Cheshire Street, E2

Road in/near Bethnal Green, existing until now

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Road · Bethnal Green · E2 ·
MARCH
22
2018

Cheshire Street is a street in the East End linking Brick Lane with Bethnal Green and Whitechapel.

Cheshire Street (1969).
Credit: David Granick (1912-80)
It has had various names in its history, such as Hare Street, and today forms part of Brick Lane Market on Sundays. The Cheshire Street part of the market is home to various Bric A Brac stalls; prior to the area become popular with artists, the market was a source of basic items (clothes, toys etc.) for working people from the East End.

The street runs parallel to the former Bishopsgate Goods Yard and the main railway track into Liverpool Street and the railway viaduct that used to carry trains into the good yard is one of the oldest brick rail viaducts in the world, the listed Braithwaite Viaduct. It is possible to see the original brick work of this viaduct from Grimsby Street, a tributary of Cheshire Street.

The old Carpenters Arms pub is also located on Cheshire Street. The notorious Kray twins bought the pub for their mother, who used to hold court in it at weekends. According to the last proprietors of the pub, the Krays installed a bespoke bar surface during the time they owned the pub - the surface employed was allegedly a coffin lid. Reggie Kray’s funeral procession went along Cheshire Street in 2000.

Cheshire Street is also home to the Repton Boys boxing club, London’s oldest boxing gym, alma mater to boxers such as Maurice Hope, Billy Walker, and Audley Harrison, not to mention underworld figures such as "Mad" Frankie Fraser.


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Cheshire Street (1969).
David Granick (1912-80)


 

Bethnal Green

Bethnal Green - a happy corner

Bethnal Green is located 3.3 miles northeast of Charing Cross, It was historically an agrarian hamlet in the ancient parish of Stepney, Middlesex.

The name Blithehale or Blythenhale, the earliest form of Bethnal Green, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon healh ('angle, nook, or corner') and blithe ('happy, blithe').

Following population increases caused by the expansion of London during the 18th century, it was split off as the parish of Bethnal Green in 1743, becoming part of the Metropolis in 1855 and the County of London in 1889. The parish became the Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green in 1900 and the population peaked in 1901, entering a period of steady decline which lasted until 1981. Bethnal Green has formed part of Greater London since 1965.

The economic history of Bethnal Green is characterised by a shift away from agricultural provision for the City of London to market gardening, weaving and light industry, which has now all but disappeared.

By about 1860 Bethnal Green was mainly full of tumbledown old buildings with many families living in each house. By the end of the century, Bethnal Green was one of the poorest slums in London. Jack the Ripper operated at the western end of Bethnal Green and in neighbouring Whitechapel. In 1900, the Old Nichol Street Rookery was demolished, and the Boundary Estate opened on the site near the boundary with Shoreditch. This was the world's first council housing. The quality of the built environment was radically reformed by the aerial bombardment of World War II and the subsequent social housing developments.

Bethnal Green has a tube station on the Central Line of the London Underground. The station was opened as part of the long planned Central Line eastern extension on 4 December 1946; before that it was used as an air-raid shelter. On 3 March 1943, 173 people were killed in a crush while attempting to enter the shelter.

The station is an example of the New Works Programme 1935 - 1940 style adopted by London Transport for its new tube stations. Extensive use is made of pale yellow tiling, originally manufactured by Poole Pottery. The finishes include relief tiles, showing symbols of London and the area served by the London Passenger Transport Board, designed by Harold Stabler. The station entrances, all in the form of subway access staircases to the subterranean ticket hall, all show the design influences of Charles Holden, the consulting architect for London Transport at this time.

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