River Lea/Bow Creek - Poplar
The Lea continues to flow southwards, in increasing convolutions, towards the Thames.
Post to the north Bromley by Bow
Post to the east Canning Town
Post to the south Old Blackwall and Blackwall Point
Named after developer John Abbott who was a partner of Forbes tar works of Old Ford, Greenwich, and Newhaven. It starts with a Victorian terrace,
Abbott Estate, low-rise housing begun in 1947 by Poplar Borough, now largely rebuilt.
Braithwaite House six-storey range along Abbott Road, with 105 dwellings, built in 1950, with an experimental steel frame
Built in the 1970s, as three-and four-storey blocks with small courtyards. The area was originally developed with small terrace houses from 1864-85, first by David Mclntosh, hence the Scottish street names, and from 1873 by the chemist turned developer John Abbott, whose works were at Iceland Wharf, Old Ford.
Rebuilt from 1948 as the main local shopping street: three-storey blocks of flats over shops
Aberfeldy Neighbourhood Centre, Built 2003,
Aberfeldy Tavern. Built originally in the 1870s in East India Dock Road but rebuilt with the estate in the 1970s.
St Nicholas and All Hallows. Built 1953 by Seely & Paget, in brick with a hall, and clergy flats. In 1969 it was closed and turned into a vinyl record warehouse but in 1990’s became the centre of a great deal of community-work and in 1998 it was re-opened and formally re-dedicated in 2000. It replaced the bombed churches of St Nicholas Yabsley Street and All Hallows East India Dock Road. Inside is a painted ceiling by Brian Thomas with a visionary land and angelic host. It was originally done to hide repair work at Lambeth Palace in 1948k. There is also a stone font by Tom Hornsby and a statue of St Nicholas by Michael Groser.
Langley Hall. This had facilities for Poplar Theatre Workshop.
Ailsa Wharf, Anglo American Oil Co. In 1893 there were 7,200 barrels of oil stored there. The company had been set up in 1888 importing paraffin under the brand name ‘Pratts’. It went on to become Esso
This is now part of Athol Square
Tram Depot. This opened in 1907, closed in 1961. It was used for the "Tunnel STLs" from 1939 to 1954 – buses built for use on route 108 through the Blackwall Tunnel and 82 through the Rotherhithe Tunnel. The buses had specially curved roofs and reinforced tyres.
Blackwall Tunnel Approach
This follows the line of what was Brunswick Road formerly Quag Lane.
Tweed House. A slab block of flats built by the London County Council in 1961. It won a Civic Trust award in 1964 for good use of a difficult site. . Demolished 2012
240 Brunswick Road. This was known as the manor house, and stood between the library and Bromley Hall. It was built around 1823 and had a frontage of about 80 feet. Its most famous occupant was William Samuel Woodin, the actor, who filled it with oak carvings, and covered the ceilings with canvas paintings. The house was bombed in 1940 and was subsequently demolished.
Bright red containers a pile adapted as temporary offices, with porthole windows. By Containerspace Ltd, Nicholas Lacey & Partners, 2004. This site is Poplar Riverside Phase One for Tower Hamlets and Leaside Regeneration's
43 Bromley Hall. The oldest brick house in London. This appears to be a house of around 1700 but is a remodelling of something much older. A tree-ring dating of timbers to 1490 suggests that this was part of an early Tudor manor house was built by Holy Trinity Priory on the foundations of the 12th Lower Bramerley Manor.. The Hall was built by the first Duke of Essex in 1180. This Hall was leased in the 16 to John Blount and in 1799 sold in to Joseph Foster a calico printer. Through the 18th and 19th it was used as a factory. From 1894 to 1914 it was The Regions Beyond Missionary Union and then an infant welfare centre by the Royal College of St Katharine. It was bombed in the Second World War and in 1949 put up for sale. The London County Council put a preservation order on it in 1951 when it was subsequently used as a garage. It appears to have had four rooms on each floor. A wall, now on the ground floor has Tudor lime washed brick suggesting a carriageway with a room above. The main ground-floor room has its original ceiling with moulded beams, traces of wall painting and a Tudor doorway with carvings of a hound and hind. Inside is Regency curving staircase and upstairs another timber Tudor doorway, and stones which could be a door to a lost extension. There are no Tudor fireplaces, and two stonewalls at cellar level run beneath the rooms and carry a wide Tudor brick arch. It was bought in 2001 by Leaside Regeneration who has completed a restoration project for use as offices.
45 Bromley Library, built for the Borough of Poplar 1904-6 by Squire, Myers and Fetch. Converted to offices and live-work units in 2002-3 by The Regeneration Practice for the Heritage of London Trust. It has a stone front with a deep basement. There are carved columns by Gilbert Seale. Inside a mosaic entrance floor and the former library space is divided by iron columns painted in the original colours of blue and orange, with yellow walls. The librarian's flat is above,
Poplar and Berger Mission. The original Baptist church here known as Poplar and Bromley Tabernacle, was linked to the Metropolitan Tabernacle. From 1898 to 1945 there was a ministry by Mr Tildesley who used early movies to draw people in. In the Second World War the old building was bombed, and after the war, joined together with Berger Hall, whose building was also bombed and which was named after William Thomas Berger first home director of the China Inland Mission. The combined church was named “Poplar and Berger Baptist Tabernacle”. And a new building was completed in 1958.In 1998, the church decided to simplify its name to the current “Poplar Baptist Church.”
Poplar Hospital. The area of the tunnel approach and its side roads on the immediate north east corner of East India Dock Road covers the area of Poplar Hospital. This originated with The East India Dock Tavern built in the early 19th on a site owned by the East India Dock Company. The pub did not pay and it became a Customs House. By 1850 it was a 'Depot for migrants' but in 1855 it became a hospital under the patronage of Samuel Gurney, MP, to treat victims of accidents at the docks. By 1870 some medical cases were being admitted and a nearby house became staff accommodation and then an extension was built. The building grew as more wards were added and a new committee of management began to fund raise. Children’s wards were added, in 1929 a new operating theatre and in 1934–5 a large out-patients' department. The hospital was bombed in 1941, was closed in 1975, and demolished in 1981–2. A chimney remains.
Balfron Tower. This tower was built on what was seen as difficult site. It was part of the Brownfield Estate designed by Erno Goldfinger for the Greater London Council in, 1965-7. It is a twenty-six-storey block with a semi-detached tower containing lift, services, and chunky oversailing boiler house. It was Goldfinger's first public housing; a precursor of the Trellick Tower in Ladbroke Grove.
Carradale House. Built 1967-9 this is a slab of eleven storeys, with lift block in the centre. Goldfinger's last major work.
Glen Kerry. Fifteen-storey block, run as a co-operative, with banded concrete in pale brick. Designed by the studio of Erno Goldfinger
Underpass with coloured tiles leads back beneath the A12 to St. Leonard's Road
Langdon Park. Small recreation ground. Created as a new opportunity.
Langdon Park Secondary School. Built around an original London School Board school of 1907. Now Community Sports College
Bromley Hall Road
Bromley Hall School for physically handicapped children. Built 1967-8 by the Inner London Education authority by Project Architect, Bob Giles. It is an inward-facing design intended to shield the school from the surroundings. Later became Tower Hamlets Pupil Referral Unit
130 The Princess of Wales. This was a Watney’s House, established 1886 and closed in 2002. It had been drastically converted to flats.
162 The Builders Arms. This was a Courage pub, built before 1862 and closed in 2004 and demolished in 2006.
Road built inside the East India Dock Estate and apparently following the line of the North Quay of the Import Dock.
Import Dock. The Dock was excavated in 1803 and completed in 1806. It provided room to unload East Indiamen. It was used for trading into the mid 20th but was not practical for larger cargo ships. During the Second World War it was used for the construction of mulberry harbours but was badly bombed and the western end of the dock was partially filled and used as a stacking yard, the remainder used for occasional Channel Island traffic. It was closed in 1967 and sold in 1971. Until the early 1980’s it was used as a container store.
Canal. To retain the history of the Dock a ribbon of water ran through the public spaces within the estate
Telehouse Campus. This includes car parking, a concrete lined linear landlocked pond and an open landscaped area in the west of the campus. The original Telehouse building was developed in the early 1990s as part of the LDDC regeneration scheme for East India Dock and is a secure electronic data storage centre.
Telehouse North - data centre building of a typical early 1990’s design;
Telehouse East data building
Administrative Pavilion building
Generator building for Telehouse
Culloden Primary School. The current school dates from 2000, and is in pale brick, with covered walkways facing the playground. This was originally Dee Street School and has been rebuilt.
Chimney solitary relic of Poplar Hospital
East India Dock Road
The road was built in 1806–12 as a branch of the Commercial Road and continuing to the Dock Gates – which were roughly on the south west corner of the Blackwall Tunnel Approach – and then continued to a bridge over the River Lea. Until 1871 the section east of the entrance to the Lea was called Barking Road. It was a toll road owned by the Dock Company. The road was very narrow but in 1908 the dock wall was set back for the London County Council tramways
All Saints Station. Opened in 1987. Between Poplar and Langdon Park on the Docklands Light Railway. The station is partly on the site of Poplar (East India Road), station on the North London Railway. All Saints Station is named from All Saints Church slightly to the east.
Poplar (East India Road) Station. Opened in 1866 and built by the North London Railway. Used as the terminus for 4 passenger trains an hour from Broad Street it was opened it because the Blackwall Railway would not let the North London Railway run passenger trains here for free. In the 1870s and 1890s some eservices ran to connect to steamers to Margate. It had a single-storey booking hall on the main road, and two stairways leading to the platforms. It closed in 1944 because of bomb damage – it held the record as the most bombed railway station in the world. In 1947 it was demolished although the platforms and some brick walls remained.
Goods depot to the rear leased to London North Western Railway.
Signal boxes. There was one at the north end of the North London line station called East India Dock Road, and one to the south called High Street. Both were abolished in 1888, and replaced by a new box called Poplar Central which was south of the platforms. This was totally destroyed when a land-mine exploded on top of one of the railway retaining walls. In less than two weeks, it was rebuilt
Station Cars, buildings next to the station which includes parts of shops built alongside the Poplar Station
182 The Eagle Tavern, were built in 1859–60 designs by John Morris & Son. Demolished by a V2 at 11.50 am on 7th March 1945. 23 people killed waiting at the bus stop. The Royal family visited on 9th.187 The Fusion Building. 15 storey office block built 2003. This replaced houses and shops built in 1882. The corner house 187b was used as a branch of the London and South-Western Bank, later Barclays. Before that it has been the site of the original George Green School - an infant school built by Green and an 'Irish Protestant School' built in 1842. This was demolished in 1881.
192-200 The Ladbroke Social Club. This had been the Poplar Pavilion but after the 1960e a bingo hall. The architect was Frank E. Harris for J. M. Rothstein but it was twice later extended and enlarged. . The façade was of stone and inside was plaster decoration. It was damaged by a V2 in 1945.) In 1953 it acquired a 'wide screen', the first in East London. The cinema closed, as the Essoldo, in about 1967 and became bookies. Demolished in 1989
193 -195 site of Poplar Police Station. Now demolished. The station was designed in 1897–8 by John Dixon Butler, in brick. It closed in 1971.
202a The Falcon pub. This was a Truman’s house opened in 1869. .In 1911 a new building was erected by W. Pringle of Bow for Truman, Hanbury & Buxton. It closed in 1985 and was demolished for road-widening.
210 Poplar Borough’s Electricity Undertaking showrooms. It was too small and new buildings were put up by direct labour for a Modern-style building of three storeys with a flat roof by lift and stair towers. It included showrooms, stores with loading bays. Upstairs was a tiered lecture theatre and a demonstration kitchen. In 1963 the London Electricity Board tuned the upper floors into an operations training centre, for showroom staff, and sales reps. the training centre was closed in 1975 and it was sold and demolished in 1991.
239 1894-1905 this was the Poplar Synagogue and then until 1909 to 1933 the premises of William Whiffin, the photographer
241 - 243 the Poplar Literary and Scientific Institution was here 1853–8.
251c–253a a steel-framed building built 1938–9 for Leeds clothiers. 253 is now Poplar Central Mosque
263 this was a cinema, operated in 1909 by the British Bioscope Manufacturing Company Ltd. In 1913 under new owners, it was re-named Electric Theatre. It operated until around 1915 or 1916.
279 The Sir John Franklin public house, built 1859 the manager of Vauxhall Gardens. It was demolished for the Blackwall Tunnel and replaced in 1963 by a new house by Mann & Crossman architect Stewart, Hendry & Smith. Now demolished.
291 1856 - 1870 the office of the Poplar District Board of Works. Demolished
193-295 The Dock House Tavern. Built 1818 and demolished for the approach to the Blackwall Tunnel
283 The Volunteer. This pub was built before 1881 and rebuilt by Charrington’s Brewery in 1913 to designs by C. Gordon Smith It closed in 1991 and was demolished for road-widening.
299- 301 Ragged School. Built to the designs of John Warrington Morris It opened in 1864. In 1874 the dock company sold the site to the London School Board and the school was enlarged and named Brunswick Road Board School. In 1899 it was converted into London's second Day Industrial School and alterations were designed for the Home Office by T. J. Bailey the School Board's architect,
Aberfeldy Estate. The area north of the road and east of the Tunnel Approach was bought in 1813 by the contractor Hugh McIntosh, from the East India Dock Company, kept as farm land and later built by his descendants and by John Abbott with housing in roads with Scottish names. Post war London County Council flats on bomb sites. Much of this has since been rebuilt with modern housing.
240 Financial Times Printing Works. Built 1988 by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners. This was used by the Financial Times for only a short while.
357-359 Aberfeldy Tavern. The original pub built by G. J. Watts in 1865. It had a bar, bar parlour and taproom
All Hallows Church. The church began as a mission and built here on a site owned by John Abbott. It was designed by Ewan Christian and built by George Shaw. The church was sunk below the level of the road – described by the architect as ‘old foreshore’. The church included fittings from the demolished church of All Hallows, Bread Street. There was a parish room and mission room east of the church built in 1884–5. The church was badly damaged by Second World War bombing and was demolished in 1952. A short length of iron railings and the steps down from the road survived – and a palm tree
Iron Bridge Tavern. Built in 1852 and extended in 1883 by architect George T. Tribe. It was rebuilt for Messrs Taylor, Walker in 1934–5 to designs by S. A. S. Yeo, with six bars and an off-licence at the back. In the 1970s it was run by Slim and Queenie Watts, a jazz and blues singer. It featured in TV shows about pub entertainment with Kathy Kirby. In 1980 an in-house micro-brewery called UXB, was installed and only lasted two years. In 1983, the name changed to Plums Two, but the pub closed within the year. It was used as a hostel as the Inner London Hotel and has now been demolished.
Dock gates of East India Dock Company. This had had originally a big triumphal arch by H Walker built in 1805-7. This stood more than 70feet tall and was a prominent local landmark. The attic storey contained the East India Company's boardroom. It was replicated in Hennebique ferro-concrete in 1913-14 after road widening, and demolished in 1960s for the tunnel approach.
Service Centre and chimney
18 The Jerusalem Coffee House opened in 1900 by Catherine Phillimore following a trip to the Holy Land. It became the Poplar Association for Befriending Servant Girls. Catherine's sister Lucy, who was Mrs Gladstone's private secretary from 1892 to 1900, became Vice President of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.
Christ Church House. Part of the St. Frideswide Mission and used as their clergy house. Said also to be used as a Seamen’s Mission. Dates from 1898. Now housing
Somali Community Centre
Site of Four Mills. Four Mills Distillery in 1890s owned originally by the Currie family.
Sun Mills. By 1867 the St Leonard Street mill had become the Bromley Mills, grinding flour, and from 1885 until 1890 was known as the Bingemann Jacob Steam Flour Mill. In 1890, it was occupied by the Sun Flour Mills Ltd, which became linked in 1932 with Associated London Flour Millers Ltd. The mill building stood on a tongue of land bounded on the east by the Lea and on the north and west by the Limehouse Cut. The wheat silo was a conspicuous landmark. In 1941, the nearby Bow Mill of J V French and Co Ltd, which used the brand name Frenlite, was bombed and French's took over the Sun Mills. The mill was functioning fully by 1952 following extensive rebuilding and conversions which included a despatch silo completed in 1958 and a pneumatic grain handling system installed about 1965. A dust explosion in 1965 destroyed some of the building and the rest was demolished in the early 1970s. In March 1972 the owners became Spillers-French Ltd and it is believed the mill closed not long after.
7 George VI Pub. ‘Regency Hotel’. Still open and does B&B
23 Masons Arms Pub demolished.
48 White Swan Pub. Demolished
Blackwall Trading Estate. This was Commercial Wharf Owned by W. W. Howard Brothers & Company, timber merchants in the early 20th.
This was previously called Orchard Road leading to an isolated area where ships docked from 1297 but nothing else was there until the orchard and dock were built. It was also called Dock Wall Road. The road is now a dual carriage way, one lane of which is on the original line of the road to the east of the dock wall, the other, northbound carriageway is west of the wall and inside the area of what was the dock.
East India Dock wall Stretches of the original Import Dock Wall, 20 ft with buttresses, and one of the three simple arched openings with niches. This wall built in 1806 with bricks left over from dock construction divides the two carriageways of Leamouth road
The area to the west of the road was the site of a group of warehouses built between 1808 and 1820 partly for pepper and spice storage by the East India Company and sold to the East India Dock Company in the 1830s. In the 1840s they were bought by the Eastern Counties Railway and they remained in railway ownership until the 1980s. Some original buildings were bombed in the Second World War. In 1983 the London Docklands Development Corporation bought the site and cleared it except for the existing gateway. Railway sidings here were served from lines on the east side of the Lea via a swing bridge.
Gateway. This went to the East India Company's group of Pepper Warehouses. These were built in a secure area designed for bulky goods which did not have a value making them worth importing to Cutler Street in the City. The gateway is by S P Cockerell, in Portland stone with caducei, originally in Coade stone but now carved – they were replaced when previous figures were stolen. The gateway has been rebuilt in 1993 by the LDDC on a slightly different site.
Poplar Bus Depot. Stock brick garage with five south entrances lying alongside Bow Creek. It was built by the London County Council in 1906 as a conduit electric tram depot, and was one of the last where trams were replaced by trolley buses in 1940. It later operated Routemasters. Closed 1985.
40 Acme Studios. Built in 2009 for local artists
Devon Wharf. Glaucus Works. Joseph Ash & Co. foundry. Galvanising plant
Poplar Gas Holder Station. The Commercial Gas Company out of town gas works built from 1876. The Commercial Gas Company, smallest of the inner London gas companies, was based in Stepney and this was their ‘Beckton’. John Abbott had bought David McIntosh's estate in 1873, and immediately sold this section to the Gas Company. They built three gas holders and an office. They had hoped to use sea-going colliers on Bow Creek but navigational difficulties prevented this. They also wanted to call it Bromley Works but the Imperial Gas Company objected to this clash of names. The works stopped making gas in 1967. Three holders remain on site No. 1 built in 1877 by Harry Jones, engineer, with an early wrought-iron lattice guide frame with daintily tapered members. No. 3. A larger holder built in 1929.with four lifts and above ground steel tank.
Site of St Frideswide's Church. In 1888 a Mission Church was founded in a cottage here by Christ Church College Oxford, and a new church building was consecrated in 1893. Inside was a wooden door carved by Alice Hargreaves, nee Liddell, and the original Alice in Wonderland. This showed the life of the Saxon Princess, St Frideswide. The church was bombed and demolished in 1945.
St Frideswide's Mission. Built in 1889 and funded by Catherine Mary Phillimore. It was opened by Mrs Gladstone, wife of the Prime Minister for whom Catharine had worked. Catherine had her own rooms in the mission, which she shared with a companion, Mary Hervey. They worked at the project until 1914. A statue of St Frideswide stood over the door until the 1990s but has since been vandalised.
On the site of the East India Import Dock – and called after one of the spices imported there.
3 Global Switch Data Centre buildings. This is warehousing for storing net service providers. By Webb Gray, 2001
Oban Street School. A London School Board School by architect Edward Robert Robson.
St Leonard's Road
152 site of The Old Five Bells. In 1923 this was taken over by the Temperance Society and opened as a 'dry' pub by Ishbel MacDonald, daughter of the Prime Minister. It was run by the wife of the Minister of Berger Hall, as a community centre until 1940. In 1945, Sister Esther Thynne, converted it into the 'Poplar and Berger Baptist Tabernacle', replaced in 1950.
162 St Leonard’s Arms. Truman’s Pub, converted into flats.
Cobden Pub. This was opposite the St. Leonard’s Arms. Demolished and flats on the site
253 Foresters Arms Pub. Converted to flats.
St Michael and All Angels. Church Built 1864-5 by R. W Morris replacing a mission chapel of 1861. It has an idiosyncratic tower with a clock. Now flats.
The Duke of Wellington. Pub on the corner of Byron Street. This was Watney's pub also called Wellington Arms from 1983 but locally as The Germans. It was built before 1819, closed in 2000 and is now flats.
Vicarage. With some Gothic
War Memorial. In white marble by A.R. Adams. A standing figure of Christ with a kneeling soldier in medieval dress.
Teviot Estate low-rise homes of Poplar's post-war housing. Built around a small green.
Teviot House, Poplar Borough housing of 1921. The flat roofs were for clothes drying,
Radford House, Poplar Borough housing of 1921
West Ham Power Station
This was municipal coal fired power station, sometimes also called Canning Town Power Station. The first power station here was opened by West Ham Borough Council in 1904 to power the trams. The new station covered nine acres with a 300-foot frontage on Bow Creek. John Morley, A.M.I.C.E., Borough Engineer and James Bock, Borough Electrical Engineer had together planned the building. It was built on the site of the former sewage works and some of the old settling tanks were used as condensing ponds for the generators. The generators were named after the wife of the Electricity Committee. West Ham became one of the largest municipal electricity suppliers in London. West Ham "A” had two phase generators and distributed two phase electricity. It was bombed in 1940 and in 1947 it was nationalised and taken over by the British Electricity Authority. They built West Ham 'B' Power Station to the south of A station in 1951 during the period of "Control of Turbo-Alternators" legislation. . This had two concrete cooling towers – as distinct from those for A Station which were wood. B also bunt coke supplied from Bromley Gas works. It was taken over by the Central Electricity Generating Board in the late 195-sw. B station was closed in 1983 and demolished.
Railway sidings linked to the North London Line at Stephenson Street.
Sewage works. A minimal works was built here in 1861 as an outfall into the Lea. West Ham then had a population of 30,000. Over the next few years the population increased dramatically and large employers with lots of money and power moved in. West Ham local authority, struggling, had been promised that their sewage could go into the Northern Outfall but they had failed to get this into the enabling Act of Parliament and thus were not able to do this. The West Ham Local Board tried to improve the works but continued to get complaints from the Lea Conservancy and others. Eventually permission was given to access tube Northern Outfall for which the Canning Road works was built in 1901.
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