Posts Tagged ‘East Cross Route’

Car Spares And Fly Tipping In Hackney Wick

Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

The final few hundred yards of my walk in Hackney on a Sunday in October 1988 took me to Hackney Wick station and I made a few views using the height of the footbridge across the East Cross Route and also from Hackney Wick station where the railway line runs on a viaduct. The previous section of this walk is Homerton to Hackney Wick.

Footbridge, Hackney Wick, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-56-Edit_2400
Footbridge, Hackney Wick, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-56

Looking roughly north you can see the tower blocks of the Trowbridge Estate. Some had already been demolished by 1988 – the programme had been started in 1985 and was completed by 1996.

Car Spares, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-42-Edit_2400
Car Spares, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-42

Coming down the footbridge I got a better view of the large car spares yard on Rothbury Road, past which you can see the embankment carrying the North London Line. At right is the top of a cafe and towering above the railway the remaining towers of Hackney Wick’s Trowbridge Estate. Perhaps given its history my my confusion with Trowbridge and the accident-prone frigate HMS Troutbridge in BBC radio’s long running series with Lesley Phillips, Jon Pertwee, Ronny Barker and others, The Navy Lark was understandable.

Car Spares, Rothbury Rd, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1992, 92-8d-41
Car Spares, Rothbury Rd, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1992, 92-8d-41

I didn’t photograph the front of the car spares site on Rothbury Road on this occasion – it had been a long walk and I was tired and just wanted to get to the station in time for a train towards home. So here are a couple of pictures from around four years later, when little had changed.

Fence, Car spares, Rothbury Rd, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1992 TQ3684-009
Fence, Car spares, Rothbury Rd, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1992 TQ3684-009

And one in colour.

Fly tipping, Rothbury Rd, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-31-Edit_2400
Fly tipping, Rothbury Rd, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-31

The area at the Hackney Wick end of the footbridge was a favourite with fly-tippers, sometimes making it hard to use the bridge.

Wallis Rd, White Posts Lane, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-34-Edit_2400
Wallis Rd, White Posts Lane, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-34

The whole right hand side of White Posts Lane at the right of this picture was redeveloped in 2018-9, but the low section of wall from earlier demolition in my picture was still there after that though now – like much of Hackney Wick, highly decorated with graffiti. A considerable amount of graffiti in the Wick was removed in tidying up the area for the 2012 Olympics but was soon re-stablished. Wallis Road at left led me to the station.

Hackney Wick, Hackney Wick Station, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-36-Edit_2400
Hackney Wick, Hackney Wick Station, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-36

From the footbridge at Hackney Wick station there were views over the surrounding area. The station has been rebuilt since I made this picture, and now has an entrance on the south side of the line.

This was the end of my rather long walk in the London Borough of Hackney in October 1988 which had begun at the southern end of Stoke Newington in the post South Stokey & Hornsey Detached.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Homerton to Hackney Wick

Monday, May 9th, 2022

Homerton to Hackney Wick – This walk I made in October 1988 continues from where my previous post Morning Lane, Paint, Handbags and Printers ended.

Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-01-Edit_2400
Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-01

Immediately east of Mackintosh Lane on the south side of Homerton High St at No 178-84 was an unusual arched brick wall, which attracted my attention. Thistle House at 178-82 was a hostel with 33 rooms in multiple occupation. Part of the wall shown in this picture has now been demolished to allow storage of large rubbish bins. The wall goes in front of two distinct houses, both of which have one circular window – but in the joined house it is above the second floor window.

Barnabas Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-63-Edit_2400
Barnabas Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-63


Barnabas Rd runs south from Homerton High Street past Homerton Station. In 1988 the premises of printers Alan Moor & Co at No 24 was up for auction. It is still there and remains a handsome villa – my photograph doesn’t really do it justice. I suspect it dates from around 1860 when Barnabas Road was called Church Road, (it was renamed in 1936) but can find no details. The rather ugly porch has I think been extended since 1988.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary & St Dominic, RC, Church, Kenworthy Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-64-Edit_2400
The Immaculate Heart of Mary & St Dominic, RC, Church, Kenworthy Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-64

Originally called the The Church of the Immaculate Heart and St. Dominic it was designed by C A Buckler and built on what was until 1939 Sidney Rd two years after a mission was founded here in 1873. The church, completed in 1883, was badly damaged by bombing and fire in 1941 and was rebuilt in 1955-57. My picture shows it with shops on the corner of Wick Rd, where there is still an Indian takeaway.

Hackney Hospital, Homerton High St, Kenworthy Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-65-Edit_2400
Hackney Hospital, Homerton High St, Kenworthy Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-65

I went up Kenworthy Road back to Homerton High St, stopping on the corner of Ward Lane to make this picture of the East Wing of Hackney hospital, which I think is Pavilion B, built in 1880-82, designed by William Finch, a typical design for the time with long airy ‘Nightingale Wards’ and towers at the corner containing sanitary facilities. (I stayed on a similar ward in a south London hospital in 2003 just before it was demolished – and collapsed in the disconnected sanitary area after an operation, fortunately in reach of the red emergency cord which I came around sufficiently to pull and bring medical staff running to my aid.) Although Hackney Hospital closed in 1995, parts are still in use for mental health services and a notice calls this the John Howard Centre, which provides low and medium secure mental health services for North East London.

Shops, Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-66-Edit_2400
Shops, Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-66

These buildings are still there at 201-205 Homerton High Street, though in different hands. Back in 1988 a Bookmakers next to a Turf Accountant (a rather upmarket term for the same thing) seemed excessive, while F A MURRELLS business was completely hidden by shutters. It seemed to be some kind of miniature business, the whold width of the property perhaps around 7 ft with a tiny door only suitable for a slim child in the shutters. Whatever was going on inside – or rather had once gone on inside – obviously involved something of some value, worth protecting with an AFA Burglar Alarm, perhaps a jewellers or pawnbrokers? But this tiny shop had obviously been fairly recently sold – and now appears to be a residential property.

The Adam & Eve, pub, Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-51-Edit_2400
The Adam & Eve, pub, Homerton High St, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-10d-51

There has been an Adam & Eve tavern in Homerton High Street since at least 1735, but its fine frontage is dated from 1915 and was recently restored. Its cream terracotta front includes a large relief showing very chastely the couple before the fall but underneath an apple tree. In 1988 it was a Taylor Walker pub (though Taylor Walker had been taken over and closed in 1960), now it is described as a gastro-pub, with fresh food from the farm daily and offering “CURING – MICROBREWERY – ALLOTMENT”. The Taylor Walker pub sign was rather better and had above the field gun that came from the Clerkenwell Cannon brewery they took over in 1929.

East Cross Route, Hackney Wick, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-55-Edit_2400
East Cross Route, Hackney Wick, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-55

The East Cross Route was a part of the disastrous Ringways plan for concentric motorway rings around London. This was one of two major parts of the of the innermost Ringway 1 which actually got built between 1967 and 1973. The cost and environmental devastation caused by the building of the Westway in North Kensington led to a huge backlash which led to the cancellation of the remaining parts of the scheme.

The East Cross Route was less controversial, partly because it was in East London and most politicians and others didn’t much care about what happened there, but also because it largely replaced an existing rail line which had long separated the communities on each side. For much of its length there was in any case little between the road and the natural boundary of the River Lea and the Lea Navigation.

There were relatively few roads which ran across the area, and the links across the new road were maintained with both Wick Lane and Wick Road still leading to Hackney Wick. Olf Ford Road no longer led to Old Ford, except by a footbridge, but for vehicles the detour was relatively short. The bridge I was on when I made this picture carries a footpath across Victoria Park from Cadogan Terrace to Rothbury Road in Hackney Wick. The Trowbridge Estate built in 1965-9 had 7 rather striking 21-storey tower blocks. Demolition of these had begun with Northaird Poiont in 1985 and all had gone by 1996.

The final post in this series, appearing shortly, will include my pictures from Hackney Wick where my walk ended.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


Matches, Care Spares, Flats and the Roman

Friday, March 18th, 2022
Fairfield Works, Wick Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-8b-21
Fairfield Works, Wick Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8b-21

This is the east side of the Bryant and May match factory. The main Grade II listed building was built in 1909-10, architects Holman and Goodsham, making this the largest match factory in Britain. But parts of the building are earlier, and Quakers, William Bryant and Francis May who had gone into business making matches in 1843 (at first because of their religious conviction only making safety matches) moved to a former candle factory on Fairfield Road in 1861. Various new buildings were added before the 1910 building. The factory closed in 1979, was listed in 1988 and is now the Bow Quarter, a gated private estate with 19 houses and 714 flats. The building at right of the picture was demolished and replaced by a new block.

But safety matches, which needed a special striking surface containing red phosphorus were not as popular as the strike-anywhere matches (lucifers) made with the more dangerous white phosphorus in the match-heads and the factory soon switched to producing these as well. The relatively few men and the several thousand “matchgirls” working in the plant, mainly of Irish descent, commonly suffered from phosphorus necrosis of the jaw, known as ‘phossy jaw’ cause by white phosphorus vapour. The first symptoms were usually toothaches – and the company insisted that any workers suffering got all their teeth removed or be sacked. This poisoning led to a disabled jaw and eventually to death in around a fifth of cases.

Complete removal of teeth was common in the UK before the beginning of the National Health Service after World War II, as only the wealthy could afford any proper dentistry. Toothache can be agonising and was often treated by tying strong twine around the offending tooth, fixing the other end to a door handle and getting someone to slam the door. Both my parents (born around 1900) were given full extraction of teeth and a replacement ‘Full Set’ of upper and lower teeth as a wedding present in 1932.

The match-girls were not only subject to this horrible occupational disease, but discipline at work was excessively strict, with fines taken from their wages for trivial reasons – lateness, a dirty workbench, talking or having dirty feet – as well as having to pay for their own glue and brushes. The sacking of one of the girls in 1888 provoked the Matchgirls Strike – which they won after two weeks, getting better working conditions and a proper grievance process and ending the fines and other deductions from their wages.

Old Ford Rd, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8b-12-Edit_2400
Old Ford Rd, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8b-12

This scrapyard, for all makes of car spares, open seven days a week was next to the A102 (M) East Cross Route, built between 1967 and 1973 as a part of Ringway 1, most of which was then quickly abandoned after it became clear the complete environmental destruction building it would take. It became the A12 after being transferred to TfL in 2000, as they were not given the powers needed to run motorways.

The massive 1970s slab block flats of Lefevre Walk were replaced in 1993-2006 by the Tower Hamlets Housing Action Trust with a mix of houses and flats with a traditional street layout designed in close consultation with the community.

Old Ford Rd, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8b-16-Edit_2400
Old Ford Rd, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8b-16

A view from the edge of the scrapyard.

Look, Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-63-Edit_2400
Look, Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-63

As well as the Olympus SLR with which I made most of the pictures on my walks and with a second SLR body with colour negative film, I also carried a small Minox 35 camera in my jacket pocket whenever I went out. This was the smallest 35mm camera ever made, only 3.9 x 2.5 x 1.2 inches, just large enough to hold a 35mm cassette at on side and the take-up spool on the opposite side of the film gate. The 35mm f2.8 lens folded back into the camera body when not in use and the camera fitted easily even into a shirt pocket.

I had several models of the camera over the years, and often used it when I wanted to be less conspicuous, carrying the camera in one hand it was almost invisible. It was also virtually silent in operation. At times on my walks when I had packed away the SLRs in my camera bag it was more convenient to take pictures on the Minox, but the 36 exposure film might contain pictures from several walks and other occasions.

It isn’t always easy to fit the pictures into place in my walks but I think from Old Ford Road I spent some time taking pictures – including this and those below – on Roman Road in the centre of Bethnal Green, but they may have been made the previous day.

Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7u-12-positive_2400
Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7u-12

Two women with a push chair on Roman Road talk as they walk along the street. Just visible behind them are two other children with them.

Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7u-13-positive_2400
Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7u-13

Men walk on the opposite side of the stree in front of Shirley’s Antiques – Houses Cleared, with the text from a previous occupier still visible on the first floor frontage.

Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7u-15-positive_2400
Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7u-15

Men walk on the opposite side of the street in front of Shirley’s Antiques – Houses Cleared, with the text from a previous occupier still visible on the first floor frontage.

The next installment on this walk will include more pictures from Roman Road taken as I made my way to Bethnal Green tube and the end of the walk.


You can click on any of the images to see a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos, from where you can browse the album.


FlickrFacebookMy London DiaryHull PhotosLea ValleyParis

London’s Industrial HeritageLondon Photos

All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.