Posts Tagged ‘war memorial’

Poplar To Limehouse 1988

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

Poplar To Limehouse 1988 – my walk continued on the East India Dock Road.

East India Dock Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-51-positive_2400
East India Dock Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-51

From the posters in the window this was clearly a video rental store, a relatively new thing back in 1988 – the first Blockbuster Video store only opened in Dallas, Texas in 1985. Home video recording only began to be popular after the introduction of Betamax in 1975, followed in 1977 by VHS (along with other formats.) By 1988 VHS had become the dominant format.

But my attention was caught by the notice on the door, ‘NO DOGS OR BIKES ALLOWED’ with a very small ‘Thankyou’ and the two bikes (I think a BMX and a racer) flung down on the pavement outside unlocked by their two young owners.

Poplar Labour Party, East India Dock Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-53-positive_2400
Poplar Labour Party, East India Dock Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-53

Poplar Labour Party, led by George Lansbury, gained control of Poplar Borough Council in 1919. Poplar was one of the poorest areas of the country and so rateable values there were low. With councils then being responsible for supporting the unemployed and poor, council rates thus had to be set at a much higher level than in wealthy boroughs, which was clearly unfair on boroughs like Poplar who had so many more people needing support. Their rates were the highest in London, twice as high as in the wealthy borough of Kensington.

Poplar Labour had come into office to make changes, to provide greater support for the poor, to set a higher minimum wage for council workers and to pay women equally to men. When a demand from government came in 1921 to increase contributions for cross-London authorities Poplar council refused to pay, instead voting to use the money for the local poor. The authorities took them to court, and 30 councillors marched there with two thousand supporters. All of the councillors were sentenced to prison, where one of the six women, Minnie Lansbury, died, only 32.

Public outcry with large demonstrations and some riots – and other councils following Poplar’s lead – led to the councillors being released with an Act being rushed through Parliament to make the system more fair, with richer boroughs contributing more and the poorer less.

Their protest had clearly been illegal, but was clearly justified, and it led to a much-needed reform. It’s a lesson which still has relevance, particularly with such current matters as statues and the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Richard Green, statue, Poplar Baths, East India Dock Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-54-positive_2400
Richard Green, statue, Poplar Baths, East India Dock Rd, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-54

The statue of Richard Green still stands outside Poplar Baths, a Grade II listed building from 1933, replacing an earlier baths from 1852. The baths were largely to provide washing facilities when few homes had bathrooms in this poor area of the city. As well as ‘slipper baths’ there were also vapour baths, showers and laundry facilities. The new baths in 1933 was a huge building including these facilities and two swimming pools, the larger of which could be covered over and used as a dance hall, theatre and sports hall.

The baths reopened in 1947 after the war despite considerable damage and was closed and converted into a training centre in 1988. My picture from 1988 shows a board advertising the support of the London Docklands Development Corporation in providing disabled access.

The building later became derelict but after a strong local and national campaign for its restoration work began on its redevelopment in 2014 and it reopened again as Poplar Baths Leisure Centre and Gym, along with 100 new homes, in 2016.

Richard Green (1803-63) was a local shipowner, shipbuilder and philanthropist, supporting a Sailors’ Home, schools, an orphanage and hospitals in the area, some of which had been founded by his father, George Green. His Blackwall Yard built many ships for the East India Company and for trade with Australia and China. His company, R & H Green in 1919 joined with Silley Weir as R. and H. Green and Silley Weir, with large premises at the Royal Albert dry docks and others and continued in business until sold to become a part of the government owned River Thames Shipbuilders in 1977.

George Green School, East India Dock Rd, Sturry St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-43-positive_2400
George Green School, East India Dock Rd, Sturry St, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-43

George Green (1767-1849) was the father of Richard Green whose statue with his dog still sits outside Poplar Baths. George married the boss’s daughter and made the reputation of the Blackwall Shipbuilding Yard, building many whalers.

As well as this school dating from 1828 on the East India Dock Road the older Green also endowed schools in Chrisp Street and Bow Lane. The current huilding from 1883 is part of Tower Hamlets College. George Green School in new buildings on Manchester Road became the secondary school for the Isle of Dogs with its first comprehensive intake in 1975.

Poplar Recreation Ground Memorial, schoolchildren, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-44-positive_2400
Poplar Recreation Ground Memorial, schoolchildren, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-44

The War memorial to the children of Upper North Street School is https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101065215-war-memorial-to-the-children-of-upper-north-street-school-poplar-ward Grade II* listed and includes the inscription: ‘IN MEMORY OF/ 18 CHILDREN/ WHO WERE KILLED/ BY A BOMB/ DROPPED FROM A/ GERMAN AEROPLANE/ UPON THE L.C.C./ SCHOOL UPPER/ NORTH STREET/ POPLAR ON THE/ 13TH OF JUNE 1917./ ALFRED H. WARREN O.B.E./ MAYOR/ J. BUTEUX SKEGGS,/ TOWN CLERK. ‘

There is a fuller story at the link above about the first mass German raid on London by Gotha bombers on 13 June 1917 which killed 162, including these 18 children mainly aged 5 or 6. At least 37 other children at the school were among the 432 injured by the raid.

St Mathias, church, Woodstock Terrace, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-45-positive_2400
St Mathias, church, Woodstock Terrace, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-45

St Mathias Church is also Grade II* listed, with a number of Grade II listed monuments. Poplar’s oldest church, it was built in 1766 as the Chapel of the East India Company, and became St Mathias as a parish church in 1866. You can see the company’s arms in the roof, and allegedly its columns came from wrecks of the Spanish Armada.

The exterior of the church was altered and enlarged by Teulon in 1875. The church closed in 1976 and was restored for community use by the LDDC in 1990.

Grieg House, Garford St, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-36-positive_2400
Grieg House, Garford St, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-7q-36

Built in 1902–3 as an officers’ annexe to the Scandinavian Sailors’ Temperance Home, founded by Swedish Free Church missionary Agnes Hedenstrom (1849–1928) who began her mission in the East End in the 1870s, opening the home here in 1888. The mission was taken over by the Salvation Army in 1930.

This was I think the last picture I took on my way to Westferry station where I returned a couple of days later for another walk – and the subject of a later post.


Click on any image to see a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos from where you can browse other images.


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Armistice Day – November 11th

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

Poppies in Trafalgar Square. 11 Nov 2006

When I was young everything still stopped for two minutes at 11am on Armistice Day although the main remembrance events had been moved to Remembrance Sunday in 1939 so as not to interfere with the war effort. But traffic still pulled into the side of the road here. In France the Armistice de la Première Guerre mondiale is still a national holiday.

Paris lle, 11 Nov 2008

I’m not a pacifist, but I am firmly opposed to most wars, both historic and current. The First World War was clearly a disaster that should not have happened, a family quarrel that should not have resulted in such incredible suffering and loss of life largely with people killing others who they had far more in common with than with those who sent them into battle.

Clearly US war in Vietnam (and earlier the French in Indochina) was wrong as was the invasion of Iraq. And equally clearly we as a nation should not be wasting money on pointless nuclear weapons and selling arms to promote wars around the world such as that in Yemen. And so on.

Remembering Animals Killed in War, Park Lane, 11 Nov 2006

But while it seems clear that America should not have been fighting in Vietnam, it seems clear that the Vietnamese had to fight against them, just as it seems clear that Cubans were justified in fighting against Batista and US imperialism – and the same applies to other struggles against colonialism and for national liberation.

School Students Against the War, Oxford St, 11 Nov 2006

I’ve recently re-read George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia and although Stalinists contest his view of events it remains powerful both as a personal account of the war in Spain and makes clear the main reasons why the democratically elected government was defeated by the fascists – and Stalinist Russia’s contribution along with fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to that defeat, which made a wider war inevitable. If you’ve not read it, this is a book I highly recommend – and there is an excellent article ‘Orwell and the Spanish Revolution‘ by John Newsinger in International Socialism Journal which explains Orwell’s position and deals with some of his detractors.

Staines, Nov 11 2007

I grew up in the years following the Second World War and had my share as a wolf cub and boy scout of standing in short trousers with the bitter November wind blowing up them at Remembrance Sunday parades at local war memorials. Of course we should remember those who died, but not in the kind of militaristic and often jingoistic fashion that most or all such events have in England. The best way to honour their sacrifice is surely to work for peace. In Germany they have a day as a peace celebration.

Families of Servicemen Killed in Iraq, Cenotaph, Whitehall. 11 Nov, 2006

After briefly photographing the event at the Mairie in the 11th arrondissement – I’d rushed out from a café when I saw the event happening – we strolled the short distance to the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise.

Père-Lachaise, Paris lle, 11 Nov 2008

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Kilburn to Maida Vale

Monday, October 25th, 2021

My walk around Kilburn ended by going down Kiburn High Road with a small slight deviations to catch the tube at Maida Vale.

Bingo Hall, Gascony Avenue, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn State, Odeon, Kilburn,  Camden, Brent, 1988 88-5m-63-positive_2400
Bingo Hall, Gascony Avenue, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn State, Odeon, Kilburn, 1988 88-5m-63

The Kilburn State Theatre was built on grounds formerly occupied by houses and since the 1890s by a furniture factory, The Palmerston Works. From 1916 to 1926 it was the home of the Central Aircraft Company which built cheap wooden aircraft and also gave flying courses and joy rides from Northolt Airport. The flights were a great success but although the planes only cost £250 sales were poor and the factory returned to making furniture.

The site was bought by Gaumont and opened in 1937 as the Gaumont State Cinema, designed by George Coles and this now Grade II* listed Art Deco masterpiece has a tower inspired by the Empire State Building in New York and when built had seating for over 4000, making it the largest purpose-built cinema in Europe. You can read much more about it in The Kilburn State Cinema.

Gascony Avenue, Kilburn High Rd,  Kilburn,  Camden, Brent, 1988 88-5m-64-positive_2400
Gascony Avenue, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Camden, Brent, 1988 88-5m-64

This wall on the corner of Gascony Avenue and Kilburn High Road was almost totally covered with advertising and branding, including three giant posters for the Invalid Children’s Aid Nationwide, (I CAN), founded in 1888 as the Invalid Children’s Aid Association by Allen Dowdeswell Graham to help poor children in London’s East End who were either seriously ill or handicapped. It is now a national charity for children with speech and language difficulties.

People, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, Camden, 198888-5m-51-positive_2400
People, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, Camden, 1988 88-5m-51

Walking along the Kilburn High Road with a camera (or possibly two) around my neck attracted the attention of several groups of people on the street, who demanded I take their pictures.

People, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, Camden, 1988 88-5m-66-positive_2400
People, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, Camden, 1988 88-5m-66

And I was happy to do so. They were all in a good mood, possibly in some cases helped by a little exposure to Guiness. I think all had good Irish accents.

Posters, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent,  Camden,1988 88-5m-53-positive_2400
Posters, Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, Camden,1988 88-5m-53

And flyposters on several buildings advertised Irish events in London.

Kilburn Banks Ltd, Springfield Joinery, off Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Brent, 198888-5m-54-positive_2400
Kilburn Banks Ltd, Springfield Joinery, off Kilburn High Rd, Kilburn, Camden, 1988 88-5m-54

I think the Springfield Joinery was probably at 1Springfield Lane, but no trace of this building remains. Possibly it was where the beer garden of the Old Bell Inn now is. If so it was in the LB Camden.

The Animals War Memorial Dispensary, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-46-positive_2400
The Animals War Memorial Dispensary, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-46

Animals, particularly horses, dogs, carrier pigeons and donkeys, but also many other species played an important role in the FIrst World War, and many were killed carrying out their duties. After the war the RSPCA proposed a memorial to them, and plans were drawn up for one at Hyde Park Corner but this was never built – though many years later in 2004 one was unveiled on Park Lane. The RSPCA changed its plans and decided on a more practical project, buying this site in Kilburn for The Animal War Memorial Dispensary in 1931.

There are two memorial inscriptions, one on each side of the door, but too small to read in my photograph. They are given in full on the Imperial War Museum web site.

LEFT: THIS BUILDING IS DEDICATED AS A MEMORIAL TO THE COUNTLESS/ THOUSANDS OF GOD’S HUMBLE CREATURES WHO SUFFERED AND/ PERISHED IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 – 1918 KNOWING NOTHING OF THE/ CAUSE. LOOKING FORWARD TO NO FINAL VICTORY. FILLED ONLY WITH/ LOVE FAITH AND LOYALTY THEY ENDURED MUCH AND DIED FOR US./ MAY WE ALL REMEMBER THEM WITH GRATITUDE AND IN THE FUTURE/ COMMEMORATE THEIR SUFFERING AND DEATH BY SHOWING MORE/ KINDNESS AND CONSIDERATION TO LIVING ANIMALS.

RIGHT: 1914 – 1918 THIS TABLET RECORDS THE DEATH BY ENEMY ACTION/ DISEASE OR ACCIDENT OF 484,143 HORSES MULES CAMELS AND/ BULLOCKS AND OF MANY HUNDREDS OF DOGS CARRIER PIGEONS AND/ OTHER CREATURES ON THE VARIOUS FRONTS DURING THE GREAT WAR/ IT ALSO RECORDS THE FACT THAT IN FRANCE ALONE 725,216 SICK AND/ WOUNDED ANIMALS WERE TREATED IN VETERINARY HOSPITALS/ PROVIDED BY THE RSPCA.

Bas-relief, The Animals War Memorial Dispensary, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-55-positive_2400
Bas-relief, The Animals War Memorial Dispensary, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-55

The Grade II listed dispensary is a converted mid-nineteenth century house memorial plaque above the door on the facade of the building is by Frederick Brook Hitch of Hertford who won the competition for the design. The dispensary continued in use until a RSPCA reorganisation in 2016.

TS Bicester, Sea Cadets, Tin Tabernacle, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-44-positive_2400
TS Bicester, Sea Cadets, Tin Tabernacle, Cambridge Ave, Kilburn, Brent, 1988 88-5m-44

Next door to the dispensary is Kilburn’s ‘Tin Tabernacle’, Grade II listed as Cambridge Hall and erected as St James’s Episcopalian Church in 1863. Active as a church until the 1920s it became an “Air Raid Precautions store during the Second World War, and was later known as the Lord Lloyd of Dolobran Memorial Hall. The building was taken over by the Sea Cadets in about 1949, and from then on was known as Training Ship Bicester“. In the 1950s they remodelled the interior as a mock-up of a Ton-Class Minesweeper. It had been built with a spire which was apparently stolen in the 1980s before this picture was taken.

Maida Vale, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-5m-34-positive_2400
74 Maida Vale, St John’s Wood, Westminster, 1988 88-5m-34

The pineapple was a symbol of wealth and found a place on many gateposts, but 74 Maida Vale is unusual in also having three on the parapet wall. I think the house probably dates from some time between 1829-1840 and that the rooms behind those upper pineapples are a later addition, but have found no specific information about this particular house; although several others on the block are listed this is not.


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Meridian 3

Friday, August 28th, 2020

Following the Greenwich Meridian is rather easier since the Ordnance Survey helpfully added it to their 1:25000 maps in 1999, but these pictures were made five years earlier in my project in preparation for the Millennium. I’d had to draw my own pencil line in their maps, which fortunately did show in their outer margins the Longitude at one minute intervals, including 0°00′, so it wasn’t hard to add the line.

I’ve never quite understood why the National Grid doesn’t quite align with this, the Prime Meridian, but presumably there were good reasons for choosing another starting point and working very slightly at an angle. The street maps which I needed to work out my actual route as they had the street names follow the National Grid, though they rather hide this behind their own system of letters and numbers based on half-kilometre squares.

For the northern part of my walk, the Meridian ran roughly down the gap between two pages of my Master Atlas of Greater London, a book too large and heavy to carry on my walks, and I marked out my route with highlighter pens on illegal photocopies of its pages.

There are several crossings of Southend Road, the North Circular Road at this point close to the Meridian which I think was actually a few yards to my east as I took a picture looking roughly west. But the road layout had changed a little from that since my OS map had been revised. It was a view which made a better picture – and close enough to the line for me, as was the level crossing at Highams Park – where again the actual line is a few yards behind me – to the west.

The view of Mapleton Rd and Stapleton Close (wrongly titled Mapleton Drive in my notes) is perhaps a hundred yards west of the Meridian, but close enough for me. The war memorial at the junction of The Ridgeway and Kings Head Hill is spot on target, while Woodberry Way is perhaps around a hundred yards to the west.

Finally, Pole Hill has two markers; the obelisk, set up by the Astronomer Royal to align his telescope in Greenwich due north is on the old Meridian, but the trig point to its left is on the version adopted internationally (except by France) in 1884. Nowadays we use GPS based on the International Terrestrial Reference Frame which has its zero meridian 102.478 metres further east.


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