Tuesday 27 November 2007

Digging the archives - # 305

(Apologies to Ham of London CDP).......This is a picture of Cavell St. in Stepney, in the East End of London, taken in Summer 2006. If you imagine Richmond upon Thames as an Outer London town at 8 on the clock face, the Inner London Borough of Stepney sits at 2, and is actually part of London itself.

The photo shows Cavell St., named after a heroine, Nurse Edith Cavell http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/cavell.htm

The picture is worth looking at because it shows what the East End of London looked like in the 19th C when Stepney was an area close to the great harbour area known as the "Pool of London". The quality of the houses suggests that this was an area for well paid City clerks and skilled men doing well (I'm only guessing). Today, the docks and ships have moved a long way down river, immigrants from Bangladesh and other Asian areas have moved in (following Huguenots http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/history/communities/huguenot.html in 1680, Jews, Italians, Chinese - you name it) and the area is still also inhabited by City clerks and skilled men doing well.

This area was severely bombed during WW II and many of these streets were totally wiped out. Cavell St. obviously survived.


  1. Looks surprisingly residential, with only a smattering of parked cars by London standards, and the chance to isolate just two participants - quite unusual I would say. I like the way they have different size concrete bollards to accomdate different sized people

  2. Must have been a very decent place where to live (and probably still is)!

  3. I'm afriad that these houses weren't lived in by well to do City clerks (who would have lived in West London). These houses 100 years ago were well built but dirty and horrendously overcrowded. And frankly if you are a well paid City boy, Stepney is not exactly an area to aspire to - believe me, I used to live in the East End!