Poplar High Street, E14

Road in/near Poplar, existing until now

 HOME  ·  ARTICLE  ·  MAPS  ·  STREETS  BLOG 
(51.50899 -0.01827, 51.508 -0.018) 
MAP YEAR:1750180018301860190019502021Remove markers
Road · * · E14 ·
October
26
2020

Until the late nineteenth century Poplar High Street was the district’s principal street.

10543
The commercial importance of Poplar High Street declined rapidly from the 1860s, and in the late 1880s it was reported that ’many shops have been empty for years’.

Nearly two-thirds of a mile in length, and on average only a little over 30ft in width, Poplar High Street contained 327 houses when it was renumbered in 1865. Most were narrow, with an average width of under 17ft. Extending along the southern edge of the river-terrace flood-plain gravel, it provided an indirect approach to Blackwall, and, perhaps as important, access to the ways which extended down from its south side into the rich pasture of the Isle of Dogs. The house-sites on this south side of the street sloped sharply downward and this was sometimes thought the less salubrious side. In 1863 the sewer behind the public house at No. 270 was still an open ditch of ’water carried away at every tide’. It was on this ill-drained south side, however, that a clear if discontinuous line of ’back lane’ developed, whereas there was nothing of the kind on the opposite side. The local medical men tended to live on the north side, which as early as 1623 produced a much higher yield from the rates than the south side.

In the nineteenth century the property of the manor of Poplar lay on the south side of the street, chiefly west of the workhouse. On the manor of Poplar in the years 1810–39 the lord’s property in the street (perhaps some 50 houses) brought him an income arising out of the ’fines’ or premiums on the renewal of holdings that was immensely variable but which averaged just under £100 per annum. (The most, in 1837, was £649.)

John Hale was a carpenter in the City, off Cannon Street. He seems to have acquired effective ownership from his relations and from him the property on both sides of the High Street descended by 1803 to his builder son, Thomas (in a trust with his mother). It was Thomas Hale, one of the first would-be developers, with Thomas Ashton of Blackwall, of the east end of East India Dock Road in 1807–8, who finally subjected the property to development in the first decade of the nineteenth century. This was chiefly in Hale Street and more humbly in Queen (later Bickmore) Street, and on their flank fronts to the High Street.

In the opening decade of the nineteenth century, when the great enclosed docks were made, there was a building boom of a kind in the High Street. The general London building boom of the mid–1820s is faintly reflected and in 1824 the parish authorities noted that several houses were about to be taken down. The up-to-date appearance of some of the replacements has been noticed. Among the houses built on the south side in the 1850s, though they were ’of no architectural merit’, some were professionally occupied, and this seems to signify a short time when the prospects for residential property in the street had some faint promise, with local poverty alleviated by the Crimean War boom in shipbuilding, a time when ’the whole Isle of Dogs rang with hammers from morning to night’. The Poplar Literary and Scientific Institution was here (behind Nos 186–188) in 1845–52, before moving to East India Dock Road. In Poplar generally far more new houses were built in 1845–55 than in 1871–91 and the High Street reflects this. There were 51 new houses built in the 11 years 1845–55, 18 in 1872–82, nine in 1883–93, nine again in 1894–1904, but none in 1905–15. Rather similarly, new shopfronts numbered 19 in 1845–55, three in 1872–82 and nine in 1883–93.

Since 1817 much of the street had lain within the metaphorical and some of it in the physical shadow of the big workhouse building on the south side. Nor were the attractions of the street enhanced by the trades pursued there, such as the 11 slaughterhouses in 1859, the cork-burner at No. 100 in 1899 and the haddock-dryer at No. 302 in 1881. At and behind No. 25 the nineteenth-century sawmill was succeeded by chain-makers and repairers whose ironworks continued there after the Second World War. The hold on ’amenity’ was very frail and by the end of the nineteenth century the street was thoroughly depressed, with ’several houses of ill-fame, frequented by common seamen’, on its south side. Will Crooks’s biographer spoke in 1907 of the ’now silent’ High Street, and the Inland Revenue’s valuation of 1909–15 shows the silence to have been one of decay and neglect.

Emslie’s views in the 1870s show how much the High Street was then a shopping street. But they probably show a street where retail prosperity was already in decline. Commentators attributed this to the departure of street-traders and costermongers to Chrisp Street, from the late 1860s onwards. The removal of the Poplar Railway Station to East India Dock Road in 1865–6 had probably made matters worse. By 1895 the City Press called it ’one of the worst paying thoroughfares in London’. From 1872 to 1900 few new shopfronts are noticed in the district surveyor’s returns. There was then some increase, to 1915. But the Inland Revenue’s valuer was driven to constant comment in his assessments of 1909–15 that this was ’a bad business street’. (ref. 83)

As for the shops themselves, by the 1930s they shared one predominant characteristic with the rest of London’s humbler shops: the division of the ground floor between the shop itself at the front and a separate ’shop parlour’ behind, whence the proprietor would emerge at the tinkle of the shop bell. Access to the shop parlour and the rooms above was usually via the shop not via a separate street-door. Some shops of this kind were of very simple design.




Main source: Poplar High Street: Introduction | British History Online
Further citations and sources


Click here to go to a random London street
We now have 414 completed street histories and 47086 partial histories
Find streets or residential blocks within the M25 by clicking STREETS


CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY


Lived here
   
Added: 16 Feb 2021 13:41 GMT   

Giraud Street
I lived in Giraud St in 1938/1939. I lived with my Mother May Lillian Allen & my brother James Allen (Known as Lenny) My name is Tom Allen and was evacuated to Surrey from Giraud St. I am now 90 years of age.

Reply
Born here
colin Passfield   
Added: 1 Jan 2021 15:28 GMT   

Dora Street, E14
My grandmother was born in 1904 at 34 Dora Street

Reply
LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

Comment
Jude Allen   
Added: 29 Jul 2021 07:53 GMT   

Bra top
I jave a jewelled item of clothong worn by a revie girl.
It is red with diamante straps. Inside it jas a label Bermans Revue 16 Orange Street but I cannot find any info online about the revue only that 16 Orange Street used to be a theatre. Does any one know about the revue. I would be intesrested to imagine the wearer of the article and her London life.

Reply
Comment
Kathleen   
Added: 28 Jul 2021 09:12 GMT   

Dunloe Avenue, N17
I was born in 1951,my grandparents lived at 5 Dunloe Avenue.I had photos of the coronation decorations in the area for 1953.The houses were rented out by Rowleys,their ’workers yard’ was at the top of Dunloe Avenue.The house was fairly big 3 bedroom with bath and toilet upstairs,and kitchenette downstairs -a fairly big garden.My Grandmother died 1980 and the house was taken back to be rented again

Reply
Comment
Kathleen   
Added: 28 Jul 2021 08:59 GMT   

Spigurnell Road, N17
I was born and lived in Spigurnell Road no 32 from 1951.My father George lived in Spigurnell Road from 1930’s.When he died in’76 we moved to number 3 until I got married in 1982 and moved to Edmonton.Spigurnell Road was a great place to live.Number 32 was 2 up 2 down toilet out the back council house in those days

Reply
Comment
Lewis   
Added: 27 Jul 2021 20:48 GMT   

Ploy
Allotment

Reply
Comment
   
Added: 27 Jul 2021 14:31 GMT   

correction
Chaucer did not write Pilgrims Progress. His stories were called the Canterbury Tales

Reply
Comment
old lady   
Added: 19 Jul 2021 11:58 GMT   

mis information
Cheltenham road was originally
Hall road not Hill rd
original street name printed on house still standing

Reply
Comment
Patricia Bridges   
Added: 19 Jul 2021 10:57 GMT   

Lancefield Coachworks
My grandfather Tom Murray worked here

Reply
Lived here
Former Philbeach Gardens Resident   
Added: 14 Jul 2021 00:44 GMT   

Philbeach Gardens Resident (Al Stewart)
Al Stewart, who had huts in the 70s with the sings ’Year of the Cat’ and ’On The Borders’, lived in Philbeach Gdns for a while and referenced Earl’s Court in a couple of his songs.
I lived in Philbeach Gardens from a child until my late teens. For a few years, on one evening in the midst of Summer, you could hear Al Stewart songs ringing out across Philbeach Gardens, particularly from his album ’Time Passages". I don’t think Al was living there at the time but perhaps he came back to see some pals. Or perhaps the broadcasters were just his fans,like me.
Either way, it was a wonderful treat to hear!

Reply

NEARBY LOCATIONS OF NOTE
All Saints’ Church All Saints’ is a church in Newby Place, Poplar.
Canary Wharf Canary Wharf is a large business development on the Isle of Dogs, centred on the old West India Docks.
Chrisp Street Market Chrisp Street Market is the central marketplace and town centre of Poplar.
Museum of London Docklands The Museum of London Docklands, based in an 1802 warehouse, tells the history of London’s River Thames and the growth of the Docklands.
Poplar Baths Poplar Baths is a former public bath house dating from 1933.
Railway Tavern The Railway Tavern was generally known as Charlie Brown’s.
St Matthias Old Church St Matthias Old Church is the modern name given to the Poplar Chapel built by the East India Company in 1654.
Tower Hamlets College Tower Hamlets College is a large further education and a constituent college of New City College.
West India Quay West India Quay is a leisure complex on the Isle of Dogs.

NEARBY STREETS
1 Cabot Square, E14 1 Cabot Square (also known as the Credit Suisse building) is a 21 floor office building occupied by Credit Suisse in the Canary Wharf development.
1 West India Quay, E14 1 West India Quay is a skyscraper designed by HOK in the Docklands area which was completed in 2004.
Adams Place, E14 Adams Place is a road in the E14 postcode area
Adderley Street, E14 Adderley Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Amoy Place, E14 Amoy Place is a road in the E14 postcode area
Annabel Close, E14 Annabel Close is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Astoria Way, E14 Astoria Way is a location in London.
Bazely Street, E14 Bazely Street was originally Bow Lane.
Berber Place, E14 Berber Place is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Billingsgate Market, E14 Billingsgate Market is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Birchfield Street, E14 Birchfield Street was once called Drill Place.
Boardwalk Place, E14 Boardwalk Place is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Boardwalk, E14 Boardwalk is a road in the SE21 postcode area
Broadway Walk, E14 Broadway Walk is a road in the E14 postcode area
Brownfield Street, E14 Brownfield Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Bygrove Street, E14 Bygrove Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Cabot Place East, E14 Cabot Place East is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Cabot Place West, E14 Cabot Place West is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Cabot Place, E14 Cabot Place is a retail area.
Cabot Square, E14 Cabot Square is one of the central squares of the Canary Wharf Development.
Cannon Drive, E14 Cannon Drive is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Canton Street, E14 Canton Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Castor Lane, E14 Castor Lane is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Castor Street, E14 Castor Street existed between the 1810s and 1960s.
Chancellor Passage, E14 Chancellor Passage is in the Canary Wharf area behind West India Quay.
Chilcot Close, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Columbus Courtyard, E14 Columbus Courtyard is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Cooks Close, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Cottage Street, E14 Cottage Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
Crossrail Place, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Crossrail Walk, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Dingle Gardens, E14 Dingle Gardens is a road in the E14 postcode area
Discovery House, E14 Residential block
Dolphin Lane, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Duff Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
East India Dock Road, E14 East India Dock Road is an important artery connecting the City of London to Essex, and partly serves as the high street of Poplar
East Quay, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Elizabeth Close, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Epstein Square, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Finchs Court Mews, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Finchs Court, E14 Finchs Court is a road in the E14 postcode area
Fishermans Place, E14 Fishermans Place is a road in the W4 postcode area
Fishermans Walk, E14 Fishermans Walk is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Garford Street, E14 Garford Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Grundy Street, E14 Grundy Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Hale Street, E14 Hale Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
Harbour Way, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Harrow Lane, E14 Harrow Lane is a road in the E14 postcode area
Hertsmere Road, E14 Hertsmere Road is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Horizon Building, E14 The Horizon Building
Ida Street, E14 Ida Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Jeremiah Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Kemps Drive, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Kerbey Street, E14 Kerbey Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Kildare Walk, E14 Kildare Walk is a road in the E14 postcode area
Mackrow Walk, E14 Mackrow Walk is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Malam Gardens, E14 Malam Gardens is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Market Square, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Ming Street, E14 Ming Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
Morant Street, E14 Morant Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
Mountague Place, E14 This is a street in the E14 postcode area
New Festival Avenue, E14 New Festival Avenue is a road in the E14 postcode area
Newby Place, E14 Newby Place is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
North Colonnade, E14 North Colonnade is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
North Quay Place, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Ontario Way, E14 Ontario Way is a road in the E14 postcode area
Park Row, E14 Park Row is a road in the E14 postcode area
Pekin Close, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Pekin Street, E14 Pekin Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Pennyfields, E14 Pennyfields is the western extension of Poplar High Street.
Pigott Street, E14 When the Lansbury Estate was built, Pigott Street was the final part of the plan, hosting a block of flats from 1982.
Pinefield Close, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Plimsoll Close, E14 Plimsoll Close is a road in the E14 postcode area
Ricardo Street, E14 Ricardo Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Rigden Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Rosefield Gardens, E14 Rosefield Gardens is a road in the E14 postcode area
Saltwell Street, E14 Saltwell Street is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Saracen Street, E14 Saracen Street was a new street formed when the Lansbury Estate was built.
Scott Russell Place, E14 Scott Russell Place is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Shirbutt Street, E14 Shirbutt Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
Simpson’s Road, E14 Simpson’s Road is a road in the E14 postcode area
Smythe Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Stoneyard Lane, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Storehouse Mews, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Sturry Street, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Susannah Street, E14 Susannah Street is a road in the E14 postcode area
The Arcade, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
The Warehouse, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Trafalgar Way, E14 Trafalgar Way is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Vesey Path, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Wades Place, E14 Wades Place is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
West India Avenue, E14 West India Avenue is a road in the E14 postcode area
West India Dock Road, E14 West India Dock Road is one of the streets of London in the E14 postal area.
Westcott House, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Williamsburg Plaza, E14 A street within the E14 postcode
Woodall Close, E14 Woodall Close is a road in the E14 postcode area
Woodstock Terrace, E14 Woodstock Terrace is a road in the E14 postcode area
Wren Landing, E14 Wren Landing is a road in the E14 postcode area

NEARBY PUBS
Railway Tavern The Railway Tavern was generally known as Charlie Brown’s.


Poplar

Poplar - site of the first air raids.

Poplar is a historic, mainly residential area of East London. The district became the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar in 1900 - abolished in 1965 and absorbed into Tower Hamlets. The district centre is Chrisp Street Market. Poplar contains notable examples of public housing including the Lansbury Estate and Balfron Tower.

Although many people associate wartime bombing with The Blitz during World War II, the first airborne terror campaign in Britain took place during the First World War.

Air raids in World War One caused significant damage and took many lives. WWI German raids on Britain caused 1413 deaths and 3409 injuries. Air raids provided an unprecedented means of striking at resources vital to an enemy’s war effort. Many of the novel features of the war in the air between 1914 and 1918—the lighting restrictions and blackouts, the air raid warnings and the improvised shelters—became central aspects of the Second World War less than 30 years later.

The East End of London was one of the most heavily targeted places. Poplar, in particular, was struck badly by some of the air raids during the First World War. Initially these were at night by Zeppelins which bombed the area indiscriminately, leading to the death of innocent civilians.

The first daylight bombing attack on London by a fixed-wing aircraft took place on 13 June 1917. Fourteen German Gotha G bombers led by Squadron Commander Hauptmann Ernst Brandenberg flew over Essex and began dropping their bombs. It was a hot day and the sky was hazy; nevertheless, onlookers in London’s East End were able to see ’a dozen or so big aeroplanes scintillating like so many huge silver dragonflies’. These three-seater bombers were carrying shrapnel bombs which were dropped just before noon. Numerous bombs fell in rapid succession in various districts. In the East End alone 104 people were killed, 154 seriously injured and 269 slightly injured.

The gravest incident that day was a direct hit on a primary school in Poplar. In the Upper North Street School at the time were a girls’ class on the top floor, a boys’ class on the middle floor and an infant class of about 50 students on the ground floor. The bomb fell through the roof into the girls’ class; it then proceeded to fall through the boys’ classroom before finally exploding in the infant class. Eighteen students were killed, of whom sixteen were aged from 4 to 6 years old. The tragedy shocked the British public at the time.

* * *

Poplar DLR station was opened on 21 August 1987, originally with just two platforms, being served only by the Stratford-Island Gardens branch of the DLR. As the DLR was expanded eastwards, the station was extensively remodelled, given two extra platforms and expanded.


LOCAL PHOTOS
Poplar, 1910.
TUM image id: 1556886600
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Poplar Baths (2005)
Credit: Gordon Joly
TUM image id: 1582639714
Licence: CC BY 2.0
1 Cabot Square
Credit: Jack8080
TUM image id: 1481482264
Licence: CC BY 2.0
East India Road, Poplar
TUM image id: 1562851965
Licence: CC BY 2.0
Pennyfields, Poplar (around 1900)
TUM image id: 1605021763
Licence: CC BY 2.0

In the neighbourhood...

Click an image below for a better view...
Poplar, 1910.
Licence: CC BY 2.0
To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

Poplar Baths (2005)
Credit: Gordon Joly
Licence: CC BY 2.0
To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

1 Cabot Square
Credit: Jack8080
Licence: CC BY 2.0
To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

East India Road, Poplar
Licence: CC BY 2.0
To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

Pennyfields, Poplar (around 1900)
Licence: CC BY 2.0
To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

Castor Street Chinese Laundry, Limehouse
Licence: CC BY 2.0
To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

A line of Vauxhall cars in front of an old masonry warehouse awaiting export shipment at West India Dock on 12 June 1935.
Licence:
To View or share the image, go to its dedicated web page

Print-friendly version of this page