Posts Tagged ‘Old Ford’

Bank, London Bridge, Fish Island, Hackney Wick

Sunday, May 15th, 2022

Bank, Victoria Park, Fish Island, Hackney Wick: In 1988 I was still teaching a full timetable at the sixth-form and community college where I worked, but because I took an evening class on Tuesdays I was able to finish the week’s teaching at noon on Friday. As a union rep I had persuaded my members against national union advice to some deviations from the national conditions that suited the peculiar circumstances of the college and made such arrangements possible.

Most of the pictures I made back in 1988 were either taken during the college holidays – we kept more or less normal school terms – or at weekends, but at noon on some Fridays I would rush down to the caretakers stores where I kept my bike, pedal home furiously, dump the bike, pick up my camera bag and rush to the station for a train to London. Until the clocks went back at the end of October there was then time for a few hours walking and taking pictures – in late October sunset is around 5.45pm. I think the pictures in this post were probably taken on the last occasion that year that my journey was worthwhile.

Doorway, Bank Station, Bank, City, 1988 88-10d-25-Edit_2400
Doorway, Bank Station, Bank, City, 1988 88-10d-25

I didn’t make many pictures on this Friday afternoon – around 16 black and white frames and perhaps two or three in colour, perhaps partly because I broke my journey to make this picture. Rather than taking the train from Richmond to Homerton or Hackney Wick, I went up to Waterloo and took the Waterloo & City line to Bank. I’d some time earlier photographed this doorway at Bank station and had for reasons now unknown to me decided I needed another and different image. Possibly I’d been reminded of it when the earlier picture, a closeup of the three heads, was used on a bookjacket.

It perhaps took me a few minutes at Bank to find the doorway still there on King William Street on the side of the splendid Hawksmoor church of St Mary Woolnuth. Having make the single exposure shown here, I made my way to a bus stop for a No 8 bus to Bethnal Green and then walked up Grove Road to Victoria Park.

Old London Bridge, stone alcove, Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-26-Edit_2400
Old London Bridge, stone alcove, Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10d-26

I’d realised when I got home from my previous walk that I had not photographed the shelters which were stone alcoves from the Old London Bridge. That bridge, built in 1176-1209 had until 1760 been cluttered with houses and shops, leaving only a narrow path across the river. These were cleared in 1760-63, more than doubling the width of the bridge, and seven stone alcoves were installed along each side.

The bridge was demolished in 1831, but these alcoves were sold and two found there way to Victoria Park when it was opened in 1845. Another is in a courtyard at Guy’s Hospital and two ended up on an estate in East Sheen along with some of the balustrade, though only one now remains in the grounds of some 1930s flats at Courtlands, close to the 1st Richmond Scouts HQ.

Percy Dalton, Dace Rd, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1990, 90-9h-46
Percy Dalton, Dace Rd, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1990, 90-9h-46

From Victoria Park I walked across the footbridge over the East Cross Route to Hackney Wick, then turning south and making my way down Wansbeck Road to the Northern Outfall Sewer on Wick Lane. Steps there took me down to Dace Road and along to Old Ford Locks. Unfortunately although I took a few picture on the walk, none are among those I’ve digitised. So here’s one I took in 1990 on Dace Road of Percy Dalton’s peanut factory.

Loading Bay, Lock, Old Ford, Lea navigation, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10e-61-Edit_2400
Loading Bay, Lock, Old Ford, Lea navigation, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10e-61

I walked across the gates at Old Ford Lock and took a few pictures there, including this one of the loading bay at Swan Wharf.

Bridge, White Post Lane, Lea Navigation, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10e-62-Edit_2400
Bridge, White Post Lane, Lea Navigation, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10e-62

The I walked north on the towpath. Now there are two new bridges on this stretch, from Stour Road and Monier Road, but in 1988 the next crossing was at White Post Lane.

Bridge, White Post Lane, Lea Navigation, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10e-65-Edit_2400
Bridge, White Post Lane, Lea Navigation, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-10e-65

At left is the splendid 1913-14 Queen’s Yard works, part of the Clarke, Nickolls & Coombs Ltd “Clarnico” sweet and chocolate factory, formerly the largest employer in the area. Much of their five works were damaged or destroyed by wartime bombing and this building needed some restoration. The company was bought by Trebor in 1969 and the works closed. The white building fronting the canal beyond the bridge was the cocoa bean roasting factory built around 1900.

I walked over the bridge and along to Hackney Wick station for a train to Richmond on my way home.


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Old Ford, Hertford Union & Hackney

Monday, April 11th, 2022

Old Ford, Hertford Union & Hackney

Gunmakers Lane, Hertford Union, canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-33-Edit_2400
Gunmakers Lane, Hertford Union, canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-33

The short street which goes across the canal on Three Colts Bridge probably got its name from the pub, the Gunmakers Arms, which stood opposite it 438 Old Ford Road on the west side of St Stephens Road – and perhaps there were once some guns made nearby. In April 1915 the pub was taken over by the East London Federation of Suffragettes, led by Sylvia Pankhurst, a more militant and working class breakaway from Women’s Social and Political Union who turned it into a day nursery and clinic.

The Connaught Works here on Old Ford Road was a furniture factory and is said to date from the 1920’s though it looks earlier and was extended to the east around 20 years later.

Gunmakers Lane, Hertford Union, canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-8am-34-Edit_2400
Three Colt Bridge, Gunmakers Lane, Hertford Union, canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-34

This early 19th century cast iron bridge presumably dates from the building of the Hertford Union Canal which opened in 1830. It is Grade II* listed Scheduled Ancient Monument. A pub, the Old Three Colts, was close by at 450 Old Ford Rd from 1792 or earlier but was I think demolished a few years after WW2. St Stephens Road used to be called Three Colts Street, possibly because this pub was more or less at its end.

Victoria park Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-8am-35-Edit_2400
Victoria park Rd, Homerton, Hackney, 1988 88-8am-35

The Three Colts Bridge leads to the Gunmakers Gate of Victoria Park, and I walked across the park to Victoria Park Road. This gothic fantasy of a building is now the Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy but was built in 1864-5 by Robert Lewis Roumieu as a French Protestant Hospital by a Huguenot charity, La Providence, who had decided to move out of earlier almshouses and hospital in Finsbury to a larger and more rural site here.

After WWII, La Providence moved to Rochester, selling the building to Roman Catholic nuns, the Faithful Companions of Jesus, and it reopened as the St Victoire Convent Girls’ Grammar School. When I made this picture it had become Cardinal Pole RC School and in 2014 was sold to be an academy school. The building is Grade II* listed.

Terrace Rd, Church Crescent, South Hackney, Hackney, 1988 88-8am-21-Edit_2400
Terrace Rd, Church Crescent, South Hackney, Hackney, 1988 88-8am-21

These Tudor-style group of cottages are thought to have been built in 1847-8 to designs by George Wales who was the architect of Monger’s almshouses further down Church Crescent. The other houses between the two sites are more classical in design but also thought to be by Wales.

They are Grade II listed and still there and look now rather neater, with the middle property of the Tudor three having had its brickwork cleaned and looking considerably brighter. It also appears to lack the variation in colour of the darker brickwork which I find more attractive, though perhaps it looks more like when it was newly built.

Terrace, Cassland Rd, Hackney, 1988 88-8am-25-Edit_2400
Hackney Terrace, Cassland Rd, Hackney, 1988 88-8am-25

This remarkable terrace at 20-54 Cassland Road overlooking Cassland Crescent is Grade II listed and was built from 1794 using funding from subscribers who made monthly payments over a period of four years, with the houses being allotted by ballot to a subscriber as each was built. All 18 were completed and occupied by 1801. This kind of co-operative funding of a development predates the earliest more conventional building societies.

James Taylor, gallery, Collent St, Hackney, 1988 88-8am-26-Edit_2400
James Taylor, gallery, Collent St, Hackney, 1988 88-8am-26

The James Taylor warehouse was built in 1893 in Collent Road, which was described by the James Taylor gallery as “Formerly a Victorian factory, china warehouse, squat and film location.” Around ten years ago it was transformed with the facade and front building on the site being retained, along with a long wall along the north almost to Cresset Road as a part of a complex redevelopment with up to 10 storeys containing 69 flats, office space and an underground car park.

I made a few more exposures around Well St and I think my walk probably ended on neaby Mare Street, where I photographed the Crown pub (not online) and then probably caught a train from Hackney Central.


Clicking on any of the pictures will take you to a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos, from where you can browse other images in the album.


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Old Ford, Middlesex Filter Beds & Hertford Union

Sunday, April 10th, 2022

After my stay in Paris in August 1988 I was back in London and managed to fit in one more walk before the end of the month, starting from where I had finished one of my previous walks in Bethnal Green.

Old Ford Rd, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-66-Edit_2400
Old Ford Rd, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-66

Old Ford Road runs parallel to Roman Road but a couple of hundred yards to the north, and almost certainly follows the real Roman route to the east out of London, fording the River Lea somewhere close to where the Northern Outfall Sewer (The Greenway) now crosses. The river here is a part of the Lea Navigation and now very much more constrained between banks than it once was, though then it will still have been tidal here.

There was a route here even before the Romans, leading along the way of modern Oxford St and Old Street to Bethnal Green and Old Ford and then continuing through what were then marshes to Wanstead Slip north of Stratford and on the Colchester.

There are long stretches of Victorian houses as well as modern flats along Old Ford Road, but the house at the left of this picture is No 218, and is a terrace beginning with 196 and ending at 224 a little to the west of the bridge over the Regent’s Canal and immediately north of the Cranbrook estate.

Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-52-Edit_2400
Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-52

I wasn’t sure what to make of this establishment on Roman Road, which seemed to be both a Patisserie and Bar, offering Light Lunches & Coffee, as well as catering for all functions, with rather curious window decoration and an odd bit of statuary in its entrance.

Middlesex FIlter Beds, Lea Bridge, Waltham Forest, 1988 88-8am-42-Edit_2400
Middlesex Filter Beds, Lea Bridge, Waltham Forest, 1988 88-8am-42

I did a lot more walking without taking many photographs, going south down Usher Road and then going east to cross the East Cross Route on Wick Lane before joining the towpath on the opposite bank of the Lea Navigation to get to the Middlesex Filter Beds at the north corner of the Hackney Marshes – something over 2 miles before I took the next black and white pictures in what had been turned into a nature reserve.

The filter beds were built in the early nineteenth century to combat cholera in London by providing clean drinking water which was still killing thousands but were unable to cope with the increasing population and were finally closed in 1969, left to become a nature reserve. I think they may have recently been made open to the public when I made this short visit. Going back more recently they seem to have been made a little less overgrown than they had become over the 19 years since they were abandoned. This image seems to me the more interesting of the five frames that I took – film was still expensive.

Lea Navigation, Eastway,  Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1988 88-8am-45-Edit_2400
Lea Navigation, Eastway, Hackney Wick, Hackney, 1988 88-8am-45

Walking back south along the towpath I made three exposures of this derelict building with its broken windows and the reflection in the canal by the Eastway Bridge. I probably took few pictures on this part of the walk as I had photographed fairly extensively along the Lea a few years earlier – some pictures you can see in the book ‘Before the Olympics‘ which has images from the source to the Thames.

Hertford Union, canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-46-Edit_2400
Hertford Union, canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-26

At Hackney Wick I crossed the bridge and took the towpath beside the Herrtford Union Canal, a short section joining the Lea Navigation to the Regent’s Canal. Then there were still a number of canal wharves, mainly for timber, though it was a few years since commercial traffic here had ended.

Hertford Union, canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-8am-32-Edit_2400
Hertford Union, canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-32

Another view of the same wharf, and one of the lorries which now served them rather than canal boats. The Challenge, owned by the Docklands Canal Boat Trust, a registered charity formed in 1985 that provides boating holidays and day trips for people with disabilities, is a specially built boat for the purpose – and it was a challenge to get the money to build it. Still in operation it is now based on the Lea at Clapton.

Hertford Union, canal, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-8am-31-Edit_2400

Hertford Union, canal, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8am-31

There was still plenty of timber along this stretch of the canal.

More from the end of this walk in a later post. You can see a larger version of any of these pictures by clicking on them which will take you to my album 1988 London Photos.


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More Around the Roman

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022
Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-64-Edit_2400
Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-64

It’s doubtful if the Romans ever marched or walked along Roman Road, although some Roman remains have been found in the area. But most will have gone along Old Ford Rd which runs parallel a short distance to the north, it’s ford taking them across the River Lea from Londinium to the Iceni capital Venta Icenorum around 5 miles south of modern Norwich.

Most of Roman Road was only built when the sewer system was extended by the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1855 to allow further development in the area around, extending what was then Green St to the east, beyond Grove Road into Old Ford to an end a little short of the Lea. The western section from the Cambridge Bridge Road was only renamed to be part of Roman Road when London street names were rationalised in the 1930s – there were far too many Green Streets. It makes consulting old sources of information about shops and houses on the road difficult as all the street numbers then changed. The market in Roman Road was set up in the late 1860s.

Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-65-Edit_2400
Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-65

The whole area was a stronghold for the suffragettes, particularly after the formation of the East London Federation of the Women’s Social and Political Union by Dr Richard Pankhurst and his wife Emmeline Pankhurst, founder members of the Independent Labour Party in the same year, 1893. This was unusual in welcoming men as members and also having a democratic organisation. Their daughter Sylvia Pankhurst and the East London Federation were expelled from the WSPU in 2014 and set up the East London Federation of Suffragettes (ELFS) and set up a newspaper, The Woman’s Dreadnought, published from Roman Road. In 1917 its title was changed to Workers’ Dreadnought, with the slogan ‘Socialism, Internationalism, Votes for All’ and it continued in publication until 1924.

The East End was a very political area, but not only for its suffragettes and socialists and in the 1930s became of the the areas of strongest support for Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists. Their support came mainly from the middle classes in the area, shopkeepers and other traders and business owners rather than the working class, but it was strong enough for the area to have two BUF branches until it was proscribed under Defence Regulation 18B of the Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939.

Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-66-Edit_2400
Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-66

Bethnal Green was badly affected by bombing in World War II and the Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green carried out extensive building of council housing in the 1950s and 60s, with some outstanding architecture close to Roman Road. In 1965 Bethnal Green merged with Stepney and Poplar to become the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The area has in more recent years become considerably gentrified, a process which was beginning to be clear when I took these pictures in 1988.

Star Auto Electrics, Tredegar Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-52-Edit_2400
Star Auto Electrics, Tredegar Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-52

South of Roman Road and roughly parallel to it is Tredegar Road, built up in the 1850s and 60s. Star Auto Electrics fortunately informs us it was at 123A Tredegar Rd. This is now the site of a large block of flats.

Star Auto Electrics, Tredegar Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-54-Edit_2400
Star Auto Electrics, Tredegar Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-54
Tredegar Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-56-Edit_2400
Tredegar Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-56

This neat late nineteenth century terrace is still there on Tredegar Rd. The street – like the rather better known (and roughly four times as expensive) Tredegar Square close by south of the railway line gets its name from Lord Tredegar, Sir Charles Morgan (1760-1846) who made a large fortune promoting agriculture in south Wales and in 1824 was granted a private act of parliament by King George IV to develop a large area of Mile End and Bow. Although several of the streets are named after places in Wales, they have not inherited a Welsh pronunciation.

Tredegar Rd, Coburn Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-41-Edit_2400
Tredegar Rd, Coburn Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-41

This picture was made at the junction of Tredegar Road at its west end with Coborn Road, though nothing in the picture remains. A few yards away around the corner in Coborn Road there are some older buildings and the site of the former railway station, opened as Old Ford in 1865, later renamed as Coborn Road and then Coborn Road for Old Ford which was permanently closed and largely demolished in 1946.

Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-45-Edit_2400
Roman Rd, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-8c-45

My walk ended on Roman Road, where I joined a queue at a bus stop waiting for the bus to take me back into the City and from there by Underground and British Rail back home.


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


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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.


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


Fish Island, Hertford Union & Old Ford

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

Roach Road, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1990  90-9h24_2400
Roach Rd, 1990

The Hertford Union Canal is a short canal which links the Lea Navigation at Hackney Wick to the Grand Union Canal in Bethnal Green, and so to the canal system across England and Wales. Just across the canal at the south of Hackney Wick was a largely industrial area with several street names – Dace Rd, Roach Rd, Bream St – gave it the name ‘Fish Island’. Always somewhat isolated with canals on two sides of a triangle, it became even more so with the building of the A12 East Cross Route effectively severing it on the third side. A new footbridge across the Hertford Union now makes it more accessible from Hackney Wick.

Hertford Union Canal, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36n-31_2400
Hertford Union, Fish Island, 1983

There were several timber yards along the Hertford Union, some still at work in the 1980s, although no longer served by the canal.

Hertford Union Canal, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36n-32_2400
Herford Union, 1983

There were still a few barges moored at some wharves in 1983.

Hertford Union Canal, Hackney Wick, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36n-34_2400
Hertford Union , 1983

Though most of the wharves – like this one with a roof extending over the canal – were empty. There were no boats moving on the canal when I walked beside it, and little wind to disturb the reflections.

Isle of Dogs Youth, Hertford Union Canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1983t 36n-24_2400
Hertford Union , 1983

I’d seen the boat belonging to the Isle of Dogs Youth project moving on the Lea Navigation, but here it was moored, I think outside about the only former industrial building along the whole length of the canal which has not been replaced by flats, the Chisendale works, built in 1942-3 by Maurice Cohen as a factory, CHN Veneers, to glue together layers of wood to make parts for fighters and bombers, including Spitfire propellors. The factory closed in 1972 and was bought by Tower Hamlets Council and left empty. In 1980 they leased it to artists who had been evicted from Butlers Wharf close to Tower Bridge. It took them two years of work to clear the building and make it useable with two dance studios, 40 artists workshops and a public gallery as Chisenhale Art Place.

Hertford Union Canal, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1983t 36n-22_2400
Hertford Union, 1983
A F Suter & Co, Swan Wharf, Dace Road, Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, 1990  90-9h35_2400
Dace Rd, 1990

A F Suter & Co’s building at Swan Wharf is in Dace Road at the south east of Fish Island, close to Old Ford Lock on the Lea Navigation.

Mural, Wick Lane, Bow, Tower Hamlets, 1983 36o-31_2400
Mural, Wick Lane, 1983

Wick Lane is one of two roads which lead out from Fish Island, both along its west edge, with Wansbeck Rd leading north to Hackney Wick and Wick Lane taking you across the East Cross Route to Bow. Pedestrians can also leave by crossing the Lea Navigation at Old Ford Lock or on the Northern Outfall Sewer (aka Greenway) or a footbridge across the East Cross Route to Old Ford.

All these pictures are in my Flickr album River Lea – Lea Navigation 1981-1992. You can also find them with other later pictures of the area on my web site: River Lea/Lee Valley.


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.


Page 3

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

I hope it will not disappoint anyone that this is only a post about the third page of my pictures from 1986 on Flickr! Though rather more than usual for me at that time do include people, I think all of them are fully dressed.

All of the pictures on this page are from the East End – Bethnal Green, Stepney, Globe Town, Mile End, Whitechapel, Old Ford, and I think a few in Hackney, though when walking the streets it isn’t always clear which area or even which borough you are in, though the street signs often tell you this. Nearly all of these pictures were taken in Tower Hamlets in June 1986.

104 Mile End Rd, Stepney, Tower Hamlets 104 Mile End Rd, Stepney, Tower Hamlets86-6b-52_2400

I stopped to talk to this man fairly early on a Sunday morning, when he was sitting quite happily on the steps of a house, which I think was empty and derelict, though it did have an empty milk bottle on it, as well as his larger bottle of what I think was cider. He had taken his shoes off and it was a pleasantly warm morning and we had a short chat before I asked if he minded if I took his picture. I think he was actually quite pleased to be photographed, and I was pleased to take his picture, though I would have photographed the house without him.

Sima Tandoori, Mile End Rd, Stepney, Tower Hamlets 86-6b-34_2400

I was photographing this shopfront too when these two young men came out from inside to be in the picture too – and they do improve it, adding a little asymmetry. I think I may have gone back a few weeks later and posted a copy of the picture through the door, as I often did when I’d photographed people, but I’m not sure. If not, perhaps they will see it now on Flickr.

Globe International Autos, Cephas St, Globe Town, Tower Hamlets 86-6e-63_2400

Another business I photographed on several occasions was ‘Globe International Autos!’, whose frontage had some extensive painting, and again I was asked to take their picture by two men working there. There are four pictures of the business on this page, two at times when it was closed.

Print workers march to Wapping, Mile End Rd, Stepney, Tower Hamlets 86-6b-63_2400

Back in the 1980s I wasn’t photographing protests, or at least only those which I was taking part in against racism, South African apartheid and nuclear weapons. I didn’t go to Wapping to photograph the year long “Wapping dispute” by print workers after Murdoch moved printing from Fleet St to a new factory there, ending ‘hot-metal’ printing and replacing it by new computer-based offset litho. Murdoch sacked around 6000 printers after the union refused to accept redundancy for 90% of the workers with flexible working, a no-strike clause, the adoption of new technology and the end of the closed shop.

Although Murdoch had been both devious and brutal, I’d known some in the print and something of the “Spanish Practices” that were apparently widespread in Fleet St. While as a trade unionist (and at the time a trade union rep) I supported the workers who had been extremely badly treated it was clear that change was inevitable.

Bishops Way, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets 86-6g-66_2400

A rather more upbeat picture was I think of workers enjoying a lunch-break kick-about in an alley just off the Cambridge Heath Road in Bethnal Green.

"Woman and Fish", Frank Dobson, Cambridge Heath Road, Globe Town, Tower Hamlets 86-6e-43_2400

And the closest I came to a ‘Page 3’ picture were a couple of images of Frank Dobson’s “Woman and Fish” on the Cambridge Heath Road in Globe Town. The sculpture had been placed in Frank Dobson Square at the junction with Cephas St on the edge of the Cleveland Estate. Dobson (1886 – 1963) was born and worked extensively in London and the square to commemorate him was made by the London County Council the year he died, with the sculpture at its centre, one of several versions he made in 1951 (another rather uglier one is in Delapre Gardens, Northampton.)

Originally it was a fountain, with water emerging from the moth of the fish, but it was vandalised in 1977 and restored without water. It was restored again after various further vandalisations in 1979 and 1983 and had to be removed completely when restoration was impossible in 2002. A bronze replica by Antonio Lopez Reche in 2006 is now in Millwall Park, Isle of Dogs.

Unfortunately much of Dobson’s work remaining in his studio at the time of his death was destroyed by his widow because of its erotic content, but one of his finest works, London Pride is outside the National Theatre in London.