Commercial Street, E1

Road in/near Spitalfields, existing between 1844 and now

 HOME  ·  ARTICLE  MAP  STREETS  BLOG  CONTACT 
18.205.109.82 
MAPPING YEAR:1750180018301860190019302019Fullscreen map
Road · Spitalfields · E1 ·
MARCH
11
2017

Commercial Street is a major thoroughfare running north-south from Shoreditch High Street to Whitechapel High Street.

Commercial Street looking south, c.1907. Spitalfields Market is on the right.
The first plans for a new street in Spitalfields and Whitechapel was made by a Select Committee on Metropolitan Improvements in August 1836. This Committee recommended the construction of a street ’from Finsbury Square to Whitechapel Church and the Commercial Road’, to run in a straight line from the Bishopsgate end of Middlesex Street to near the southern end of Osborn Street. An alternative scheme put to the Committee by the chairman of the Tower Hamlets Commissioners of Sewers was, however, closer to the line finally chosen.

By 1838, the proposed path of the new road was beginning to take shape after taking into consideration the opinions of various organisations and it was considered fortuitous that the road would cut through and remove numerous slums such as those in Rose Lane and Vine Street. Therefore, not only would it link northern routes to Commercial Road and thus the docks, but also achieve ’the destruction of a neighbourhood inhabited by persons addicted to vices and immorality of the worst description’ (the linking of Thrawl Street to the new street via Keate Court in 1859 was considered a highly desirable development).

The work of clearing these densely packed and often dangerous slums was no mean task. Men worked at night to empty and fill in the ’privy-pits’ in the congested courts on the line of the street. In November of 1844, the gas-pipes were laid and by December the street line from Whitechapel High Street to Christ Church had been completely marked out. The termination of the street at the church was ridiculed ’as if the only object of the line was to enable the sailors of our merchantmen to attend divine service on Sunday’

The laying of the new road effectively wiped out a number of streets. They were Essex Street, Rose Lane, Red Lion Street, Vine Street and much of Wheler Street.
The original name for the new road was Spital Street, but as a street of this name already existed nearby (in Mile End New Town), the name Commercial Street was agreed in September 1845 with building commencing in October.

An act of July 1846 authorised the extension of Commercial Street northwards (from Christ Church to Shoreditch High Street), though building did not start until 1851. By 1856 it had been paved as far as Fleur-de-lis Street and was finally completed in 1858.

Commercial Street presented a strange assortment of architectural styles, but the most popular became known as ’warehouse gothic’, examples of which are still extant today.

The cutting of Commercial Street through the notorious rookeries of Spitalfields failed to alleviate the criminality of the district, despite opening up notorious thoroughfares to greater scrutiny. Thus it played an important part in the lives of the local community and indeed the lives of the victims of the Whitechapel Murders.

xxx

Commercial Street looking south, c.1907. Spitalfields Market is on the right.
User unknown/public domain

VIEW THE SPITALFIELDS AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

VIEW THE SPITALFIELDS AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

VIEW THE SPITALFIELDS AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

VIEW THE SPITALFIELDS AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

VIEW THE SPITALFIELDS AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

Spitalfields

Spitalfields is near to Liverpool Street station and Brick Lane.

The area straddles Commercial Street and is home to several markets, including the historic Old Spitalfields Market, and various Brick Lane Markets on Brick Lane and Cheshire Street. Petticoat Lane Market lies on the area's south-western boundaries.

The name Spitalfields appears in the form Spittellond in 1399; as The spitel Fyeld on the 16th-century Civitas Londinium map associated with Ralph Agas. The land belonged to St Mary Spital, a priory or hospital erected on the east side of the Bishopsgate thoroughfare in 1197, and the name is thought to derive from this. An alternative, and possibly earlier, name for the area was Lolsworth.

After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Spitalfields was inhabited by prosperous French Huguenot silk weavers. In the early 19th century their descendants were reduced to a deplorable condition due to the competition of the Manchester textile factories and the area began to deteriorate into crime-infested slums. The spacious and handsome Huguenot houses were divided up into tiny dwellings which were rented by poor families of labourers, who sought employment in the nearby docks.

The area has recently attracted a IT-literate younger population.
Print-friendly version of this page

Maps


Central London, north east (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Central London, north east.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Cruchley's New Plan of London (1848) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cruchley's New Plan of London Shewing all the new and intended improvements to the Present Time. - Cruchley's Superior Map of London, with references to upwards of 500 Streets, Squares, Public Places & C. improved to 1848: with a compendium of all Place of Public Amusements also shewing the Railways & Stations.
G. F. Cruchley

Cary's New And Accurate Plan of London and Westminster (1818) FREE DOWNLOAD
Cary's map provides a detailed view of London. With print date of 1 January 1818, Cary's map has 27 panels arranged in 3 rows of 9 panels, each measuring approximately 6 1/2 by 10 5/8 inches. The complete map measures 32 1/8 by 59 1/2 inches. Digitising this map has involved aligning the panels into one contiguous map.
John Cary

John Rocque Map of London (1762) FREE DOWNLOAD
John Rocque (c. 1709–1762) was a surveyor, cartographer, engraver, map-seller and the son of Huguenot émigrés. Roque is now mainly remembered for his maps of London. This map dates from the second edition produced in 1762. London and his other maps brought him an appointment as cartographer to the Prince of Wales in 1751. His widow continued the business after his death. The map covers central London at a reduced level of detail compared with his 1745-6 map.
John Rocque, The Strand, London

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1843) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured.
Chapman and Hall, London

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (1836) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Insets: A view of the Tower from London Bridge -- A view of London from Copenhagen Fields. Includes views of facades of 25 structures "A comparison of the principal buildings of London."
Chapman and Hall, London

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
1 



COPYRIGHT TERMS:
Unless a source is explicitedly stated, text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Articles may be a remixes of various Wikipedia articles plus work by the website authors - original Wikipedia source can generally be accessed under the same name as the main title. This does not affect its Creative Commons attribution.

Maps upon this website are in the public domain because they are mechanical scans of public domain originals, or - from the available evidence - are so similar to such a scan or photocopy that no copyright protection can be expected to arise. The originals themselves are in public domain for the following reason:
Public domain Maps used are in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights.

This tag is designed for use where there may be a need to assert that any enhancements (eg brightness, contrast, colour-matching, sharpening) are in themselves insufficiently creative to generate a new copyright. It can be used where it is unknown whether any enhancements have been made, as well as when the enhancements are clear but insufficient. For usage, see Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag.