Ming Street, E14

Road in/near Poplar, existing between the 1820s and now.

(51.50908 -0.02218, 51.509 -0.022) 
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Road · * · E14 ·
Ming Street - the former King Street - was renamed in recognition of the then local Chinese community

A narrow pathway known as Back Lane existed on the south side of Pennyfields in what is now Ming Street. In 1802, the construction of Commercial (West India Dock) Road intersected Back Lane, resulting in its transformation into King Street around 1820. Initially, King Street ran north of the Blue Posts public house until 1827–8 when it was rerouted to the south, creating a direct crossing to Garford Street. This alteration allowed locals to avoid tolls on Commercial Road. The old branch of King Street became King Street West, while the main street itself was renamed Ming Street in 1938, likely in recognition of the local Chinese community.

The development of the north side of Ming Street took place in the early 19th century. By 1810, two small courts of cottages called Union Court (later Ulmar Place) and Prospect Place were established, consisting of five and eight houses respectively. Within ten years, several two-storey houses were also constructed along the street. In the 1830s, Eagle Place, a small court with three cottages, was added. Over time, the north side of the street saw incremental growth until it was fully built up by the mid-19th century. Adjacent to the east, there was a builder’s workshop and yard occupied by Carden & Hack from around 1840 to 1868. Subsequently, it became a depot for Pickford & Company. During the latter half of the century, houses on the north side of King Street underwent rebuilding, expansion, and conversion into workshops and warehouses, many of which were connected to maritime activities. Various trades such as ship-brass-founders, ship-joiners, ship-chandlers, ropemakers, sailmakers, riggers, and a shell merchant could be found in the area. In the early 20th century, the courts were cleared, and commercial enterprises expanded along the north side of the street.

On the other hand, the south side of Ming Street saw limited development, except for its eastern end. An extensive plot adjacent to Hanbury Place was used as a "garden" by local builders Thomas Morris, John Howkins, William Barker, and William Constable from 1808 to 1818. This site likely served as a convenient yard for their work at the West India Docks. It was subsequently acquired on lease in 1820 by another local builder firm, James Gates and William Horne, for the establishment of a gas works to provide lighting for Poplar. John and George Barlow, London iron merchants, initially undertook the project, leading to the formation of the Poplar Gas Light Company in 1821. The company obtained the freehold in 1836. To comply with the concerns of the West India Dock Company regarding the risk of fire near their warehouses, the Barlows constructed a T-shaped gas works featuring a gasometer with cast-iron tanks and columns. The extensive works, costing nearly £16,000, fulfilled high standards. The Poplar Gas Light Company began lighting Newby Place and Bow Lane in 1822, All Saints’ churchyard in 1823, Robin Hood Lane in 1824, and the East India Dock Road in 1826. In 1841, a second gas works was established in Millwall to serve the Isle of Dogs, driven by increased demand primarily from shipbuilding and manufacturing in Blackwall and Orchard Place.

However, the King Street gas works struggled to meet the surging demand. In 1846, despite proposals for expansion and the installation of larger mains, the Poplar Gas Light Company lost its gas supply contract for the parish. The contract was awarded to the Commercial Gas Company based in Stepney, which subsequently took over the Poplar Gas Light Company in 1850. As an experiment, Poplar received gas from the Stepney works one night in May that year. Mains were soon laid from Stepney to serve the Garford Street area and improve the gas supply in Poplar. In 1852, the King Street gas works ceased operations and were largely dismantled. Robert Warton, a surveyor from Finchley, intended to develop houses on the site but faced obstacles due to the high cost of building materials. Consequently, his plans did not materialize. The land was later leased to John Finney, an engineer and millwright, who transformed it into the Poplar Iron Works between 1853 and 1854.

Main source: Survey of London | British History Online
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None so far :(

Vic Stanley   
Added: 24 Feb 2024 17:38 GMT   

The postcode is SE15, NOT SE1

Added: 17 Feb 2024 00:08 GMT   

No 36 Upper East Smithfield
My great great grandfather was born at No 36 Upper East Smithfield and spent his early years staring out at a "dead wall" of St Katharine’s Docks. His father was an outfitter and sold clothing for sailors. He describes the place as being backed by tenements in terrible condition and most of the people living there were Irish.


Kevin Pont   
Added: 16 Feb 2024 20:32 GMT   

Name origin
Interestingly South Lambeth derives its name from the same source as Lambeth itself - a landing place for lambs.

But South Lambeth has no landing place - it is not on the River Thames


C Hobbs   
Added: 31 Jan 2024 23:53 GMT   

George Gut (1853 - 1861)
George Gut, Master Baker lived with his family in Long Lane.
George was born in Bernbach, Hesse, Germany and came to the UK sometime in the 1840s. In 1849, George married an Englishwoman called Matilda Baker and became a nauralized Englishman. He was given the Freedom of the City of London (by Redemption in the Company of Bakers), in 1853 and was at that time, recorded as living at 3 Long Lane. In the 1861 census, George Gut was living at 11 Long Lane.

Emma Beach   
Added: 18 Jan 2024 04:33 GMT   

William Sutton Thwaites
William Sutton Thwaites was the father of Frances Lydia Alice Knorr nee Thwaites�’�’she was executed in 1894 in Melbourne, Victoria Australia for infanticide. In the year prior to his marriage, to her mother Frances Jeanette Thwaites nee Robin, William Sutton was working as a tailor for Mr Orchard who employed four tailors in the hamlet of Mile End Old Town on at Crombies Row, Commercial Road East.

Source: 1861 England Census Class: Rg 9; Piece: 293; Folio: 20; Page: 2; GSU roll: 542608

Added: 15 Jan 2024 15:44 GMT   

Simon De Charmes, clockmaker
De Charmes (or Des Charmes), Simon, of French Huguenot extraction. Recorded 1688 and Free of the Clockmakers’ Company 1691-1730. In London until 1704 at least at ’his House, the Sign of the Clock, the Corner of Warwick St, Charing Cross’. See Brian Loomes The Early Clockmakers of Great Britain, NAG Press, 1981, p.188

Born here
Jacqueline Mico   
Added: 14 Jan 2024 07:29 GMT   

Robert Bolam
This is where my grandad was born, he went on to be a beautiful man, he became a shop owner, a father, and grandfather, he lost a leg when he was a milkman and the horse kicked him, then opened a shop in New Cross and then moved to Lewisham where he had a Newsagents and tobacconists.

Tom Hughes   
Added: 5 Jan 2024 14:11 GMT   

4 Edwardes Terrace
In 1871, Mrs. Blake, widow of Gen. Blake, died in her home at 4 Edwardes Terrace, leaving a fortune of 140,000 pounds, something like 20 million quid today. She left no will. The exact fortune may have been exaggerated but for years claimants sought their share of the "Blake millions" which eventually went to "the Crown."



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.

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Poplar (1910)
TUM image id: 1556886600
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
Licence: CC BY 2.0

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