Posts Tagged ‘gas holder’

Bromley-by-Bow – July 1988

Thursday, February 17th, 2022

Bromley-by-Bow – July 1988. My previous post on my walk on Sunday 31st July 1988 ended at Watts Grove off Devons Road, and I spent some time exploring the area around here and in Bow Common and Bow.

All Hallows, Church, Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-45-positive_2400
All Hallows, Church, Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-45

The church of All Hallows on Devons Road was funded by the Clothworkers’ Company who got the money from the site of All Hallows Staining, demolished except for its tower in 1873. That tower, now Grade I listed, is still there just off Mark Lane, next to St Olave’s Church Hall. They paid for a church by architect Ewan Christian, completed in 1874. Unfortunately this was badly damaged by bombing, and only its core remained in the new church on the site by A P Robinson completed in 1955 in an ‘Early Christian’ style. The church has its address on Blackthorn St and is not yet listed.

Shops,  Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-46-positive_2400
Shops, Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-46

There was still a tyre shop, though no longer J R Tyres, at 119 Devons Road in 2021, though I think this end of the row of shops is currently being rebuilt. Some years since I made this picture this shop had previously been rebuilt, its ground and upper floor losing their late Victorian frontage.

The Widow's Son, The Bun House, pub, Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-32-positive_2400
The Widow’s Son, The Bun House, pub, Devons Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-32

The Widow’s Son has the distinction of being the only listed building in the South Bromley Ward of Tower Hamlets, though I suspect its Grade II* listing reflects the legend associated with it – of the widow’s son who joined the Navy to fight Napoleon and wrote telling his mother he would be home for Easter and told her to cook a hot cross bun and have it waiting for him. He never came, but every year on Good Friday she baked a fresh bun for him, and a large collection was found hanging in a net from the ceiling beams of her cottage after her death.

The Widow’s Son, commonly known as the Bun House, was built on the site of her cottage, and the net containing the buns, was hung above the bar, with a sailor from the Navy adding another each year on Good Friday. From some time in the 1990s the buns were baked and supplied by Mr Bunn’s Bakery, a family-run business a few miles away in Chadwell Heath.

The pub was built around 1848, and its single bar largely retains its fittings from around the 1870s. It closed and was put up for sale in 2016, but was reopened in time for Bun Day in 2017 and was refurbished with new kitchens in 2019 and is more a pub/restaurant. I think it reopened after a further temporary closure due to Covid, but haven’t been able to check personally.

Joe's Auto Spares,  Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-34-positive_2400
Joe’s Auto Spares, Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-34

Joe’s Auto Spares were in a railway arch immediately west of the Cantrell Road Bridge, where there are still businesses in the arches, though many are now being priced out as railway arches – such as those in the centre of Brixton – are redeveloped and re-let at much higher rents.

Railway, bridge, gasholder, Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-35-positive_2400
Railway, bridge & gasholder, Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-35

I walked into the southern end of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park to take a wider view showing the railway bridge and Joe’s Auto Spares, with one of the two remaining gasholders of Bow Common Gasworks behind. The gasholders, long redundant, were only demolished a few years ago and the site is now a development of around 1450 homes, a new sixth form centre, some commercial uses and a new area of open space.

Car spares, Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-36-positive_2400
Car spares, Cantrell Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-36-positive_2400

I couldn’t resist taking another picture of the scrapyard beside the railway which has featured in a previous post. The site is now a part of the Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

Demolition, Rounton Rd, Bromley, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-21-positive_2400
Demolition, Rounton Rd, Bromley, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-21

Walking back towards the east I came to Rounton Road, where a row of late Victorian houses was being demolished. I think the tower block just visible in the background is probably Gayton House just off of Knapp Rd. The whole area around Rounton Road has been redeveloped.

Lozinski Ltd, Rounton Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 198888-7s-22-positive_2400
Lozinski Ltd, Rounton Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 198888-7s-22

Lozinki Ltd, an engineering company helpfully give their address as Rounton Ropad, Bow, and their site is now Miami Car Wash. Through the railway brdige you can see Navenby Walk. The tree is also still there.

H Barnett & Co, Rounton Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-23-positive_2400
H Barnett & Co, Rounton Rd, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7s-23

The railway bridge, as well as the brick building are still there but the writing on the wall for H Barnett & Co, as well as the Vehicle Spares sign have gone and the wall and street sign both replaced. The building, obviously much altered by the brickwork, is a sub-station for the railway with a bridge carrying cables across to the tracks at its rear.

I still had a lot of wandering to do – so there will be further posts from my walk around Bow.


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North Kensington

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-54-positive_2400
Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

There were several reasons I used to like going to this area of North Kensington to make photographs, one of which was that when people asked me where I had been I could tell them I’d been to the North Pole, which was just down past the end of Barlby Rd on North Pole Rd. Sadly the North Pole was bought by a property company in 2012 who turned the upper floors into flats and soon closed the pub which became a Tesco Express around 2015.

Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-53-positive_2400
Pall Mall Deposit, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

The Pall Mall Deposit and Forwarding Co became a limited company in 1899, with premises just off Regent St, and built this large storage facility to the design of W G Hunt in 1911 (the often given date of 1901 is most probably a much-quoted typo.) Furniture storage was quite big business at the time as a large proportion of the more affluent lived in rented houses, often moving frequently. The building extends some way back from Barlby Road and has been a rather trendy centre for offices, studios etc, selling itself as close to Portobello Road.

Ladbroke Hall, Clement-Talbot Motor Works, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-52-positive_2400
Ladbroke Hall, Clement-Talbot Motor Works, Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Barlby Road was also the location of the first purpose built English car factory, the Clement-Talbot Motor Works built from 1903-11, architect William T Walker. According to Cherry and Pevsner (London 3 : North West) this reinforced concrete building used the Hennebique system, but for the office building fronting the road this was well-disguised by “a festive Wrennaisance front”.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-46-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

North of the Great Western mainline, which bisects the area, is its greatest architectural gem, Kensal House, built in 1936 by Maxwell Fry leading a small group of like-minded architects. Even in the rather run-down state I photographed it, the ensemble is impressive. It’s and impressive modernist building and rather more functional than some, and the low cost flats included what were for the time some very up-to-date features.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-45-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

The site was developed by the Gas Light & Coke Company who owned the site and the adjoining gas works to provide housing for their employees – 54 three-bedroom and 14 two-bed flats- and virtually everything – down to the irons – was gas powered. Of course gas lighting was still very common – and in my youth there were still many older people who preferred its more gentle light. But as built there was no electricity in these gas company flats.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-42-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

As well as two large blocks of flats the site also contained a nursery, with a curved frontage that ran around the former site of a gas holder. One of those who worked with Fry on the designs was social reformer Elizabeth Denby who had also worked with him at the Peckham Health Centre.

Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea 88-1f-34-positive_2400
Kensal House, Ladbroke Grove, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea

The gas works have gone, with Sainsbury’s and Argos in their place, but the railway remains. Some of these flats must have been great places for train spotters, but the Kings and Castles thundering past might have upset the sleep in those days of single glazing and poor sound insulation. And gas works did produce some fairly noxious odours and pollution, though if they provided your living that probably seemed less of a problem.

Kensal Green Basin, Grand Union Canal, Paddington Branch, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-35-positive_2400
Kensal Green Basin, Grand Union Canal, Paddington Branch, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

You can still see Kensal Green Basin when you go to get your shopping at Sainsbury’s on Canal Way, though it is largely well hidden behing bushes around the car park and seems an missed opportunity – as do many of the planning decisions in this area. A large and ugly canalside building now straddles its entrance from the canal. Further along Canal Way there are still a couple of gas holders at the west end of the gas works site.

Exmoor St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-26-positive_2400
Exmoor St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Late Victorian Housing on Exmoor St with some nice detailing and later railings.

Hewer St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-25-positive_2400
Hewer St,North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

At left is the Grade II listed St Charles’ Hospital in Exmoor St, built in 1881 as the St Marylebone Union Infirmary. Surprisingly it is still in medical use, providing mental health services and as a community health centre. Part of the building are rather more attractive than this view suggests. John Nodes and Sons Ltd provided a very handily based funeral service.

Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988 88-1f-22-positive_2400
Barlby Rd, North Kensington, Kensington & Chelsea, 1988

Finally back to Barlby Rd, and a terrace of houses still present close to Ladbroke Grove. On the left you can still see one of the gas holders of the Kensington Gas Works, and to the right of the block the Great Western Mainline and one of the blocks of Kensal House.

As usual there are a few more pictures from my walks around the area in 1988 in the album, and clicking on any of the pictures here should take you to a larger version in the album from which you can move through it to see all those I have put online.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.