Daniel Greatorex was a clergyman and for 40 years was chaplain to the Sailor’s Home in Dock Street. He was at the same time vicar of St Paul’s Whitechapel. Greatorex Street is named after him.
Little is known about the earliest developments but the district’s growth seems to have started along the High Street (Greatorex Street), an early means of access from Whitechapel and ’The Church Way’ (now part of Hanbury Street). The latter ran eastward from Spitalfields towards Mile End. By the late seventeenth century, the settlement was divided from east to west by the Common Sewer, a drainage ditch which later formed the boundary between the two estates into which Mile End New Town was divided. As late as 1838 the Common Sewer was still an open ditch.
Building development seems to have begun shortly after 1680. New streets were laid out at this early stage, but building was slow and spasmodic.
High Street (Greatorex Street) was closed at its lower end by a barrier, whose removal was authorised by an Act of 1780. West of High Street lay an area called Garden Ground occupied by one Martin Girle.
Paul Turquand built a sugarhouse on the street in 1757 with the remises expanded and taken over by George Lear & Company (later Lear & Cobden) from 1780 to 1815. The premises were converted in 2011 to house a college on the upper storey of the front range above the Greatorex Business Centre.
Until the early 21st century, Greatorex Street was famous for its fish restaurant, Tubby Isaac’s.