TwoIn a land east of Aldgate, lies the land of Aldgate East...
18th century theatres bearing the name Goodman’s Fields
Theatre were located on Alie Street
The first opened on 31 October 1727 in a small shop by Thomas Odell, ’Deputy Licenser of Plays’. The first play performed was George Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer. Henry Fielding’s second play The Temple Beau premièred here 26 January 1730. Upon retirement, Odell passed the management on to Henry Giffard, after a sermon was preached against the theatre at St Botolph’s
. Giffard operated the theatre until 1732. After he left, the theatre was used for a variety of acrobatic performances.
Giffard constructed a new theatre down the street designed by Edward Shepherd who also designed the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The theatre opened with Henry IV, Part I, 2 October 1732 that included actors Thomas Walker, Richard Yates and Harry Woodward. A dispute at the Drury Lane Theatre bought the actress Sarah Thurmond and her husband to the theatre. With the passing of the Licensing Act of 1737, the theatre was forced to close. Giffard rented Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre briefly and then, with various political machinations, was able to reopen Goodman’s Fields
in 1740. The Winter’s Tale was produced there in 1741 for the first time in over a century. The same year David Garrick made his successful début as Richard III. He also staged plays of his own including the 1741 farce The Lying Valet. The theatre closed 27 May 1742 and did not re-open. It was pulled down in 1746, and a further theatre built on the site, this briefly showed drama before it was converted to a warehouse and burned down in 1809.
During its heyday, the poet Gray noted in a letter to a friend, that there are a dozen dukes of a night at Goodman’s Fields
The Oxford Companion to the Theatre notes that there may have been an earlier theatre named Goodman’s Fields
Theatre in the area around 1703.
The Third Goodmans Fields Theatre, Great Alie Street, London in 1801 - From
W. W. Hutchings
The name Commercial Road
had been proposed for the original Aldgate
East station, which opened on 6 October 1884 as part of an eastern extension to the Metropolitan District Railway (now the District Line), some 500 feet to the west of the current station, close to the Metropolitan Railway's Aldgate
station. However, when the curve to join the Metropolitan Railway from Liverpool Street
was built, the curve had to be particularly sharp due to the presence of Aldgate
East station, at which it needed to be straight.
As part of London Transport's 1935-1940 New Works Programme, the triangular junction at Aldgate
was enlarged, to allow for a much gentler curve and to ensure that trains held on any leg of the triangle did not foul the signals and points at other places. The new Aldgate
East platforms were sited almost immediately to the east of their predecessors, with one exit facing west toward the original location, and another at the east end of the new platforms.
The new eastern exit was now close enough to the next station along the line, St Mary's (Whitechapel
Road), that this station could also be closed, reducing operational overhead and journey times, as the new Aldgate
East had effectively replaced two earlier stations.
The new station, opened on 31 October 1938 (the earlier station closing permanently the previous night), was designed to be completely subterranean, providing a much needed pedestrian underpass to the road above. However, in order to accommodate the space needed for this, and the platforms below, the existing track required lowering by more than seven feet. To achieve this task, whilst still keeping the track open during the day, the bed underneath the track was excavated, and the track held up by a timber trestle work. Then, once excavation was complete and the new station constructed around the site, an army of over 900 workmen lowered the whole track simultaneously in one night, utilising overhead hooks to suspend the track when necessary. The hooks still remain.
District and Hammersmith and City line trains running into Aldgate
East along two sides of the triangle (from Liverpool Street
and from Tower Hill
) pass through the site of the earlier station, most of which has been obliterated by the current junction alignment, although the extensive width and height and irregular shape of the tunnel can be observed.
Since the station was built completely under a widened road, and was built after concrete had started to be used as a construction material, the platforms have a particularly high headroom. Combined with the late 1930s style of tiling typical of the stations of the then London Passenger Transport Board, the platform area of the station presents a particularly airy and welcoming appearance, unusual on the underground at the time of construction. The tiling contains relief tiles, showing devices pertinent to London Transport and the area it served, were designed by Harold Stabler and made by the Poole Pottery.