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.

542 thoughts on “History of Canning Town East London”

  1. been looking into my family and the Chapmans lived at 73 Malmsbury Road around 1905 onwards, they had a daughter Hettie. i think they might have been form germany originally, the mothers name was Kate or Catherine. would be great if anyone has photos to share. My mum was born 1930’s and went to Starlane primary and was born victoria dock road

    1. Hello Lee, my mum was a chapman from Mary Street & then Appleby Rd, daughter of Bill & Eileen. Maybe a relation? Mum died in September
      & don’t k one of any relatives on her side. Maybe there’s a link we don’t know about?

      1. hello Jacqui, sorry only just seen your reply, like you i know nothing about the Chapmans just found out that they were on my mothers side of the family, does the surname Scanlan ring any bells

        1. Hi Lee, some one from your family lived at our house (House split into 2) name of Scanlan, 75 Radland Road (Portland Street) opposite Hallsville school, Daughter married an American Airman, they moved out after the 1953 floods, thats all I can remember, Terry

    2. Hi Lee
      My grandparents were Henry and Catherine Chapman malmsbury road
      Hettie was my aunt my mum Winifred’s sister
      Hettie’s first husband was Dan Scanlan, their daughter Norma is still alive aged 86
      I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw your message only looking at this website by chance

    3. Margaret Bromley

      I lived at 73 Malmesbury Road from when I was born in 1947 until I got married in 1968. My parents Ernie and Sadie Dobinson lived there until around 1975 when the houses were to be pulled down. We lived upstairs and my Aunt Emmie my dads sister lived downstairs with her husband Jim and her daughter Sylvia, their name was Puxley. I went to Star Lane Primary School as did my father.
      Margaret Bromley nee Dobinson

      1. Margaret I am Jean Newcombe, nee skull, I have been trying to get hold of you for ages. Your nephew I emailed trying to get details of how to contact you, he said you were on Facebook along with your daughter. I have emailed both of you but sadly no reply. Probably went to your junkmail. I have tried on this site but no replies. Do you know how I can contact you. Kind regards Jean X

      2. Hi Margaret, I feel I should know you. I to was born in 1947 at home at 25 Malmesbury Rd. I went to Star Lane infants & senior, then to Pretoria which is now Eastleigh. My parents were Mary & Bill Burns, & we moved to no 80 Malmesbury around 1955. Then moved to Custom House when I was 15. My school friend in Star Lane was Maxine Climpson & Jeanie Morgan, also lived in same road. I’ve lived in Kent since 1976 when I married Best wishes Christine

    4. Hi Lee scanlon
      I have replied before but not seen a reply from you
      Re chapman wenhold opper
      Seen several different posts so know we are probably related
      Please reply

  2. Hello I am looking for anyone who knew the Turner family, William and Bridget nee Butler, I think they lived on Woodstock street , children called bid, Tommy, Sylvia, Margret ,
    I’m searching my family tree so any info would be great

    1. Hello Stephen,
      I’ve only just read your message. Now this is very coincidental. I remember my nan mentioning living in Malmesbury Rd & Bidder St. She was Eileen Turner (née Priestaff born 1913) whose mother’s maiden name was Butler. My nan married James Turner in 1939. I’m a bit new to family research but if any of this rings bells with anyone, I’d love to hear!!!
      Best regards – Lisa

  3. I was born on 45 Carson road Canning town , lots of very fond memories laying the usual street games.
    My mothers name was Emily and fathers name Jim ,we lived opposite Hopkins sweet shop.
    Would love to know what happened to the families that lived around us .
    Thanks Terry

    1. Hi Bill
      Thanks for responding so fast,how are you doing its been such a long time.
      I can remember the Thompson, Burks,Rusbeas ,I can still remember us tying a rope
      around the lamp post outside Hopkins and making a swing .
      I found some pictures of us all sitting at tables in the street eating on Coronation day..
      Tell me if you ever see any of the old crowd .
      Regards Terry

      1. Hello Terry. I never see any of the neighbours. When I got married I moved to Essex and then I moved to a little village in Kent 23 years ago. I still remember the times when we had the bonfires on the debris next to the prefabs. I also fondly remember my time at. Fairbain. Making sure we kept away from the warden.

        1. HI Bill.
          I used to go to Fairbain hall , loved playing snooker up stairs, but i agree with you. You had to keep your whits about you
          with regards to some of the people there.
          I also moved to Essex,
          Regards Terry

    2. Hi I lived at 115 Carson road and went to Ravenscroft School we lived next door to the FriutShop near the PostOffice and Goddens sweet shop . We moved out in 1968 . My Dad had a fruit stall at Rathbone street market . I was Sandra Mears

      1. Doreen Collins

        Hi Sandra I’m your Cousin Doreen , I live inSouthampton , lost my dear mum last September 2020 . I used to live in 115 Carson rd , with our great Grandmother nanny white . And great uncle Henry . Moved out when I was nine .lost touch with your mum I tried to ring but think the phone number was an old one .

      2. Hi Sandra
        The people who owned the shop next to you were related to me, a lot of my family were had stalls in Rathbone street .
        Do you remember lemon ices that Goddens used to sell ,

        1. Janice brown josch

          Interesting to read this
          By chance did you know the Hughes family, or Edie Hughes who had a veg stall at Rathbone Market
          Lived in Ravenscroft Road
          If you knew them I would love to read your memories

          1. HI Janice.
            The people who owned the shop , there name was Laurie they also had other shops sell .veg.
            Also if I remember a florist on Hermit Road.
            A family named Jolly also had a fruit and veg , but they were located on Hermit road .
            There was another relative I who was called Brumey.
            This time frame is around the mid to late sixties .
            I used to love watching the biscuit man called Wiseman selling his fruit cakes .

            I hope this sparks some memories .

          2. HI Janice.
            I am sorry after reading my reply to you,I realised I had not answered your question .
            I do remember a family on Ravenscroft that were in the trade , but I never had a chance
            to talk to them .


          3. The Dobson family had a florist shop for many years – in the row of shops between Comyns Close and Barking Road
            They also sold flowers outside the gates of the cemetery at Hermit Road / Grange Road
            There was another small flower shop on the corner of Hermit Road and Clifford Road owned /rented by John Brown who lived close to my parents in Desford Road. It had previously been a pharmacy run by Gordon Davie. My mother worked there as a pharmacy assistant for many years until Gordon passed away

  4. Hi Everyone, came across this website by accident and was reading some of the wonderful comments of the history of the area. I am looking to connect and possibly record by phone or video (remotely of course at this time) anyone that might have worked in the Whitefield’s Chocolate Factory in Plaistow or that know much more about the history of the building.

    Much appreciate any help. Regards, John jchandy@gmail.com

      1. Sorry just seeing these comments now! That’s wonderful Bill – any chance of being able to speak to her on the phone or via video? Would be wonderful to hear about her experiences of working here at that time. Do drop me an email jchandy@gmail.com

    1. Hi , my uncle worked at whitefields about 1957/8 we lived in Canning Town would love to hear from anyone who has more info from that time

    2. Margaret Simons (nee Nicholson)

      Hi John,
      Yes my mum, her sister Eileen and my gran, plus great aunt all worked in whitefields chocolate factory in the 1950’s. We lived in Custom House at the time, remember it fondly, waiting with my brother outside the gates for mum to come out after her shift, usually with a bag of sweets for us.
      Margaret S

      1. Hi Margaret simons. My aunt worked at white fields around the early fifties till the sixties. Her name was Kate. We lived in new city road. I also remember getting my nana eels from Ruth one street and having a glass of sarsparila.

      2. Hi Margaret – wow sounds like a lot of family that worked in the factory! And wonderful memory – thanks for sharing. Be great to be able to talk to any of them about their experiences if possible? John jchandy@gmail.com

      1. Hi Terry – wonderful comment! Let me know if it’s possible to speak to your Mum at all. Thanks for the links – the underground Map one is interesting. Can’t seem to access that Newham photos one – they might have changed it perhaps. John jchandy@gmail.com

  5. Hello everyone ! i am writing this as i have had a read through the comments , and i have seen a comment from a lady in regards to finding family members from the taylor , smith family . she also mentioned about them being of italian descents and travellers , i believe that its a possibilities we are related .hope you see this ! many thanks Ellee

    1. Hi, try looking for Linda (Noona) Lee on FaceBook, Smith family I believe are part of her family, and I know Mervin! Terry

  6. Terri Caylor (nee Judge)

    Does anyone out there have a photograph of Ashburton Secondary on Freemasons Road, not the newer extension the original old Victorian building. I was there in the early 70’s and I would love a photo of it. I loved that school.

    if anyone was at that school during the early 70’s it would be good to catch up.

    1. No photos, sorry, but my brother was there from around 1950 to 1955 or so and the school had a really bad reputation. I think the headmaster’s name during those years was Mr Scnapper.

        1. Elaine Whitbrooke

          Yeah chenappa, your right about that cane i was always getting it and for stupid reasons

          Elaine mason whitbrooke

    2. Hi all just thinking of the old days and I went starlane school early 70s and lived in the masonette opposite the grass andcremeber the head teacher telling stories in hall I remember a Mr Schofield with a beard? Then went to rossetta and the street party for westham in 75 and jubilee in 77 and westham again in 80 (stil waiting for the next one) then after a stint in Woolwich went to Woodside comprehensive before they knocked it down 79_84 and up to a couple of years ago I worked 10 years with Kevin at community links so was good to be back in East London but it has changed even did a stint managing rathbone market and remember be in the post office when our dog run away and the squirrel monkey jumping in me pram going around the old maker. 52 now where did that go?

    3. There have recently been photos of the old Ashburton and Shipman rd schools on facebook – either Growing up in the East End or I’m from Custom House not Canning Town – can’t remember which
      one. Both are interesting groups.

    1. Jean Galsworthy

      We’re they Ivy and Alf? Their children were Alfie, June, Tommy and David I think. If these are the people, Ivy was my mum’s sister, so they were my uncle and aunt. We also lived in the house until we moved to Bristol in the early 1950’s.

        1. I’m so sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. Family illness took priority.
          Are you Angela and Alfie’s daughter? I lost touch with them when I moved. My address book disappeared in all the chaos.
          We did indeed share the same house. We moved in to just outside of Bristol in 1951 or 52.
          We do have photos but my brother has them in his loft. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to ask him about them at the moment as his wife is having chemotherapy so he’s running backwards and forwards to the hospital with her. I remember photos of Tom and June. She also sent some from the USA of her gorgeous children.
          How are you all?

      1. IRENE Noon need Hayden

        Hi Margaret we were at school together Irene Hayden .. I’m in contact with Alan White and his Wife Jackis do you remember her also x

        1. I went to Clarkson St School in the 1950s. There are only a few names that I remember – Rita Charles and Esther Bailey who were both in my class when Mr Molliver was the teacher, and Lillian Formhall and Marie Moon who were in a year below me. Does anyone remember these girls?

          1. My Grandfather (1876-1953) went to Clakson Street School. His mother would take him to one gate and when she left he would nip out of another gate to play truant. it got so bad that he was sent off to Norfolk as a punishment. He liked it there because they gave him a lot of pudding as a starter to the evening meal. His father was less pleased, “they give you that so you won’t want meat in the main meal”, he apparently moaned.

      2. Hi Margaret, Was just looking at this site and saw your name. Did you live upstairs at 73, downstairs was my Uncle Jim, Aunt Emmy and Sylvia their daughter? I lived at 71 Malmesbury Road, My name is Jean, maiden name Skull. Would be nice to catch up.

        1. Hello Jean, I remember you well and your sister Margaret, yes I lived upstairs at 73, Aunt Emmy was my dad Ernies sister. We used to play and walk to school together. Your dad used to take us swimming every a Sunday, you was a great swimmer I never did learn even though you dad tried to teach me. Where do you live now? How wonderful to hear from you.

        2. Greetings from South Australia to all my former neighbours who lived in the best street “Malmesbury” road, my name is William Leach I was born at home in N013 one of those semi round prefabs in the freezing January of 1946, my sister Irene, Mother Kitty Father William, I attended Star Lane school great school full of memories and my classmates sadly loss touch since 1974, I am trying to put together a memoir for my Australian born Grandchildren, Its wonderful to come across this website with all the interesting comments and shared memories which I would change for all the tea in China, Bonfire night we always had the biggest on the bomb site opposite, playing games in the street until it got dark, Fish and Chips in Star lane next to the Anchor, seasons for activities, no computers, no TV, no mobile telephones, but we were happy band of neighbours. Hope to hear from who ever reads this short comments, and most of all take and be safe. Best Regards William.

          1. Antony Springate

            Hi William,
            I remember the bonfire on the debris on Guy Fawkes night, it was huge. Fire Brigade was always called out and neighbours rowed with them to stop them putting it out.
            Also remember playing on the flatbed lorries parked up on the same debris.
            My family lived on the upstairs of 81 Malmesbury Road.
            We moved to Malmesbury Road around 1957 and we moved during 1968 when I was 12.
            Stay Well and Safe,

      3. My Mums maiden name was Dobinson too. She is from Upton Park.. any relation? Her Sisters name is Carol x

        1. Hi Lee
          I’ve tried to contact you two or three times on here
          I think we are related, Hettie was my aunt
          If you see this please post a message

      4. Margaret , nee Dobinson, I lived next door to you, Jean, (Skull), number 71, with my sister Margaret and parents, Ivy and Fred. Would love to hear from you. Regards Jean

        1. Margaret Bromley

          Hi Jean
          I did reply to you on a post you had put on last year , probably did it wrong I hope you get this one. I remember you and your family well, you were a big part of my childhood. Would love to catch up.kind regards Margaret

          1. Hi Margaret, would love to catch up to hear your news. Perhaps you could email your email address Jean

        2. Hi, was your mum called ivy tree? Searching on here for my Nan who is interested in finding an ivy tree ( brothers George and Terrance tree) who stayed with them as children during the war in Devon

  7. michael faulkner

    hi robert malyon, of 4 clarence road, this is mike faulkner of 124 malmesbury road, how are you? and your brother keith, born in ’46,and now living in spain for the last 18 years, be nice to hear from you, i could sell you a coat!!

      1. OMG, I was just searching for info about the road I used to live on (Radland Road) and came across this feed. Gelderbloem is such an unusual name, you must be related to the Gelderbloems who lived on our road. They were related to the Lampards Frank senior used to have a dry cleaners on Barking road!!!

        1. I lived in a half round pre-fab in what was then Portland Road, H1, the H was for Hut. After a while the street was re-named Radland Road. We left there in 1949 to go to a new flat in Killip Close, a few hundred yards away. An Aunt, Rosie Kavanagh, lived in a house further down the street.

          We saw Saint Luke’s school being built almost opposite and the builders used to knock on the door to ask if they could borrow our dog, Rex, to catch rats as they opened up new areas.

          I also knew Frank Lampard Senior. He used to visit the family in the opposite flat, the Huckfields, and bring Frankie and his sister Gwen into our flat. We gave them a sweet but I’m still waiting for tickets to West Ham or Chelsea in return.

          1. Don’t hold your breath! I went to school with him at Ashburton, till WH had him away! I used to live on the same side of the road as you the other end opposite Hallsville Juniors, where they would have a Bonfire firework night. BBC done a film of the Bombing of Hallsville, some faces I’m sure you would recognise.
            Bombing of Hallsville School Canning Town West Ham 1940 https://www.bitchute.com/video/S7fKG4iNImhJ/

    1. Hi
      I think I must have lived next door to you. We were upstairs at 122 malsbury road in the late sixties early seventies. I also went to Starlane primary school.
      Does anyone remember me or my mother. Mums was known as Nancy Doyle. I’m shirley.
      Loved reading these posts. Brought me back to my childhood.

      1. Hi Shirley. My great grandparents were Doyles. William and Dora but were best known as Bill and Bess. He had siblings Carrie, John, Maud, Len and George. He worked at Tate and Lyle until retirement in the 70s. As a boy he lived at 145 Star Lane and she was 24 Leslie Road, Custom House. Would be lovely to see if we have a connection

  8. Hi all I was born in forest gate and moved to 27 Murray square n I was young I had two sisters tina and Debbie and a brother Jimmy my mum and dads names were Jim and pat mason we moved to Kent in 1969 so if there is anyone who lived in Murray square before 1969 I would love to hear from you xxx

    1. Hi Toni, My family moved from Forest Gate to 76 Murray Square around 1950 /51. I moved out to Walthamstow when I got married in 1962. I now live in Victoria (Mornington Peninsula). I’m afraid I don’t recall your name butthen I think 27 was on the far side of the square to us. The names I do remember are the Pooleys, the Cotters, the Browns, the Proberts, The Davies and the Bichenoes. Do any of those ring any bells? Another family were the Ropers.Given time I may remember a few more.

    2. Hi Toni I’m not sure if any of my mates families were residing at Murray sq back in 71 but definitely by mid to late 70,S Tony mark & Alan Lloyd , the Warner’s , the ringwoods , the harts but we were teenagers in early 1980,S

      1. Hi Barbara; I was born in June 1954 and we lived in Katherine Road, Forest Gate. My Mum is Olive, (92 now!) and my Dad was Thomas (Tom). I went to a nursery school, (St Stephen’s?) and remember the Trebor factory and the Duke of Fyffe pub. Mum worked as a machinist at what was known as the sack factory. Dad left and Mum remarried around 1959/60 and we moved to Essex. Just wondered if any of this was familiar to you?

  9. Jeanette leyland

    The memories I was born at St Marys in 1950 and lived at Ayres Close went to school at curwen and Burke left in 1964 to emigrate to New Zealand but came back home to England my mum worked at mudies pie mash along the abbey arms my godmother lived in Malmesbury Road the memories are wonderful had a great childhood.

    1. Who can forget Mudie’s pie and mash shop at the Abbey Arms? Great days. Think it was around 2/6d for double pie and double mash (with liquer). And a small supermarket next door called Paske Farr – always remember quite a large woman with dark hair and red cheeks who worked in there. All that seemed to go when I left my teenage years, but lovely memories.

      Also of West Ham Speedway, down at Custom House. Every Tuesday at 7.45 then a walk home down the old Beckton Rd and just in time to pick up 6d worth of chips from Sid’s fish shop at the corner of Whitwell Rd and Falcon St.

      Happy Days!

      1. I remember both well!! We used to get one of the Coaches laid on at Plaistow Station to the Speedway. Back then, Bjorn Knuttsen was the West Ham hero, supported by Svere Hartfeld, Alf Hagon, Reg Luckhurst, Dave Wills and others whos names i cant remember. It was a good night out!
        Mudies was the alternative to school dinners at South West Ham Tech and me and my mates were regulars. I hope you weren’t one of the folk that got caught out by the loosening of the Vinegar, Pepper and Salt bottle tops. We had many a laugh standing outside watching some poor sod empty the entire contents of the vinegar bottle all over his double pie and mash. I still cringe when I think of some of the stuff we used to get up to but they were different times; no one got stabbed and the only shooting I remember was Ronnie Kray killing George Cornell in the Blind Beggar.

  10. Hi, this an hopeful long-shot question for old-timers on this page…

    …does anyone remember a fire-station at (maybe @ 138) Freemasons Road on or near the corner of Sophia Road? I have it shown on a 1935 OS map but it had disappeared by 1963 (Bartholemews Reference Atlas of Greater London). I’m trying to trace any details of it for a former LFB colleague of mine.

    Thanks in anticipation. Ray Watkinson

  11. Hi there I was born and raised in Desford Road, Canning Town, until my family moved to Australia in 1971. Reading the comments here has made so many memories come flooding back, the ice creams, sarsaparilla at Rathbone markets, buying sweeties from Mr Nolan, buying chips in newspaper on the way home from Brownies, StarLane Infant school, singing All Things Bright and Beautiful. My maiden name is Stafford, my nan lived in Desford Road also, as did my Aunt, Esther Scott. She had two children Albie and Christine. Another Aunt and Uncle Tom and Lilian Lyons lived in Green Gate. Would be great to make a connection.

    1. Hi June. I found this website by accident, a cousin of mine had made contact with relatives of ours in the USA. I came across your message and thought I would reply. I lived in the house (53) opposite your Aunt Esther and from memory I think I am about he same age as Albie. Our family owned 4 houses in Desford Road, my Grandmother an Aunt and an Uncle so I know it well. By coincidence I was in Desford Road last week, its a long story which I wont bother you with. Its a little different now!!! My father lived at number 53 until he died 7 years ago, he was 97, so he spent a long time in Desford Road. I live in Billericay in Essex but have lots of memories growing up in Canning Town. There has been so much development I hardly recognize it. What number did you live at?

      1. Hello David. While just browsing I came across your article and noticed your family name is the same as mine, Timcke. As we both came from the same area I would be surprised if there wasn’t a close (relatively) connection. My first home was Catherine Street (bombed out) then a Nisson hut at the end of Chargeable Lane. First school was Star Lane, we then moved to Appleby Road near the docks, where I stayed until marriage in 1966. Coincidentally my brothers name is David Timcke.

    2. Hi June (and Alan Porter, my cousin). I moved into Desford Road, age 10, in 1957. I went to Hilda Road Primary School for a year then to South West Ham Technical School on Barking Road.
      I lived at No 18 and can just about recall members of the Stafford family living further along the road. But I do remember Albie, Christine and their Mum very well. In those days it was much safer to play in the street, so long as we looked out for the Cornell lorries going to and from their depot (which was replaced by houses and called Desford Mews – since renamed because letters kept being wrongly delivered!). When the two ‘prefabs’ were pulled down we would have bonfires there every 5th November, until new houses were built on the site.

      I guess you didn’t get to know the kids living at “my end of the street” too well but bear with me if only to help my fading memory! There was Christine Wright and her brother Stephen at No 2, Valerie Adams and Vivian (my age) and a younger sister at 4, (there was no number 10 in Desford Road!), Barbara Bull at 12, Brian Everest and his older sister (Sheila / Susan?) at 13, me at 18 (before marriage my mother was a Porter – she will be 100 in April!)

      David, Colin and Alan Mitchell at 19 (sadly I went to David’s funeral about 9 years ago – he was a great husband, dad and granddad – and a good friend to me)
      At No 21 lived David (Whitewick?) and his much older brother. Barry and Pauline Brown and a younger sister at 22. Across the road in the prefabs before they were demolished, lived David Cassidy. Somewhere around nos 24 to 28 lived the Livett and Hubbard families – Marian and Richie Hubbard, Sheila Livett (very pretty lady who died far too young).

      At No 32 lived another friend of mine, John Cox and his sister Jean (‘Beanie’). John spent most of his adult life in the London Fire Brigade and now lives in North Norfolk. At No 34 lived the Padgett family – can’t recall all their names but I can think of Iris, Alan, Freddie. (Alan once bought an old but running Lanchester(?) limo for 7 shillings and sixpence – 37 1/2 p !!)

      Carol and Roy Mitchell lived at 44 until the family moved to Nottingham (where I now live).. Carol was very bright and I think it was due to her love and commitment that her son, Alex, went on to become a highly respected Consultant in the NHS. A few houses along lived your Aunt with Albie and Christine

      On the other side of the road, near the Cornell’s lorry turning, lived the Cartwright family, then John Blythe, the first of us to own a car (now living in East Ham I think). Then a girl (Doreen?) who was sadly diagnosed with something like leukaemia in her early teens and did not have a long life. Further along at 53 lived my cousin Alan Porter, who has already replied. Then there was the Nolan shop and other members of the Nolan family further along. (I remember David Nolan losing sight in one eye due to an infection but it didn’t seem to stop him – I admired his determination). At the end of Desford Road, as you turned left into Hilda Road, lived a school friend of mine, Ernie Glyde. He was a bright lad! Carried on at school then University and I think he got his first job in his late 20’s working in nuclear physics.

      As my cousin intimated, Desford Road has changed – and then some! No community spirit. Silly house prices and cars parked nose to tail the entire length of the road. I prefer to remember it as it was!

      1. A correction (thanks to my eagle-eyed cousin!) The shop in Desford Road was owned / run by Nolan Stokes and the ‘David’ I referred to is David STOKES (not David Nolan). Sorry – I’m an old, miserable, confused geezer!! (Don’t laugh, dear cousin – it’s coming for you!)

        1. Hi David. My name is John Withers and my Older brother Stephen and I lived on the corner of Desford Road and Hilda Road, my uncle had the Barbers Shop, (TOMMY’S), we live in Desford Road allthow owe address was in Hilda Road, all the people who you have mentioned I payed in the street with, Peter David George Paul and Ann Stokes Alan Porter Johnny cartwright Ian ward Tony and Alan pachit, and my best mate David whitewick. We left Hilda Road at the end of 1975 when Dad retired and we moved out to SARFEND, DAD DIED 3 MONTHS LATER, I now live in Spain, but still have happy memories of Desford Road Hilda Road and Canning Town.

          1. Hi John
            The current worrying virus situation got me looking at the comments page and I came across your post.
            Remember you and your brother and Tom the barber.
            Strange how our memories can recall all the detail of Desford Road life when we were kids. I recall all the people that you mentioned in your post and
            wonder what happened to them.
            I currently live in Billericay so I haven’t gone far in all those years. My only claim to fame as far as where I have lived, is that first place that my wife and I had was on the 22nd floor of Ronan Point when they rebuilt it after the collapse.
            Until about 5 years ago I had regular visits to Desford. As I mentioned previously our family had 4 houses in the street.
            It’s a little different now. I wonder what happened to Cornells lorries????

          2. Hi John. Yes, I remember you and your brother. Do you know what happened to David Whitewick, or did you lose touch? As a young and innocent lad sitting in Tom’s barber shop, I thought that when he asked blokes if they needed anything for the weekend, he meant Brylcream!!
            Did Stephen go to South West Ham Technical School? I remember latching on to somebody from your end of the road on my first day walking to SWHTS, very conscious of my new uniform and the risk of getting set on by the Pretoria Road(School) mob!

      2. 26TH AUGUST 2020 AT 1:29 PM
        Hello David. While just browsing I came across your article and noticed your family name is the same as mine, Timcke. As we both came from the same area I would be surprised if there wasn’t a close (relatively) connection. My first home was Catherine Street (bombed out) then a Nisson hut at the end of Chargeable Lane. First school was Star Lane, we then moved to Appleby Road near the docks, where I stayed until marriage in 1966. Coincidentally my brothers name is David Timcke.

        1. Hello Ronald you may know my Mum, Dorothy Chapman, daughter of Bill & Eileen Lived at 38 Appleby Rd & had a little sister called Susan, Mum got married from there in Oct 1966?

          1. Yup Jacqui, certainly do. I lived at number 30 with brother David and sisters Valerie and Allison. I like Dorothy got married in 1966 but in March at St. Lukes.

        2. David Edward Timcke

          Hi Ronald. Sorry – only just seen your comments.
          My paternal grandfather was Albert George Timcke who was married to Susan (nee Locke)
          They lived at the back of the old Canning Town cinema (now on or close to the site of Canning Town station)
          Can’t recall the name of the road but it ran parallel to Silvertown Way and was probably the last street before the Canning Town / Iron Bridge
          They were also bombed out and were moved (possibly somewhere closer to Beckton Park – not sure)
          My mother (101 in April!) tells me my grandfather had brothers and sisters.
          He and Susan (a very gentle kind lady) had six children – identical twins, Albert (my Dad) and Henry (born 1913), Jack, George , Mary and Violet
          My mum and dad married at Trinity Church, Barking Road (now flats) in 1939.
          They had a daughter Valerie who died in January 1947 age just under 3. I was born in June 1947
          I lived in Ivy Road Custom House (close to the old Paragon factory) and went to Hallsville School (close to Appleby Road!) from 1947 to 1954
          I remember being a regular attendee at a Sunday school on Butchers Road, run by a Salvation Army Captain – but that was so we got free access to Laural and Hardy and Chaplin films on Saturday mornings!
          In 1954, we moved to Charford Road (close to Butchers Road and Beckton Road (now Newham way)
          I do recall my mother telling me that another branch of the Timcke family, living close to us at that time, had a baby that they called David . That would be around 1955/6. I did not know the family but I think they were descended from one of my grandad’s siblings.
          In 1956 we moved to Desford Road Canning Town (not far from Hermit Road) and I went on to attend South West Ham Technical School on Barking Road from 1958 to 1963.
          I was a keen swimmer and spent a lot of time at Balaam Street Baths, walking almost every day along Chargeable Lane (we called it Inky Pinky Lane because of the printing ink works!)
          My dad died in 1967 age 52. His brother Jack married Flo(pence) and lived in Dagenham where he worked for Ford. His son, my cousin Alan Timcke moved to Spain a few years ago and I cannot now trace him.
          Henry Timcke married Norah and moved to Harlow and had two sons, Roy and Terry
          George Timcke (the youngest brother) lived at Harold Wood, was married to Ann and had one son, Colin
          I’m afraid I am not too sure about the two sisters, Mary and Violet. I think one died at a relatively young age. The other had two boys Robin and David (surnames escape me for the moment) but David was killed by a trolley bus, I think somewhere near Balaam Street in the 1950’s

          I’m sorry if that is far too much information but it is helpful to me in writing a family history book for my daughter!

          I am now retired and live with my wife in Nottingham. We have one daughter who lives about 15 miles away in Shepshed and a granddaughter and grandson
          My mother lives in sheltered housing 10 minutes from me. Sadly, the lockdown has badly affected her memory so I can’t get any more family history from her – and we are still trying to celebrate her 100th birthday, 11 months after the event!!

          By looking on the web I have spotted two other David Timcke’s One ran a double glazing firm the other a shop for exotic animals (snakes etc)
          By the way, do you pronounce the name like me – Tim-key or Tim-ker (as in Germany) or maybe just Timk?

          Please let me know if any of this rings any bells with you.

      3. My nan and grandad lived at 15 restore the ords alone with my mum Jessie and her brother sidy seem to remember the corner shop being called Cyril’s,name used to play piano in the anchornfor free drinks

        1. Your comments ring a bell with me.

          Was Sid a keen rower? And at one time had a large left hand drive (American) car?
          I lived across the road at No 18
          Yes, the corner shop was Cyril’s

          My nan and granddad, Ted and Liz Porter (8 Desford Road) were regulars at the Anchor – I think she sang there on occasions!

      4. Hello David. While just browsing I came across your article and noticed your family name is the same as mine, Timcke. As we both came from the same area I would be surprised if there wasn’t a close (relatively) connection. My first home was Catherine Street close to the docks (bombed out ’43) then a Nisson hut near the end of Chargeable Lane close to the convent. First school was Star Lane, we then moved to Appleby Road near the the Vic Dock, where I stayed until marriage in 1966. Coincidentally my brothers name is David Timcke. I think my section of the family (paternal) came from the Bow area before Catherine St. Most of the family moved to Collier Row after the war but my parents Rose and John stayed in Canning town until about 1970 when they moved to the Norfolk coast.

  12. 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

    1. hi my grandad george william cherry worked for tate and before war so he may have known my grandad his dad was george alton cherry and emily cherry i will have to find out there address in canning town. After the war everyone seemed to move to move to dagenham after probably being bombed out. hope you dont mind me replying as only slightly linked to your memory.

      1. Hi I kind of link to this as well. My Grandfather was born in Frank Street In 1920. He was William Felton ( his Grandfather lived at number 9) my Grandad was the eldest of 4 kids. William, Bob, Herbie George and Violet. Violet is the last surviving relative and is 86. My Grandfather would be 100 now. He moved to Dagenham with my Nan and had 6 kids. They lived 29 Gainsborough Road.

    2. Hello B GEE I just read your post and realised that you are talking about my Nan Lizzie Willis. My name is Jane Willis and I am the Daughter of Terry and Diane Willis. We migrated to Australia in 1974 and I have one brother Mark. Dad (Terry) passed away in 2004 and I have always been interested in Canning Town and my Dads history. Im not sure if we are related somewhere along the way??

  13. 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

    1. HI B Gee

      I wonder if you are talking about the Beckton Arms? You used to have the walked along thru back of raffy and past sub way?

      Or maybe The Ordnance Arms but that is on the barking road..

      I’m 38 and lot has changed seen I moved in 2005..

      1. Hi Lisa
        Came across this site while Googling for department stores on the Barking Road in the 1930’s/1940s, hope you don’t mind me contacting you!

        My Dad (Ken Richardson senior – I’m junior!) is 91 now and was reminiscing about being evacuated from the East End during the war (first to Somerset and then back to Slough).

        He lived in Chargeable Lane, Plaistow and remembers the convent school, being shot at by German fighters, keeping chickens in their small back garden but mentioned a department store to me and I was trying to find it for him but haven’t been able to yet. He may have misremembered the name of course and I’m not even sure what he said it was – began with an S I think and was on the corner of the Barking Road and a side road – said he remembers the Christmas displays etc.

        I’ve been searching for “1930 s department stores Barking Road London” without success!

        I wondered if there is a Plaistow or Barking Road society who may have old photos of it (and other landmarks) on line anywhere?

        Kind regards

        1. Hi Ken. I’m guessing you are talking about Staddons, which was on the corner of Barking Road and Balaam Street. The building was still there when I was last in the area about 5 years ago but the store closed some time ago I think it is now a small retail operation with flats above
          It was an old fashioned departmental store selling a whole range of clothing and goods. The sales staff did not have tills – they placed your money into an overhead “cup” which then travelled along a line (close to the ceiling) to the cash office. A few minutes later the cup would come back with a receipt and your change. It was high tech in those days! Come to think of it, it reminds me of the store in the old TV series, “Are You Being Served?”
          My mother (who will be 100 in April) sometimes reminds me that as a kid in the early 1950s, I would throw myself on the floor at Staddons whenever she tried to get me to try on a new coat! I’m 72 now and still hate shopping!!
          David (now in Nottingham)

        2. I too was evacuated from St Lukes church school to Somerset (Ditcheat) in 1939 but moved by my mother to Keynsham as she was amazed at where I had been placed! It was a small pig business and I (8 yrs old) was made to clean and feed the pigs. I never returned home to Ford Street as it was bombed out and we were relocated to Rainham in Essex (then a real village) . I remember the excitement of going on the train and then later in the day when we were lined up to be ‘picked’ by the locals and as realisation began to close in that we were not going home. BUT being Eastenders we coped with most that was thrown at us and got through it all , and the biggest thing was not seeing your parents for years and years, only letters. My memories are very sharp although at 89 I could have expected to maybe forgotten some,NO WAY ! There must be others of us who remember being evacuated?

          Julie Rumsby (nee Daley)

          1. Hello Julie. I was born in Malmesbury Road, Canning Town, but we moved in the early 1950’s to Keynsham. My dad was the manager of the Tate & Lyles packing depot there.
            You wouldn’t recognise the small village that Keynsham used it be. It’s now part of the urban sprawl that is Bristol now. I moved from there many years ago, but finally moved back to Bristol as my family were all still there.
            Do you remember any names of evacuees in Keynsham? There was a family called Olive. Mrs Olive was such a character. I loved her when I was little. She used to give me chewing gum!
            Are you happy and well? I do hope so.

        3. Hi Ken there is a group on Facebook called history of Canning town, also one all to do with Newham (as it became ) some of these groups are quite helpful. Regards Sue Perry

        4. Hello,
          Could the department store be Staddons?

          Fascinating memories! I was born in the maternity home at Plaistow in 1946 and grew up to age 10 in Desford Road, no. 64. Lynda Carter was my name. We lived in a house rented by my grandparents two doors down from the barbers on the same side. Nolan Stokes, from the shop, I remember, was a keen photographer. I played with Anne Stokes, his niece, who lived a few doors along and with Kathleen Bowers who lived just round the corner opposite the barbers.

          I’m amazed at people’s memories of names and street numbers, etc. I don’t remember such details and admire people who do. My memories are more of images. The summers seemed dry and hot, broken eventually by plagues of flying ants that preceded heavy thunder storms. As kids we’d sit on the pavement kerb digging out the dirt that collected in the gutters with lolly sticks or on the front wall (uncomfortable pebble dash concrete in our case, the railings having been taken during the war) and put on shows (singing the Beverley Sisters’ hit, ‘Sisters’ with exaggerated actions or ‘Singing in the rain’ with umbrellas. The view towards the barbers end of Desford Road must have been west because I’ve never forgotten the amazing evening skies as the sun fell behind the gasometer and Power Station cooling towers in that direction.

          The school playground (my school was Star Lane) was always open in the evenings. Entering the playground through a brick archway you met a metal barrier (to break the rush – out or in?!) We girls loved to turn somersaults upside down on this barrier, tucking our skirts into our knickers for convenience. Typical of its time, the brickwork around the various entrances to the school was carved with the appropriate title – Infants, Boys, Girls, etc. One building, to the right, near the caretakers house I think, had the word ‘Cookery’ inscribed over it. I don’t remember it being used as such, or for very much else, except that at the end of term or special occasions like Christmas, we’d be packed in there, the blackout blinds would be pulled and we’d have the special treat of Charlie Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy films for an hour or so before emerging, blinking into the playground again. This ‘Cookery’ was a scary place to me that recurred in my dreams. Don’t know why. The outside toilets were situated around that area, too and a flight of outside steps that led into the Juniors. These were also a magnet to us – there were about 9 or 10 steps with a metal bannister. The challenge was to start at the bottom and jump from the step to the ground – no prob, but you repeated for each successive step and it was more like pole vaulting when you got to the top step, sliding your hand as far down the bannister as you could before making the leap.

          It’s so well documented how the seasonal games of gobs (five stones) two and three balls up the wall, hopscotch, skipping, conkers, and later, in the sixties, hula hoops, yo-yos and ‘whizzers’ came and went. Rounders, too, was always popular and we were really lucky to have somewhere on our doorsteps to play these games and meet to up with our mates and inhabit a kids world of our own, weren’t we? There was a school caretaker who kept a pretty low profile, I think and similarly there were caretakers at Hermit Rd Park so we had a degree of freedom to go off with money for a Jubbly or a Penny ice lolly if we were lucky and just be kids.

          I have seen one or two names that I recognise in the posts but I moved from Desford Road when my parents names finally came to the top of the council housing list when I was 10, in 1956. We moved to a flat in Forest Gate which, being near to Wanstead Flats, I thought was the countryside. My grandparents continued to live there though as did other family members so I was a frequent visitor and my memories of growing up in Canning Town are very fond and loyal ones.

          Anyone remember the best winter slides in the area? Right down the centre of Addington Road, opposite the school gates.

          Must stop but enjoy reminiscing. Thanks to all for sharing their memories.

        5. It was calked Staddons, my aunt Eileen Purton worked there in the curtain department.
          They had the pulley money canisters in them which as a kid I found fascinating.

          Margaret S

    2. Hi B GEE,I am Diane Willis wife of Terry, who’s mum was Lizzy Willis, The Pub was called the Beckton Arms, that was opposite Charlie and Lizzy’s house.We now live in Australia, My daughter Jane saw your post, and told me about it.I knew your mum and dad.We have lived here in Oz for about 47 years.It is great to hear from a relative from England. Take care keep well.

    3. Bee G, My Dad (Chris Beauford) worked in Tate & Lyle as a welder from late 70s to 90s.. my Uncle worked in East Ham dairy (John Tarling) for many years.. i wonder if our relatives knew each other?

  14. Hi

    I was born in 1950 at 85 Liverpool Road , we moved to Reed Close in 1952 ( near fife Road and Kier Hardy School ) anyone remember anything about this area? Went to this school from 1950-61 then on to Ashburton School in Freemasons Road

    1. Jacquelyn Reeves

      Hi Stephen, we lived in Liverpool Road, my father was Alf Reeves, he and his family lived at 90 Liverpool Rd, and my mother was iris Hexamer, they lived at 105 Liverpool Road. We immigrated to Australia in 1960 and then came to New Zealand. My dad passed away last april, he had photographs he’d taken of Liverpool Road up on his walls, and yearned for the ‘good times’ growing up in Canning Town.

      1. Hi , i have just one picture of Liverpool Road , would be good see some more , other relatives of mine lived at no 99 Liverpool Road

      2. Hi sorry to hear about your dad it would have been good to chat with him . We moved to Australia in 1965 but came back to the uk , trying to get as much info as possible re Canning Town in the 50s and 60s to pass on to my grandchildren

      3. Hi Jacqueline, my name is Tricia Black ( Reeves ) my mum and dad were your uncle Ern And aunt peg .Imagine my surprise seeing this .

    2. I lived in Appleby Rd and went to Hallsville Sch until ‘53 and then Ashburton until ‘57.
      Happy youth, no complaints.

  15. Hi Julie

    I also find it very interesting, I am 38 and moved away when I was 25 to start a family with husband in Suffolk now.

    It has changed so much since I left in 2005 and its not how I remember it to be, most families have moved away apart 2 that I still know who live in Fort Street and the pub Streeties not sure when that was built?.. I will always remember my childhood roots in east london and very proud of where I come from. I feel that the East end has died out as we live in a different world now days.

    I love watching call the midwife its one of my fave programmes..

    Kind Regards xx

    1. Hi. Is this Lisa Davis of the Bruns family. If so I used to take Geoff out in his pram during school holidays. I havent seen him since he was maybe 17.

      Janet Knowles (nee Skeggs)

  16. Hi Lisa,

    I have seen Ford Street on the internet as it is now, and whilst the road is still the same (almost), the houses are certainly very different ! I was evacuated from 5 Ford Street in 1939 and was never able to go back as the area was decimated by the bombing raids . When I watch the programme ‘Call the midwife’ it takes me straight back to life as it was when I lived in Ford Street..
    There was a family who lived 2 doors down from us named Upton, their daughter (my age) was Peggy Upton. It was such a shame that so many people were spread around the country and lost contact with each other making this site so precious if you manage to find news of someone you knew. When I saw how Rathbone Street had changed , memories became the only standby of my life.

    Thanks for jumping the gap between residents of 5 Ford Street, it is very interesting, and Ford Street will always have that ‘pull’ because of being where I was born.


  17. Hi my husband used to know someone surname crabb he lived in liverpool rd his name was les Reed he left liverpool rd in 1950 when we married he had a sister name rosie .

  18. My fatherinlaws harry holmes lived with his parents and three brother s three sisters doris rose maud during the bombing they lived agate street

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