Poplar High Street, E14

Road in/near Poplar, existing until now

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Road · Poplar · E14 ·
October
26
2020

Until the late nineteenth century Poplar High Street was the district’s principal street.

The commercial importance of Poplar High Street declined rapidly from the 1860s, and in the late 1880s it was reported that ’many shops have been empty for years’.

Nearly two-thirds of a mile in length, and on average only a little over 30ft in width, Poplar High Street contained 327 houses when it was renumbered in 1865. Most were narrow, with an average width of under 17ft. Extending along the southern edge of the river-terrace flood-plain gravel, it provided an indirect approach to Blackwall, and, perhaps as important, access to the ways which extended down from its south side into the rich pasture of the Isle of Dogs. The house-sites on this south side of the street sloped sharply downward and this was sometimes thought the less salubrious side. In 1863 the sewer behind the public house at No. 270 was still an open ditch of ’water carried away at every tide’. It was on this ill-drained south side, however, that a clear if discontinuous line of ’back lane’ developed, whereas there was nothing of the kind on the opposite side. The local medical men tended to live on the north side, which as early as 1623 produced a much higher yield from the rates than the south side.

In the nineteenth century the property of the manor of Poplar lay on the south side of the street, chiefly west of the workhouse. On the manor of Poplar in the years 1810–39 the lord’s property in the street (perhaps some 50 houses) brought him an income arising out of the ’fines’ or premiums on the renewal of holdings that was immensely variable but which averaged just under £100 per annum. (The most, in 1837, was £649.)

John Hale was a carpenter in the City, off Cannon Street. He seems to have acquired effective ownership from his relations and from him the property on both sides of the High Street descended by 1803 to his builder son, Thomas (in a trust with his mother). It was Thomas Hale, one of the first would-be developers, with Thomas Ashton of Blackwall, of the east end of East India Dock Road in 1807–8, who finally subjected the property to development in the first decade of the nineteenth century. This was chiefly in Hale Street and more humbly in Queen (later Bickmore) Street, and on their flank fronts to the High Street.

In the opening decade of the nineteenth century, when the great enclosed docks were made, there was a building boom of a kind in the High Street. The general London building boom of the mid–1820s is faintly reflected and in 1824 the parish authorities noted that several houses were about to be taken down. The up-to-date appearance of some of the replacements has been noticed. Among the houses built on the south side in the 1850s, though they were ’of no architectural merit’, some were professionally occupied, and this seems to signify a short time when the prospects for residential property in the street had some faint promise, with local poverty alleviated by the Crimean War boom in shipbuilding, a time when ’the whole Isle of Dogs rang with hammers from morning to night’. The Poplar Literary and Scientific Institution was here (behind Nos 186–188) in 1845–52, before moving to East India Dock Road. In Poplar generally far more new houses were built in 1845–55 than in 1871–91 and the High Street reflects this. There were 51 new houses built in the 11 years 1845–55, 18 in 1872–82, nine in 1883–93, nine again in 1894–1904, but none in 1905–15. Rather similarly, new shopfronts numbered 19 in 1845–55, three in 1872–82 and nine in 1883–93.

Since 1817 much of the street had lain within the metaphorical and some of it in the physical shadow of the big workhouse building on the south side. Nor were the attractions of the street enhanced by the trades pursued there, such as the 11 slaughterhouses in 1859, the cork-burner at No. 100 in 1899 and the haddock-dryer at No. 302 in 1881. At and behind No. 25 the nineteenth-century sawmill was succeeded by chain-makers and repairers whose ironworks continued there after the Second World War. The hold on ’amenity’ was very frail and by the end of the nineteenth century the street was thoroughly depressed, with ’several houses of ill-fame, frequented by common seamen’, on its south side. Will Crooks’s biographer spoke in 1907 of the ’now silent’ High Street, and the Inland Revenue’s valuation of 1909–15 shows the silence to have been one of decay and neglect.

Emslie’s views in the 1870s show how much the High Street was then a shopping street. But they probably show a street where retail prosperity was already in decline. Commentators attributed this to the departure of street-traders and costermongers to Chrisp Street, from the late 1860s onwards. The removal of the Poplar Railway Station to East India Dock Road in 1865–6 had probably made matters worse. By 1895 the City Press called it ’one of the worst paying thoroughfares in London’. From 1872 to 1900 few new shopfronts are noticed in the district surveyor’s returns. There was then some increase, to 1915. But the Inland Revenue’s valuer was driven to constant comment in his assessments of 1909–15 that this was ’a bad business street’. (ref. 83)

As for the shops themselves, by the 1930s they shared one predominant characteristic with the rest of London’s humbler shops: the division of the ground floor between the shop itself at the front and a separate ’shop parlour’ behind, whence the proprietor would emerge at the tinkle of the shop bell. Access to the shop parlour and the rooms above was usually via the shop not via a separate street-door. Some shops of this kind were of very simple design.




Main source: Poplar High Street: Introduction | British History Online
Further citations and sources


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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY

Born here
colin Passfield   
Added: 1 Jan 2021 15:28 GMT   

Dora Street, E14
My grandmother was born in 1904 at 34 Dora Street

Reply
Lived here
   
Added: 16 Feb 2021 13:41 GMT   

Giraud Street
I lived in Giraud St in 1938/1939. I lived with my Mother May Lillian Allen & my brother James Allen (Known as Lenny) My name is Tom Allen and was evacuated to Surrey from Giraud St. I am now 90 years of age.

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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

Comment
danny currie   
Added: 30 Nov 2022 18:39 GMT   

dads yard
ron currie had a car breaking yard in millers yard back in the 60s good old days

Reply

Lynette beardwood   
Added: 29 Nov 2022 20:53 GMT   

Spy’s Club
Topham’s Hotel at 24-28 Ebury Street was called the Ebury Court Hotel. Its first proprietor was a Mrs Topham. In WW2 it was a favourite watering hole for the various intelligence organisations based in the Pimlico area. The first woman infiltrated into France in 1942, FANY Yvonne Rudellat, was recruited by the Special Operations Executive while working there. She died in Bergen Belsen in April 1945.

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Born here
   
Added: 16 Nov 2022 12:39 GMT   

The Pearce family lived in Gardnor Road
The Pearce family moved into Gardnor Road around 1900 after living in Fairfax walk, my Great grandfather, wife and there children are recorded living in number 4 Gardnor road in the 1911 census, yet I have been told my grand father was born in number 4 in 1902, generations of the Pearce continue living in number 4 as well other houses in the road up until the 1980’s

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Lived here
Phil Stubbington   
Added: 14 Nov 2022 16:28 GMT   

Numbers 60 to 70 (1901 - 1939)
A builder, Robert Maeers (1842-1919), applied to build six houses on plots 134 to 139 on the Lincoln House Estate on 5 October 1901. He received approval on 8 October 1901. These would become numbers 60 to 70 Rodenhurst Road (60 is plot 139). Robert Maeers was born in Northleigh, Devon. In 1901 he was living in 118 Elms Road with his wife Georgina, nee Bagwell. They had four children, Allan, Edwin, Alice, and Harriet, born between 1863 and 1873.
Alice Maeers was married to John Rawlins. Harriet Maeers was married to William Street.
Three of the six houses first appear on the electoral register in 1904:
Daniel Mescal “Ferncroft”
William Francis Street “Hillsboro”
Henry Elkin “Montrose”

By the 1905 electoral register all six are occupied:

Daniel Mescal “St Senans”
Henry Robert Honeywood “Grasmere”
John Rawlins “Iveydene”
William Francis Street “Hillsboro”
Walter Ernest Manning “St Hilda”
Henry Elkin “Montrose”

By 1906 house numbers replace names:

Daniel Mescal 70
Henry Robert Honeywood 68
John Rawlins 66
William Francis Street 64
Walter Ernest Manning 62
Henry Elkin 60

It’s not clear whether number 70 changed from “Ferncroft” to “St Senans” or possibly Daniel Mescal moved houses.

In any event, it can be seen that Robert Maeers’ two daughters are living in numbers 64 and 66, with, according to local information, an interconnecting door. In the 1911 census William Street is shown as a banker’s clerk. John Rawlins is a chartering clerk in shipping. Robert Maeers and his wife are also living at this address, Robert being shown as a retired builder.

By 1939 all the houses are in different ownership except number 60, where the Elkins are still in residence.


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Comment
stephen garraway   
Added: 13 Nov 2022 13:56 GMT   

Martin Street, Latimer Road
I was born at St Charlottes and lived at 14, Martin Street, Latimer Road W10 until I was 4 years old when we moved to the east end. It was my Nan Grant’s House and she was the widow of George Frederick Grant. She had two sons, George and Frederick, and one daughter, my mother Margaret Patricia.
The downstairs flat where we lived had two floors, the basement and the ground floor. The upper two floors were rented to a Scot and his family, the Smiths. He had red hair. The lights and cooker were gas and there was one cold tap over a Belfast sink. A tin bath hung on the wall. The toilet was outside in the yard. This was concreted over and faced the the rear of the opposite terraces. All the yards were segregated by high brick walls. The basement had the a "best" room with a large , dark fireplace with two painted metal Alsation ornaments and it was very dark, cold and little used.
The street lights were gas and a man came round twice daily to turn them on and off using a large pole with a hook and a lighted torch on the end. I remember men coming round the streets with carts selling hot chestnuts and muffins and also the hurdy gurdy man with his instrument and a monkey in a red jacket. I also remember the first time I saw a black man and my mother pulling me away from him. He had a Trilby and pale Mackintosh so he must of been one of the first of the Windrush people. I seem to recall he had a thin moustache.
Uncle George had a small delivery lorry but mum lost touch with him and his family. Uncle Fred went to Peabody Buildings near ST.Pauls.
My Nan was moved to a maisonette in White City around 1966, and couldn’t cope with electric lights, cookers and heating and she lost all of her neighbourhood friends. Within six months she had extreme dementia and died in a horrible ward in Tooting Bec hospital a year or so later. An awful way to end her life, being moved out of her lifelong neighbourhood even though it was slums.

Reply
Comment
   
Added: 31 Oct 2022 18:47 GMT   

Memories
I lived at 7 Conder Street in a prefab from roughly 1965 to 1971 approx - happy memories- sad to see it is no more ?

Reply

Eve Glover   
Added: 22 Oct 2022 09:28 GMT   

Shenley Road
Shenley Road is the main street in Borehamwood where the Job Centre and Blue Arrow were located

Reply
Comment
Richard Lake   
Added: 28 Sep 2022 09:37 GMT   

Trade Union Official
John William Lake snr moved with his family to 22 De Laune Street in 1936. He was the London Branch Secretary for the Street Masons, Paviours and Road Makers Union. He had previously lived in Orange St now Copperfield St Southwark but had been forced to move because the landlord didn’t like him working from home and said it broke his lease.
John William snr died in 1940. His son John William Lake jnr also became a stone mason and at the end of World War two he was responsible for the engraving of the dates of WW2 onto the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

Reply

NEARBY LOCATIONS OF NOTE
All Saints’ Church All Saints’ is a church in Newby Place, Poplar.
Canary Wharf Canary Wharf is a large business development on the Isle of Dogs, centred on the old West India Docks.
Chrisp Street Market Chrisp Street Market is the central marketplace and town centre of Poplar.
La Trompette Poplar Baths is a former public bath house dating from 1933.
Museum of London Docklands The Museum of London Docklands, based in an 1802 warehouse, tells the history of London’s River Thames and the growth of the Docklands.
Railway Tavern The Railway Tavern was generally known as Charlie Brown’s.
St Matthias Old Church St Matthias Old Church is the modern name given to the Poplar Chapel built by the East India Company in 1654.
Tower Hamlets College Tower Hamlets College is a large further education and a constituent college of New City College.
West India Quay West India Quay is a leisure complex on the Isle of Dogs.

NEARBY STREETS
1 Cabot Square, E14 1 Cabot Square (also known as the Credit Suisse building) is a 21 floor office building occupied by Credit Suisse in the Canary Wharf development.
1 West India Quay, E14 1 West India Quay is a skyscraper designed by HOK in the Docklands area which was completed in 2004.
Adams Place, E14 Adams Place is a road in the E14 postcode area
Adderley Street, E14 Adderley Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Amoy Place, E14 Amoy Place is a road in the E14 postcode area
Annabel Close, E14 Annabel Close is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Astoria Way, E14 Astoria Way is a location in London.
Bazely Street, E14 Bazely Street was originally Bow Lane.
Berber Place, E14 Berber Place is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Billingsgate Market, E14 Billingsgate Market is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Birchfield Street, E14 Birchfield Street was once called Drill Place.
Boardwalk Place, E14 Boardwalk Place is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Boardwalk, E14 Sophia Street was built in 1823 and demolished in 1939.
Broadway Walk, E14 Broadway Walk is a road in the E14 postcode area
Brownfield Street, E14 Brownfield Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Bygrove Street, E14 Bygrove Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Cabot Place East, E14 Cabot Place East is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Cabot Place West, E14 Cabot Place West is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Cabot Place, E14 Cabot Place is a retail area.
Cabot Square, E14 Cabot Square is one of the central squares of the Canary Wharf Development.
Cannon Drive, E14 Cannon Drive is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Canton Street, E14 Canton Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Castor Lane, E14 Castor Lane is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Castor Street, E14 Castor Street existed between the 1810s and 1960s.
Chancellor Psg, E14 Chancellor Passage is in the Canary Wharf area behind West India Quay.
Chilcot Close, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Columbus Courtyard, E14 Columbus Courtyard is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Cooks Close, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Cottage Street, E14 Cottage Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
Crossrail Place, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Crossrail Walk, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Dingle Gardens, E14 Dingle Gardens is a road in the E14 postcode area
Discovery House, E14 Discovery House can be found on Newby Place
Dolphin Lane, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Duff Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
East India Dock Road, E14 East India Dock Road is an important artery connecting the City of London to Essex, and partly serves as the high street of Poplar
East Quay, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Elizabeth Close, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Epstein Square, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Finchs Court Mews, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Finchs Court, E14 Finchs Court is a road in the E14 postcode area
Fishermans Place, E14 Fishermans Place is a road in the W4 postcode area
Fishermans Walk, E14 Fishermans Walk is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Garford Street, E14 Garford Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Grundy Street, E14 Grundy Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Hale Street, E14 Hale Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
Harbour Way, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Harrow Lane, E14 Harrow Lane is a road in the E14 postcode area
Hertsmere Road, E14 Hertsmere Road is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Horizon Building, E14 The Horizon Building
Ida Street, E14 Ida Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Jeremiah Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Kemps Drive, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Kerbey Street, E14 Kerbey Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Kildare Walk, E14 Kildare Walk is a road in the E14 postcode area
Landon Walk, E14 Landon Walk is a small walkway.
Mackrow Walk, E14 Mackrow Walk is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Malam Gardens, E14 Malam Gardens is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Market Square, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Ming Street, E14 Ming Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
Morant Street, E14 Morant Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
Mountague Place, E14 This is a street in the E14 postcode area
New Festival Avenue, E14 New Festival Avenue is a road in the E14 postcode area
Newby Place, E14 Newby Place is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
North Colonnade, E14 North Colonnade is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
North Quay Place, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Ontario Way, E14 Ontario Way is a road in the E14 postcode area
Park Row, E14 Park Row is a road in the E14 postcode area
Pekin Close, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Pekin Street, E14 Pekin Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Pennyfields, E14 Pennyfields is the western extension of Poplar High Street.
Pigott Street, E14 When the Lansbury Estate was built, Pigott Street was the final part of the plan, hosting a block of flats from 1982.
Pinefield Close, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Plimsoll Close, E14 Plimsoll Close is a road in the E14 postcode area
Ricardo Street, E14 Ricardo Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Rigden Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Rook Street, E14 Rook Street - at first called Mary Street - ran between Poplar High Street and East India Road.
Rosefield Gardens, E14 Rosefield Gardens is a road in the E14 postcode area
Saltwell Street, E14 Saltwell Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Saracen Street, E14 Saracen Street was a new street formed when the Lansbury Estate was built.
Scott Russell Place, E14 Scott Russell Place is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Shirbutt Street, E14 Shirbutt Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
Simpson’s Road, E14 Simpson’s Road is a road in the E14 postcode area
Smythe Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Stoneyard Lane, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Storehouse Mews, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Sturry Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Susannah Street, E14 Susannah Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
The Arcade, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
The Warehouse, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Trafalgar Way, E14 Trafalgar Way is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Vesey Path, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Wades Place, E14 Wades Place is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
West India Avenue, E14 West India Avenue is a road in the E14 postcode area
West India Dock Road, E14 West India Dock Road is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Westcott House, E14 Westcott House is sited on East India Dock Road
Williamsburg Plaza, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Woodall Close, E14 Woodall Close is a road in the E14 postcode area
Woodstock Terrace, E14 Woodstock Terrace is a road in the E14 postcode area
Wren Landing, E14 Wren Landing is a road in the E14 postcode area

NEARBY PUBS
Railway Tavern The Railway Tavern was generally known as Charlie Brown’s.


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We now have 525 completed street histories and 46975 partial histories
Find streets or residential blocks within the M25 by clicking STREETS


Poplar

Poplar - site of the first air raids.

Poplar is a historic, mainly residential area of East London. The district became the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar in 1900 - abolished in 1965 and absorbed into Tower Hamlets. The district centre is Chrisp Street Market. Poplar contains notable examples of public housing including the Lansbury Estate and Balfron Tower.

Although many people associate wartime bombing with The Blitz during World War II, the first airborne terror campaign in Britain took place during the First World War.

Air raids in World War One caused significant damage and took many lives. WWI German raids on Britain caused 1413 deaths and 3409 injuries. Air raids provided an unprecedented means of striking at resources vital to an enemy’s war effort. Many of the novel features of the war in the air between 1914 and 1918—the lighting restrictions and blackouts, the air raid warnings and the improvised shelters—became central aspects of the Second World War less than 30 years later.

The East End of London was one of the most heavily targeted places. Poplar, in particular, was struck badly by some of the air raids during the First World War. Initially these were at night by Zeppelins which bombed the area indiscriminately, leading to the death of innocent civilians.

The first daylight bombing attack on London by a fixed-wing aircraft took place on 13 June 1917. Fourteen German Gotha G bombers led by Squadron Commander Hauptmann Ernst Brandenberg flew over Essex and began dropping their bombs. It was a hot day and the sky was hazy; nevertheless, onlookers in London’s East End were able to see ’a dozen or so big aeroplanes scintillating like so many huge silver dragonflies’. These three-seater bombers were carrying shrapnel bombs which were dropped just before noon. Numerous bombs fell in rapid succession in various districts. In the East End alone 104 people were killed, 154 seriously injured and 269 slightly injured.

The gravest incident that day was a direct hit on a primary school in Poplar. In the Upper North Street School at the time were a girls’ class on the top floor, a boys’ class on the middle floor and an infant class of about 50 students on the ground floor. The bomb fell through the roof into the girls’ class; it then proceeded to fall through the boys’ classroom before finally exploding in the infant class. Eighteen students were killed, of whom sixteen were aged from 4 to 6 years old. The tragedy shocked the British public at the time.

* * *

Poplar DLR station was opened on 21 August 1987, originally with just two platforms, being served only by the Stratford-Island Gardens branch of the DLR. As the DLR was expanded eastwards, the station was extensively remodelled, given two extra platforms and expanded.


LOCAL PHOTOS
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Poplar (1910)
TUM image id: 1556886600
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Poplar Baths (2005)
Credit: Gordon Joly
TUM image id: 1582639714
Licence: CC BY 2.0
1 Cabot Square
Credit: Jack8080
TUM image id: 1481482264
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Pennyfields, Poplar (around 1900)
TUM image id: 1605021763
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In the neighbourhood...

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Poplar (1910)
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Poplar Baths (2005)
Credit: Gordon Joly
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1 Cabot Square
Credit: Jack8080
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East India Road, Poplar It takes it name from the former East India Docks and its route was constructed between 1806 and 1812 as a branch of the Commercial Road. The road begins in the west at Burdett Road and continues to the River Lea bridge in the east in Canning Town.
Old London postcard
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Pennyfields, Poplar (around 1900)
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Castor Street Chinese Laundry, Limehouse While Chinese laundries first began to appear in Britain in Liverpool at the turn of the 20th century, one of the first in London was that run by Hop Lee in Castor Street. The Chinese moved into laundries as they were often denied other business opportunities. They were often successful because they offered a cheaper and better quality service than existing laundries.
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Rook Street, Poplar decorated with flags, shrines and a banner in preparation for a Catholic procession, September 1914.
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A line of Vauxhall cars in front of an old masonry warehouse awaiting export shipment at West India Dock on 12 June 1935.
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