Pic of the month

Picture of the Month



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Preparing shrines in Rook Street, Poplar, in readiness for the Catholic procession, c.1920


Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month

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Woodstock Terrace, 1957, by William Whiffin

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month



An unusual interior photograph by William Whiffin showing staff at work in Poplar Borough Council's Drawing Office, Poplar High Street, 1937.

Watch out for an exhibition of Whiffin's East End photographs coming up at THLHLA later in the year.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month


A balloon ascent from Poplar Recreation Ground during a fête organised by the East London Licensed Victuallers, c.1892. Photographer: William Whiffin.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month



Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives recently acquired this World War I photographic postcard showing a group of eight soldiers of the 17th London Regiment (Stepney and Poplar Rifles) informally posed in front of bell tents.

The date, location and names of the soldiers are unknown.

Can any reader help with these?

Contact Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives

Picture of the Month



Zeppelin sighting over Belgrave Street, Stepney, during World War One

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month



Zeppelin over Cotton Street, Poplar, E14

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month


Coronation Party held on Jane St, Stepney, June 1953. [LHLA reference : MR/2/5]

This month's picture is from a lovely collection of personal photographs, copies of which were kindly donated to Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives by local resident Mr Melvyn Reeves.

The photographs deposited include images of Cable Street School; Jane Street (demolished 1961); Harry Gosling School, Fairclough Street and Central Foundation Girls' School, Spital Square.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month


Mr Frederick William Vyse, Master Baker, 12 Tapley Street, Poplar c1910

A digital copy of this beautiful photograph was kindly deposited with Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archive in June by Mr Vyse's great-grandaugher, Mrs Jacoba Gale.

The image has now been catalogued and a hard copy print out is available to view in our reading room (image ref: P33862, class: 651.2).

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month


Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives.

This month’s picture shows the bombed-out shell of Christ Church Watney Street in 1943.

Built to serve the rapidly expanding population of the district, the foundation stone was laid on March 11th 1840 and the church was consecrated just over a year later. The first vicar was William Quekett who had been a curate at the nearby church of St George in the East since 1829.

The building of grey bricks with stone dressings was in the Romanesque style with two towers with slated pyramidal spires which can be clearly seen.

The church was wrecked by a landmine in April 1941 but the ruins survived for around a further ten years before being cleared.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the month



The 'Millwall and The Island' Horse Omnibus outside West India Dock Station c.1910.

During the 1850s, the first one-horse omnibus began to operate between the Greenwich Ferry and Limehouse, helping to ease heavy traffic congestion on the Isle of Dogs, primarily caused by frequent queues at the Dock bridges. By the 1870s, a number of private horse omnibuses were in operation throughout the island. The bus driver would collect fares through a hatch in the roof of the vehicle. The 'Millwall and The Island' horse omnibus, pictured, served West Ferry Road and Millwall Docks and operated until 16th October 1913, the year during which the London General Omnibus Company introduced motor-bus services.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month



St Andrew’s Hospital, Devons Road, Bromley-by-Bow, c1934

Originally known as the Poplar and Stepney Sick Asylum, this building was opened in 1871 and served the districts of Poplar, Bromley, Bow, Limehouse, Wapping, Shadwell and Ratcliff.

It was one of the first and largest workhouse infirmaries built under the Metropolitan Poor Act of 1867. It was renamed St Andrew’s Hospital in 1925.

The hospital has now been demolished and is being replaced by a large housing scheme called St Andrews.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month



This photograph by Poplar photographer William Whiffin shows a Truman’s brewery dray outside the building which was erected in 1927-8 but there had been a tavern here called the White Horse since 1690 or earlier.

The pub’s claim to fame was that in the mid-eighteenth century the licensee was a woman, Mary East (1715-1780), who lived as a man called James Howes and lived “as man and wife” with a woman friend.

The pub was pulled down a few years ago to make way for a housing development. However the remarkable inn sign in the form of a horse made from lead on a post thought to date from the early to mid eighteenth century survives.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month

The (future) King's Speech



This picture shows HRH The Duke of York (later King George VI) at the opening of York Hall (named after him) in Bethnal Green in November 1929.

The new Public Baths and Washhouses in Old Ford Road cost about £125,000 and were among the best-equipped and most up-to-date in the country.

The Duke concluded his speech by saying, “We shall always retain very happy memories of our visit here today. We hope we may on some future occasion be able to come here and see you again”.

His subsequent visits to the East End as King George VI were as morale-boosting exercises during World War II.

In the centre of the picture is the Mayor of Bethnal Green, Councillor Wesley Clark Chandler J.P., and to his left the Duchess of York, later Queen Elizabeth.




Mile End Road showing the Peoples' Palace and St. Benet's church, c 1904.

The only structure still standing from this postcard view, partially hidden by trees, is the clock tower of the People’s Palace, now Queen Mary University of London.

The rather grand middle-class housing known as St Helen’s Terrace, dating from the late 1860s was demolished in the 1930s to make way for the new People’s Palace.

On the right is St Benet’s church, built in 1871-2, to the designs of Ewan Christian in the 13th century style. The church was badly damaged by enemy action in August 1940.

Deemed unnecessary under post-war reorganisation, it was demolished in 1950. The college chapel occupies part of its site.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the Month



Seventy years ago on 7th September 1940 (or “Black Saturday” as it came to be known) the beginning of the Blitz on London began.

Although there had been sporadic raids prior to this, it was the first time that the capital, and in particular, the East End experienced the intensity of a massed air attack.

The picture shows the damage inflicted on the church of St Matthew, Bethnal Green. The church, which was built in 1743-6, had already witnessed partial destruction in the middle of the nineteenth century following a fire in 1859.

The west end of the church was repaired in 1955 and the rest reconstructed in 1958-1961.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the month


East India Dock Road 1904 courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

East India Dock Road was laid out in 1806-1812 as a “branch” of the Commercial Road (made between 1802 and 1804) to give traffic from the newly completed East India Docks a straight run to London, bypassing Poplar High Street. A forest of masts in the docks can be seen in the distance.

The picture is dominated by the United Methodist Free Church, built 1866-8 in a “modern Italian” style to accommodate 1,500 people. In 1919 it was taken over by the nearby Poplar Methodist Mission and renamed King George’s Hall and was used as a men’s club, Sunday school and concert hall. It was badly damaged in the Second World War.

In the distance can be seen Poplar Railway station (the site of the present All Saints DLR station). This was built for the North London Railway in 1865-6 to replace the former station in Poplar High Street.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the month


Angel Lane, Stratford, 1959.

The white covered portico in the middle of the photograph is the entrance to the Theatre Royal. The poster outside the theatre advertises the Joan Littlewood production of the musical "Make Me An Offer" which opened at the Theatre Royal in October 1959.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the month


This photograph of what is now known simply as Alie Street was taken by Poplar photographer William Whiffin (1878-1957).

It shows an intriguing mix of motorised and horse-drawn traffic.

The left half of the picture is dominated by eighteenth- century buildings with shop fronts, destroyed by enemy action in the Second World War.

Behind the lorry laden with timber, at the corner of Leman Street is the Eastern Dispensary built in 1858, now a public house.

The Dispensary had been founded in 1782 to provide free medical and surgical relief to the poor.

Beyond this building are silhouetted the chimneys of the former St George’s German Lutheran School.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

Picture of the month


Crossland Square, Bethnal Green, 1954

This picture shows some typical weavers cottages which at one time were very prevalent in Bethnal Green. They are typified by the larger-than-normal windows on the first floor to illuminate the room where the weaving took
place.

Crossland Square was just south of Derbyshire Street. The houses had just been compulsorily purchased by the London County Council as part of the process of creating the appropriately named open space – Weavers Fields.

Image courtesy of Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives