those days back kids today don’t know what good times we had.

        1. Hi Pat I’m Charlie Doreen’s brother , sadly Doreen died some years ago. I remember you well and your sister Sylvia , we lived at 451 beckton road and my cousins Dolly, Joan Ivy and Alfie a few doors away, I live in Witham now ,. Really nice to hear from someone from Becton road , I could go on and on talking about the old days and all our old neighbours and what we got up too as kids, Love to you , charlie. I would love to hear from you again.

          1. My grandad was Richard tranter manager in tate and lyles my nan was violet tranter née maloney my other nan was Elizabeth Willis married to Charlie Willis children were Mary, who married Jack Murphy,, Terry who married Diane and Jack who married Joyce from canning Town my nan and grandad Mr and Mrs Richard tranter lived at bottom of roman Rd their house next door to butchers backed on to houses on Beckton rd

    2. Great times I was born in 1940 and lived in Addington Road us kids knew how to make our own enjoyment getting upto mischief most of the time and pinching fruit off stalls down Raffy, does anyone remember the fat red face copper who was always on the crossing in Barking Road and Rathbone he knew all as kids and he would give us a clip around the ear if we got upto anything and said il tell your father when i see him, but he never did.

    3. Hi Tony; My late Uncle Bill (Munson) had a shop in Barking in the 50’s. His sister was David Essex’s mother! I was born in 1954 and lived in Katherine Road, Forest Gate. Regards; David.

  14. My Dad Eddie London worked in Johnson Bros butchers in the Old Rathbone market, and I used work there every Saturday. outside was a stall that sold all types of pickles and pickled herrings the lady who ran it was called Elsie, next to her was Ranson’s fruit & veg stall.

    Next door to Johnsons was Wallis’s general store, on the other side was a Dry cleaners with the old steam press, there was also a clothing shop called Secunders (not sure of the correct spelling). I have just read a book called A East end farewell about Cribbs undertakers who where at the bottom of Rathbone st brought back many memories of the area. my Mum Molly (nee Barron) lived in Mayfield rd, when the old market was closed Johnsons moved to Hermit rd.


    2. Love reading all these comments, thanks for posting . .. does anone remember my Aunt Edie Hughes. .. she had a veg stall for years ato Rathbone. .. she loved it. She lived at Ravenscroft Road and in the area all her life. Now lives in Norfolk

      1. hi. i was adopted and have found out that my grand father was a thomas hughes do you no if he was from the same family.patsy.

        1. Janice Brown josch

          Yes, my Aunt, Edie ran her veg stall for years. Originally her father’s Richard Hughes, my mother Doris, was one of Edies sisters. My grandmother was adorable lady, Edie’s and my mother’s mother. All the time they were alive I saw them at RavensCroft road. They also had a brother, Johnny who died young from tb. Did you know them well .. to me totally irreplaceable people, they had a really hard life, never complained .. salt if the earth Did you know my father, Charles brown who lived opposite

        2. Janice Brown josch

          Hi, sorry, mis understood. A long long time ago I went with my Aunt Edie to see Uncle Tom .. remember it well because I was young and it all seemed scary. It was the only time i went to see him but ut was quite close to RavensCroft road. I have no idea if it is the same Tom, he was old and this would have been around 1960. All very vague and unfortunately no one left to ask.

          1. patricia lawrence

            i had my dna done and vera i dont no her other name came up as a second cousin to me. i think her nan ester was my grand dads sister.

          2. Janice Brown josch

            Yes, there was an Esther at my grandmother’s funeral, again so vague, I only met her that one time. But I remember asking how it was that I had never seen so many of the relatives that were there, before. The answer was they had little contact because they were in her father’s side of the family (Richard Hughes ) which could make sense. A long time ago 70s I would think Very sorry, no one left to ask

    3. We were registered with Johnsons after the war. I can remember the machine making sausages, fascinating! The Ransons were distant relations of my Mum. They had a yard over the other side of Raffy, near the Sasperella stall. In the early days of the war I was sick in the gutter for some reason and the sasperella lady gave me a glass of the stuff to settle my stomach. The Ranson family also had a stall at the top of Raffy, George & Vi, next to Della Mura Ice Cream stall.

      I went to school with Kate Thake, daughter of old Kate, the Matriarch who ran a shop and several stalls. Two stalls were situated towards the bottom of Raffy near Wise’s bakers (Best Hot Cross Buns in the world), I used to run errands for neighbours and often had to buy eels. The eels were in steel containers, all wriggling around. The lady would select some eels, cut off their heads and tails and chop them into pieces. It was gruesome but as I was deeply in love with the lady, despite my being about 12 and her wearing a blood stained apron. I have recently found out that she was married to a right East End hardpan so I do keep my eyes peeled!

  15. Hi, i lived in the old Percy road along by the nissan huts.I went to Star Lane then on to Eastlea. Does anyone remember this area? Just came across this site.

    1. Yes iwas born in 25 Clarence road 1940 went to Star lane Pretoria road then South west ham tech.Also worked in Feacy butchers Dale road and when young worked in bobs dairy.

      1. I lived at no 23 clarence rd left in1950 lafont member your name my surname was Howard I’ve got a brother Derek went to star lane did you know the Holbrooks who lived opposite nice family had a son fred

        1. Hallo maureen.i remember you as being a very attractive young lady..Fred was my elder brother sadly passed.My name is Helen I was 10 tyears younger than Fred..I remember you your brother. Derek and Mr&Mrs Lee who lived down stairs to you .and the Reids next door.Margaret was my school friend.lv only answered your letter because of the nice things you had to say about my family.HelenCarter formally

  16. I’m from the SEATONS AND WEBBS…. Silvertown and Canningtown…. Circa 1900s…. They moved to Barking and Forestgate in 1920 till 1950….when my Mum married Dennis Collins in Sparsholt Lane. They emigrated to Australia in 1953.

    1. Graham Rutledge

      My mum’s sister Vera Jones married William Webb who was born in 1920 and lived in Lawrence Street.

  17. Graham Rutledge

    I have just opened up some old memories with the publishing of the 1939 register on Ancestry.
    My mum was Gladys Jones born 1924 older sister Vera and younger sister Iris (Bubs). They lived in Maud Street with my grandfather Edwin who was a sewage worker and staunch trade unionist. My maternal grand mother died in 1934 aged 33 when mum was 10. Mum used to talk of Rathbone Street market but I thought nothing of it when growing up, mum and dad died in 2005. Mum was bombed out and moved to New Road Chingford where she met dad at a dance in Walthamstow where dad lived and I was born 55 Glenthorne Road.Mum was bought up I believe by aunt Lena, but was never really talked about. I now have a large family tree on Ancestry but would love to hear from anybody who might have known the family and can fill in some gaps.My grandfather died relatively young at 63 with lung problems almost certainly from his days in the sewers.They are buried in Plaistow cemetery. Thanks Graham Rutledge

  18. My mother, who was born in 1924, lived at 140, Clarence Road with her parents Daisy and Ernest Bailey and her brothers. My mum went to Star Lane school.

    1. Hi Elaine
      Apparently my father (now deceased) named Lewis (Louis) Terry was fostered to an Aunt in Clarence Road, Canning Town in the 1920s, her name was Fanny Wells and she had a husband called Leonard who died during the 1920s, when my father, who would have been 10 years old in 1928, was eventually taken in by Barnardos. I have always wondered what became of Fanny Wells and her family. I am now in my 70s and have only recently begun researching my father’s background.
      I wondered if your mother may have known the Wells family.
      Just leaving this message on the off chance you may have some information!
      Many thanks.
      (Ann Terry)

    2. Hi Elaine, were there other Baileys in Canning Town before your family? I am trying to trace my husband’s ancestors, John and Rose Bailey, who lived there before WWI. They had three daughters (Rose, Nellie and Violet) and a son (William). John worked in coppersmithing. Any connections I can follow through? Thanks!

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