Rook Street, E14

Rook Street ran where the Will Crooks Estate stands today.

Before the building of the East India Dock Road in 1806 the only roads running north from the High Street were North Street (leading to Bow Common) and Bow Lane/Robin Hood Lane, which merged to form a single road leading to Bromley.

The Wade estate lay to the north of Poplar High Street and had been in the hands of the Wade family since the early 1700s. A century later was held by a widow – Mary Wade.

The area between the new East India Dock Road and Poplar High Street was first developed in the early nineteenth century. Building lots along them were sold around 1810. By 1815 the area contained ’a great number of very small and dilapidated Tenements’. The leases expired in 1818 and more systematic development followed the division of the land among Mary Wade’s daughters in 1823. A modified street layout was created and building took place during the remainder of the 1820s and in the 1830s.

The vicinity of Sophia Street and Rook Street was described pejoratively as ’a regular Irish den … all the vices of the Irish rampant, murder, rows, riot etc… . and fat brawny brawling women shouting at one another’.

Rook Street was closed in 1935-9 as part of the Sophia Street Clearance Scheme by the LCC involving the demolition of nearly 200 dwellings.

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