London 1980 (8)

Continuing the series of post about the black and white pictures I made in 1980, with the pictures and the comments I posted more recently daily on Facebook.

Pedley St, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-51 wall, sign, graffitti

The sign for the Car-Breakers was on the steps on the south side of the footbridge from Cheshire St to Pedley St (or rather to Fleet St Hill at the end of Pedley St.)

What attracted my attention was clearly the word ‘ENGLISH’ painted on the wall, though I’m not sure why I cropped out all of the word below – you can I think make out the tops of the letters ‘OUT’.

Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-61: children, shop

Childrens Corner, which may have once sold sweets but was no longer in business, was just off Brick Lane to the west, I think at 24 Bacon St.

Obviously I took the picture for the two Bangladeshi children who were walking past it, viewing me quizzically as I photographed them. The shopfront also has a crudely drawn swastika and the National Front initials, and was not far from where they would sell their papers at the weekend. The chalking at right for fireworks with prices was probably for a street stall on market day rather than the shop.

Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-62: children, shop

After I took the first picture, the young boy came back and posed in the former shop doorway for me to take his picture. The NF graffiti is more obvious in this picture.

J U Fashions, Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-63: shop, fashion, derelict,

I think this shop was at 129 Brick Lane, not least as few other streets in the area aspire to a number as high as that, though 129 is now a part of a larger shop. The street numbering may of course have changed since 1980, but I think more likely the shopfronts have been rebuilt.

J U Fashions, ‘ of good quality leather garments – ladies – gents – wholesale – retail’ was I think one of the many Jewish businesses in the area in earlier years, and it claimed in a notice falling off the window of the left hand door “OUR PRICES …UNBEATABLE … E YOURSELF IN ONE”.

Brick Lane area, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-64: derelict buildings,

This could be almost anywhere in the Brick Lane area where there were plenty of derelict buildings, but I think is most likely to have been on Buxton St.

Pedley St, Spitalfields, Tower Hamlets. 1980
24l-66: street, flats

Weaver House on Pedley St was built by the Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green in 1929 with 16 flats. The road here used to be called Weaver Street, and the name reflected the area’s weaving industry which began with the Huguenots. It was part of the council’s third estate; the second built while the council was under joint Communist/Socialist control was named the ‘Lenin Estate’ but by 1929 the council was Liberal-Progressive and renamed that Cambridge Heath.

Weaver House was a part of the Hare Marsh council estate. Hare Marsh was the old name for large land estate south of Bacon St, once called Hare St and east of Brick Lane, most of which was covered by buildings in the 17th and 18th century. There there is still a short dead end street called Hare Marsh leading south from Cheshire St opposite the William Davis Primary School, which though outside the old Hare Marsh estate may have led there before the railway got in the way.

The wall at the end of this road is now longer there, and the road continues. ‘Try Living Here’ seemed an apt comment (I’m not sure if the Jones was a part of this) and at right I think it said ‘Our Kids Need Space’. Clearly this was Arsenal territory though close to the centre are clearly painted the stumps for a kids game of cricket.

River Thames and Surrey bank from Tower Bridge, Southwark. 1980
24m-14: river, tug, barge, warehouse, wharf

Several things now strike me about this picture from Tower Bridge. Firstly the lighters are carrying real goods and not rubbish – about the only thing that gets towed along this part of the Thames now – and secondly the different look of the riverside then.

When Butler’s Wharf, a large area of Victorian warehouses dating largely from 1871-3 closed for business in 1971, much of it was bought up cheaply by property speculators, but little if any development had started by 1980. Some of the buildings were in use as artists’ studios, but after a disastrous fire in 1979 they were given notice to quit, and I think most of the buildings were empty when I took this picture.

Rather surprisingly these buildings appear not to have been listed until 1982 – and even now industrial buildings such as these seem often to be neglected by English Heritage.

Around 1984, Conran Roche began the redevelopment of Butlers Wharf into luxury flats, with restaurants and shops on the ground floor, though it was some years before the project was complete.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

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