Cable Street, E1

Cable Street originally ran straight for the length of an average ship’s cable, allowing people to lay out the ropes as they made them. However the Cable Street name has absorbed many other streets so it is now much longer. The name first appears on the 1750s Rocque maps but dates from well before this.

Cable Street starts near the edge of the City of London financial district and continues on through to Shadwell and thence to Stepney, finally to the junction between Cable Street and Butcher Row in Limehouse.

It was known by many names in its past – the Cable Street was the westernmost of the streets and existed since the beginning. The next section east was Knock Fergus, followed by New Road, Back Lane, Bluegate Field, Sun Tavern Fields and Brook Street.

The street runs parallel to (and south of) the Docklands Light Railway and Commercial Road, and is parallel but north of The Highway.

From Victorian times until the 1950s, Cable Street had a reputation for cheap lodgings, brothels, drinking inns and opium dens.

A notable piece of London trivia involves Cable Street marking the final occasion when a stake was hammered into a sinner’s heart at an official burial. This took place at the junction of Cable Street and Cannon Street Road.

John Williams had been found hanged in his cell, after being arrested as a suspect in the Ratcliff Highway murders. Local people claimed that he had committed suicide, from guilt. In 1812, suicide was considered to be sinful, and justified his burial upside down with a stake through his heart. John Williams’s skull was found when new gas mains were being laid in August 1886, and was on display for many years in The Crown and Dolphin pub, opposite.

On 4 October 1936 a violent confrontation between the police and local communities on the street was later named the ’Battle of Cable Street’.

Neighbouring streets

West of Cable Street

Royal Mint Street – formerly Rosemary Lane (name changed in 1830)

North of Cable Street starting from the west

Leman Street – formerly White Lion Street, leading to Leman Street, (name changed in 1830)
Mill Yard
Back Church Lane
Pinchin Street – formerly Thomas Street (name changed in 1862). Historically noteworthy for its curve and arches, showing where the branch of the railway used to run, towards the goods yard to the north west.
Stute Street
Christian Street – the barricade created during the Battle of Cable Street was near this street’s junction with Cable Street
Golding Street – formerly Low Grove Street (name changed in 1862)
Cannon Street Road
Watney Market – formerly Watney Street (name changed in 1862)
Watney Street – formerly Charles Street (name changed in 1862)
Cornwall Street – formerly Upper Cornwall Street (name changed in 1862)
Shadwell Gardens
Shadwell Place – formerly Lower Cornwall Street and Sun Court (name changed in 1862)
Sutton Street – formerly Church Road (name changed in 1862)
Martineau Street
Johnson Street
Poonah Street
Hardinge Street
Hardinge Lane
Devonport Street
Barnardo Street – formerly James Place (name changed in 1862)
Stepney Causeway
Pitsea Street – formerly Dorset Street (name changed in 1862)
Caroline Street
Ratcliffe Cross Street – formerly Ratcliffe Square and Periwinkle Street (name changed in 1862)
Boulcott Street – formerly George Street (name changed in 1862)
Commercial Road – major radial route into Aldgate – runs parallel to Cable Street

East of Cable Street

Butcher Row – formerly Butcher Row and White Horse Street (name changed in 1862)
Narrow Street

South of Cable Street, starting from the west

Dock Street – already existed as Dock Street in 1830
Ensign Street – formerly Well Street (name changed in 1862)
Graces Alley – between Ensign Street and Wellclose Square – home to Wilton’s Music Hall
Fletcher Street – formerly Shorter Street (name changed in 1830 and 1862)
Wellclose Square – already existed as Wellclose Square in 1830 and 1862
Hindmarsh Close
Swedenbourg Gardens
Betts Street – formerly connected Cable Street to The Highway (name changed in 1862)
Crowder Street – formerly Denmark Street (name changed in 1862)
Cannon Street Road
Hawksmoor Mews
Bluegate Mews – formerly St George’s Place (name changed in 1830)
Library Place – formerly Prospect Place (name changed in 1862)
Angel Court – in 1862, Angel Gardens was where Bewley Street is now.
Dellow Street
Bewley Street – formerly Albert Street (name changed in 1862)
Sage Street
Lowood Street
Solander Gardens
Twine Court
King David Lane
Juniper Street – formerly Juniper Row (name changed in 1862)
Tarbert Walk
Glamis Road
Redcastle Close – formerly Carriage Way (name changed in 1862)
Glamis Place
Brodlove Lane – formerly Love Lane (name changed in 1862)
Elf Row – formerly Elm Row (name changed in 1862)
Glasshouse Fields – formerly Glasshouse Street (name changed in 1862)
Schoolhouse Lane
Heckford Street – formerly Burlington Place (name changed in 1862); no longer connected to Cable Street
Cranford Street – formerly Harris Court (name changed in 1862)
Bere Street – formerly connected through to Butcher Row (name changed in 1862)
Ratcliffe Orchard – formerly The Orchard (name changed in 1862)
The Highway – formerly Ratcliff Highway.
Then St George’s Street, High Street (Shadwell), Cock Hill and Broad Street (name changed in 1862)

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