Posts Tagged ‘Thistle House’

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.


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