Victoria Park

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Approach Road

principal street lined on each side by mature plane trees. Its proportions are commensurate with a formal grand avenue but it begins oddly, off the minor Old Ford Road at the edge of the Green. Pennethorne had hoped to drive it through the open space of the Green to provide a continuous street from Bethnal Green Road; even in 1874 efforts were still being made to achieve this by the MBW. In spite of later rebuilding much of the avenue retains its 1860s terraces, The junction at the top of Approach Road where it enters the park was ravaged by bombing (including the destruction of Bonner's Lodge) and much rebuilt post-war, diminishing the strong axial layout of the original plans

The Approach Tavern. Became a gallery.  by B. Hammock & Lambert, 1860, was in matching style but was reconstructed above first floor, after bombing, 

Raine's Foundation School.  one of several institutions drawn to the area near the park in the late c19. 1887 by T. Chatfeild Clarke. Built as the Parmiter's Foundation School, established by Thomas Parmiter, a silk merchant, in 1686. Hall with timber hammer-beam roof. Contemporary iron electroliers.  science block, 1962 by Sidney Lowett. Brick with horizontal casement windows with concrete dressings. Extension of c. 1985 for the Raine's Foundation School, previously in Arbour Square . Set into alcoves are figures of charity children, copies of an original pair taken from the first school in Wapping. Further extensions behind, 1995 by Michael Madgwick.

Methodist Church, rebuilt 1959, large. By J. C. Prestwich & Sons. A modest L-shaped group on a classical building of 1868 which was the largest Methodist church in Bethnal Green. 

Reynolds House. In the angle of Approach Road and Bishop's Way. 1951-3 by Donald Hamilton, Wakeford & Partners. Built as the Borough's contribution to the Festival of Britain 

Bishop’s Way

The Bishops of London were lords of the manor of Stepney,  and their old house was  now partly within what is now Victoria Park. no longer the grand thoroughfare to Hackney Road, with much of its street frontage lost to inward-facing post-war housing,

St Elizabeth Primary School. 1955 dull

St John the Baptist Primary School 1960s dull

Wellington Estate LCC built from the late 1930s on the site of the Waterloo Workhouse, 1841

Bonner Hall Bridge.

Canal Bridge The original design for the bridge itself was rejected by the Canal Company as being too elaborate and costly to maintain.

Superintendent's Lodge Pennethorne built an elaborate lodge which was bombed during the war.

Piers part of superintendent’s lodge. Pennethorne’s  large and fanciful piers, which still mark the entrance to the Park across the bridge.

Bonner Road

The Bishops of London were lords of the manor of Stepney, and their old house was  now partly within what is now Victoria Park. Named from Bonners Hall 1745, 1822, Bishop Bonners Hall 1808, earlier Bisshops Hall 1495, a former house of the Bishops of London, lords of the manor of Stepney, one of whom. Bishop Bonner, was here in the 16th 

Board School by E.R. Robson and J.J. Stevenson. Built 1876, at a time when pressure was immense for new schools in the dense East End parishes. It "bears the relief of Knowledge Strangling Ignorance by Spencer Stanhope that appeared on some of the earlier Robson schools, 

two-storey weavers cottages. swept away in the 1960s,

former Brush Manufactory.   became artists' studios. an indicator of the area's quickly declining character.

London Chest Hospital.  A large triangular site built on the site of the manor house, where Pennethorne had originally planned ornamental gardens.     Founded 1848 by philanthropic City bankers and merchants; built 1851-5 by F W Ordish on a site originally occupied, by the Stepney manor house, demolished 1848. The scheme was promoted in 1851 for a 'crystal sanatarium' by Joseph Paxton, a version of his hothouse at Chatsworth, and intended as an air-conditioned pavilion of a type that Paxton had been promoting for all hospitals. It was the first consumption hospitals in London after Francis's Brompton Hospital, Kensington. figures, possibly Samaritans, and a later figure of a woman carrying flowers. Keystone figure of Christ. The original layout of wards was, on a corridor plan and ventilated by a revolutionary system of regulating cold and hot air devised by W.Jeakes. Extensions wing of 1863-5 by William wing of 1871-81 by Beck & Lee was rebuilt 1983.  Octagonal tower 1890—92 was part of the improved sanitary arrangements; a second tower was not built. Open, cast-iron sun balconies added in 1900 have been enclosed. Prominently linked to the wing, the Outpatients Department of 1972 by Charles Tarling of Adams Holden and Pearson. Octagonal, concrete-framed three-storey tower for day rooms and single-storey treatment wing. At the rear of the site a long, two-storey Nurses' Home of 1905. The chapel by E.B. Lamb, 1858-60 was destroyed in 1941.

Prince Albert.

Church - When T.B. Stephenson was transferred to Bethnal Green in 1871, he found a row of disused workshops next to the chapel, a Victorian predecessor of the present church at the junction of Bonner Road and Approach Road. These were converted to provide the premises he needed to continue the work he had begun among children in need in Lambeth, and remained the headquarters of the National Children's Home until 1913. Two snarling dogs given to London County Council and are the Dogs of Alciades

Calton Square Gardens

Three quarters of an acre opened by Princess Louise in 1845.


Cranbrook Estate

Post-war clearance of fifteen acres of c19 terraces was designed to reduce the population density to 136 persons per acre. 600 families were to be housed in the estate a mixed development completed in 1961-8. This was the last, and largest, of the three estates designed-for Bethnal Green by Skinner Bailey & Lubetkin, of Tecton, 

Fountain In the centre of the green. Elevated and of overlapping stone sections

Statue of the Blind Beggar and his dog by Elisabeth Frink. Commissioned by Bethnal Green Council in 1957 and installed in 1963. The tense composition the much-loved mythical subject in a rough, battered style that is both appealingly vulnerable and serious.  Her first commission.

Community centre, by Pentarch, 1993, .

Cranbrook School late c19 school now flats

Cranbrook Place.

Phoenix Engine Works.  1880 Lane and Reynolds.  Who sold 8,000 engines in 1881?


Connor Street

Lauriston Studios 1990 Pankaj Patel and Andrew Taylor conversion of former stabling set between rows of 19th-century terrace housing 

Gore Road

crescent of the 1870s and some infilling by John Spence & Partners of c. 1966, planned as low-rental housing for local professionals.  

Greenways Estate

The 1949-51 by Donald Hamilton, Wakeford & Partners standard five-storey balcony-access flats of the pre-war type with blocks containing shops along the main road. refurbished by Levin Bernstein in the 1990s next phase was built 1956-9 by Yorke Rosenberg & Mardall, architect in charge, J.S.P Vulliamy, 

Sulkin House cluster blocks designed by Denys Lasdun of Fry Drew Drake & Lasdun, 1955-8.

Trevelyan House, Twin of Sulkin House. 

Grove Road

the main approach to Victoria Park laid out in 1861 to provide a continuous route between Limehouse and Hackney.

Small shopping centre. 

Building like Liberty’s. incongruous addition to the  North West quadrant, which must have been added when the Liberties building, behind Regent's Street, was all the rage.

pottery, originally a coach house, was for a while occupied by the Metropolitan Tramway Company, possibly as a rest room for drivers and conductors.

Crown Gates. park entrance with regal lanterns on ironwork piers,

Llanover Lodge. Picturesque Neo-Tudor

Lakeview Estate compact 1956-8 by   Skinner, Bailey & Lubetkin: 

Hertford Union Canal.  

Linking Regents Canal and the Lea. 1¼ miles with three locks.  It was opened in 1830 by Sir George Duckett. It provided a short cut for traffic from the Lee wishing to travel up the Regent's Canal and the Grand Junction Canal to the Midlands. It is essentially a cut on the Lea Navigation.  It is a mile long.

Royal Victoria Place, houses of the 1980s with studio windows and balconies.

Bow Wharf was Victoria Park Wharf. A group of former industrial buildings on the canal's side, originally they comprised a three-storey warehouse of 1901 became Jongleurs and the former Victoria Veneer Mills which has buildings of 1896-1912 became a restaurant and fitness centre.

Lauriston Road

Jewish Burial ground part of Hamburgh Synagogue and dating from 1788.  Bottom end

Three Colts Tavern which blocked the road.  Crosswise, was subsequently moved

Sir John Cass lived.

Hampden chapel 1847


Lauriston Road South

Mitchell’s Brewery and tap.

Norris Fields going to Shore Road.


Malcolm Road

Sculpture of woman with a fish.  Was a fountain on corner?

Mowlem Street.

Mowlem Primary, 1997 by Paul Irons. 

Old Ford Road

Predominantly of the 1850s and 1860s, mostly erected in the aftermath of the creation of Victoria Park. Two-storey terraces with paired doorways in wide round-headed stucco architraves.

Bridge Wharf.  Nurses' home for the London Chest Hospital by Pentarch, 1998. 

Royal Cricketers. On banks of the canal.  Cellar bar is Butty Bar after the canal boats. c. 1850. Here the ancient shape of the road combines with views along the canal and into the park in an unexpectedly attractive manner.

Houses. In the centre, infill built in 1987 on the site of the Royal Victoria Music Hall (demolished 1983).


Crown Hotel.  Crown property ornate curved front one of the typical large 'hotels' which sprang up around the entrances to the park in the 1860s.


Park Road

Horris House in old people’s flats was almshouses for widows thrown out of Mongers’ Almshouses.

French Hospital 


Regents canal

Acton’s Lock.  Joe Acton was the land through which it was dug.  

Dug through Bishop Bonner’s fields.  The canal was through land previously known as Bishop Bonner s Fields' in which once stood the residence of Bishop Bonner during the reign of King Henry VIII. The unpopularity of the Bishop may be gauged from allusions to him such as "Bishop Bonner, the sworn enemy of Protestant   the awful Bonner exercised his tyrannical and cruel sway

Bonner Hall Bridge was the main entrance to the park.  the bridge across the canal was the main entrance to the Park and is called Bonner Hall Bridge - the elegant brick columns, up on the right of This used to carry the gates.

Horse ramp

Old Ford Lock different from Old Ford Locks, was Longford lock.

Back pumping station and stables for change of horses

Access to canal from Old Ford road.

Bridge Wharf basin storage warehouse of North Met.  Tramway Company, now Lower East Side Restaurant on Old Ford Road there and the barge basin provides a reception area for lunches and meetings.

Hertford Union.   Entrance to Hertford Union or Duckett’s Cut. Notice the widening of the canal opposite the entrance to Ducketts to allow narrow boats to turn when entering or leaving the branch canal

cast-iron stop-lock Bridge, designed to carry the towpath of the Regent's Canal s across the mouth of the Hertford Union Canal.

Barge builders with wharves on canal now gone,

Twig Folly Bridge for Roman Road

The Regent's Canal forms the south-west boundary of Victoria Park

Robinson Road

Sewardstone Road,

Health Centre and Sheltered Housing of the early 1990s by D. Y. Davies .

Park View Estate LCC. 1950-3 by de Metz & Birks, who  retained the c19 street pattern 

Community Centre and Laundry 

Pomeroy House a single block of flats over shops,

Mark and Sidney Houses. two L-shaped six- storey blocks.

Rosebery House. In the centre of the estate on the side, stands, a long four-storey block in brick, staggered in plan to allow views.

Roman Road

Middle Level interceptory sewer beneath it

Drift Road until 19th.  With suggestions that it was a Roman road to Colchester.  Also Green Street at west end.  F

Statue of Blind Beggar & Dog.  1957.

St James Avenue

St James the Less, 1842 by Lewis Vulliamy, reconstructed by J. Anthony Lewis after war damage, 1960-1 his third remodelling in Bethnal Green. 

Vicarage vaguely Norman, with three storeys of round-arched windows under a steep gable, and linked chimneystacks.

Gatehouse School.  Former Church Schools and Hall 1890 by Elijah Hoole, extended 1901; symmetrical centre to Sewardstone Road with angular doorheads either end or bold tracery within rectangular windows.

Victoria Park

Straddles the border between Hackney and Tower Hamlets.  It was created after a petition was presented to the government in 1840, and belongs to the general movement to bring amenities to the labouring classes of East London; it was the first and largest of the new London parks of the c19 designed in 1842 by James Pennethorne of the Office of Works Nash’s assistant, and opened in 1845.  Bounded by the Regent's Canal, and by a canal of 1826 linking the Regent's Canal with the Lee Navigation.   There was an 1840 Act to buy York House and turn it into a park for the east end.  Site of Bishop Bonner’s House demolished 1850.  Site of Chartist demonstrations in 1848.  Area called Botany Bay.  Full of very poor people.  Had been common land area in the past.  1861 Some land in the original act was kept for building purposes.  1871 land was got under the act.  After a lot of aggro.   Not a royal park but Queen Victoria visited it in 1873.  And gave bells to St.Mark's church.  Poor’s Land included in it.  10 trees planted there, lake, deer, etc.  217 acres.  Landscaped with perimeter drives and clumps of trees.  Gym, aviary, goats in 1890.  Maintained by Office of Works until 1887 then given to Metropolitan Board of Works.  House of Commons refused to pay for the upkeep of London Parks in 1886.  Therefore London Parks and Works Act. The park is now much simpler than it was in the later c19, when its numerous attractions were much appreciated. Planting by John Gibson introduced sub-tropical vegetation, there were celebrated bedding displays and several ornamental buildings, including a Hispano-Moorish arcaded shelter, designed by Pennethorne. These were damaged in the Second World War and demolished. A bandstand was added in 1865, a greenhouse in 1892.  In the 1980s the park was one of the first to benefit from government funding to encourage revival of interest in open spaces. New railings, lamp standards and entrance gates were provided, also a new cafe by the main lake and other improvements. Features in films 'High Heels and Low Lifes’.

Bishops Hall 'manor house of the bishop'. The Bishops of London were lords of the manor of Stepney and the site of the old house is now partly within Victoria Park, but the history of the area is marked by Bishop's Way and Bonner Road.  After Bishop Bonner in the 16th the  manor passed into lay hands

Lido gone, of 1936, which replaced earlier swimming pools.

Bronze fountain in the flower garden, by Bainbridge Copnall of 1950, moved to Golders Hill Park.

Lake The smaller part was given the more elaborate treatment, embellished in 1849 by a large lake, with waterfall islands, made in former gravel workings. There was once a pagoda on an island in the main lake acquired in 1847 from a Chinese exhibition in Knightsbridge.  Smaller lakes were provided in the other part. – were four now only two.  ’.

Bonner Gate. Pennethorne's Jacobethan gatepiers.  Brick and stone.  Manor House posh gates from Bishop Bonner’s Palace as was. The chief survival. Pennethorne's elaborate Tudor Lodge at Bonner Gate demolished in the war.

The housing estate on the right, facing the park, has recently been opened up to the canal with brightly painted signs.

Stone dogs. Presented by Lady Regnant in 1912. Alsatian type heads with ruffs. Copied from Greek Myron originals at Dunscombe Park

Stone shelters from old London Bridge. According to a Bow Heritage plaque these artifacts "were removed from the old London Bridge in 1860 at the behest of Benjamin Dixon MP for the enjoyment of the public and presented to HM Queen Victoria by order of the Rt Hon. W. Cowper, First Commissioner of HM Works & Public Buildings."


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