I was pleased the old signage on the stairwell hadn't been replaced.
There was large scale building in the mid 19th century to provide cheap and sanitary housing for the working classes. The housing in Carlton Square was a product of that expansion. They were built in the 1850s on open land known as Globe Fields. The Pemberton Barnes Trust which owned them began letting them in 1853 and eventually sold 200 properties to the Peabody Trust in 1974, who are now the major landowners in the area. With having few landlords the properties have remained largely intact. The housing was considered important enough to be protected by the London Squares preservation Act of 1931. The creation of Carlton Square Garden in the 1960s has had the most significant impact with its large open green space. It was established by the clearing of housing.
I wandered down this alley to Mile End Place and was surprised to discover an uncharacteristic street for this area with its cottages and front gardens.
I only walked as far as Queen Mary's University as I had covered the rest of this area when I visited Mile End Station
After some research I discovered that this was the cemetery for the congregation of Maiden Lane synagogue in Covent Garden from 1811. More than 500 bodies had been laid to rest here before the demise of the synagogue at the beginning of the 20th century. The area was hit by a bomb during WW2 which is why the stones are broken and scattered. Despite its neglectful state the board of Deputies of British Jews have refused to do anything about the site. There is currently a move to raise money so that a memorial can be built here to remember all those who were buried in this cemetery. Historians estimate there were approximately 120,000 Jews living in this area in 1910.
I continued walking down Mile End Road towards London.
This is Malplaquet House, an 18th century Georgian mansion once owned by Henry Charrington. It was purchased in 1998 after being uninhabited for over 100 years and was the site of two former shops. It was saved by the Spitalfields Trust. In 1998, Tim Knox, British Historian and director of the Fitzwilliam Museum and Landscape gardener Todd Longstaffe Gowan bought the property from the Trust for £250,000 and have repaired and restored it.
I crossed over the road to read this commemorative plaque. The plaque shows the site where Captain James Cook (1728-1779) used to live. Sadly the house was demolished. Cook along with other mariners probably chose to live here as it was within walking distance of The River Thames but at that time was still semi rural. Cook was an explorer and surveyor and charted Newfoundland, New Zealand, the East coast of Australia, parts of Antartica and the West coast of North America.
A little further on I saw a sign for a bakery. I turned off the main road into a housing estate and there was Rickoff's Bakery. What a gem! Whilst waiting to be served I read that it was a family run business since 1911 producing speciality breads and cakes. There are photos of all the family members who have worked in the business from Hyman who came over from the Ukraine in 1911 to his great grandchildren who are now running the business. The building looks as though it was probably built in the 60s alongside the housing estate but some of the recipes for the traditional breads have been passed on through the generations creating a unique place to eat. I had a smoked salmon bagel which was just delicious. Should have photographed it but too busy eating it. I read later that this is the only Jewish bakery left in the East End of London.
A third statue on Mile End Waste is a bust of King Edward VII who was the son of Queen Victoria. He ascended to the throne at the age of 60 and only reigned for 11 years.
Alongside the Mile End Waste are the Trinity Almshouses. The Almshouses consist of two rows of cottages facing each other across a green with a chapel at the far end.
They were built by Trinity House, in 1695, with money from a legacy left by Captain Mudd to provide accommodation for ''28 decayed Masters and Commanders of ships or ye widows of such”.
A plaque on the wall plays tribute to Mudd's contribution.
On the gable ends you can see these model sailling ships. These are fibreglass replicas with the original marble models stored in the Museum of London.
Today the cottages are a mix of council and private owned homes.
On the other side of the Almshouses is the Tower Hamlets Mission. The charity was founded by Frederick Charrington, a member of the Charrington brewery family. The charity helps the homeless suffering from alcohol or drug addiction. Although Frederick could have made a fortune working for the family brewery, he decided to spend his life campaigning against brewers, pubs and brothels for their corrupting influence on the local community.
On the wall overlooking the Tower Hamlets Mission is this colourful mural by Mychael Barrett painted in 2011. It celebrates the people and buildings of the area.
This small cinema dates from 1939. It was built on land that had been the site of other places of entertainment since the mid 19th century. When the Paragon theatre was on this site from 1885 acts such as Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy performed here. The building has been used as a cinema since 1912. It changed ownership and its name many times. It was revived in 1999 after being derelict for 10 years and was given the name Genesis. There is a cafe inside as well as art exhibitions.
The houses very much reflect a more prosperous era.
On the other side of the Green is a well preserved advert for bread.
The former school is overshadowed by Stepney Green Court, tenement blocks built in 1896. They were built by the 'Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company'. The company was founded in 1885 by the 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915) to provide 'the industrial classes with commodious and healthy dwellings at a minimum rent' and was mainly aimed at helping the Jewish population in East London. The company was formed as a commercial business and generated financial returns of 4% hence the name.
At the southern end of the Green on a small grassy area is this fountain erected in memory of Leonard Montefiore (1853-1879), an author and philanthropist. It is inscribed '....who loved children and was loved by children.'
On the same grassy area is a square clock tower. It was put up in 1913 to commemorate Alderman Stanley Atkinson (1873-1910), a medical doctor and a Justice of the Peace.
I walked round onto Stepney Way to go and have a look at the farm. There are a number of city farms around London giving children an opportunity to see farm animals close up.
The majority of the work is done by volunteers. The farm sells its own meat and home grown produce to local people in an effort to promote healthy eating.
Across the road from the farm is the church of St Dunstan's and All Saints. On the board outside the church is a brief history of the church.
Time for me to leave this fascinating area with its walk through history especially of Jewish people who made their home here after fleeing persecution in eastern Europe and Russia. Most of the Jews have now moved from this area to Essex and the outer suburbs of London. Their place was taken in the 1970s by the people of Bangladesh and more recently by Eastern Europeans. However, this is no longer an area for the poor or the next wave of immigrants as accommodation becomes more upmarket and expensive. It will be interesting to see what it will be like in years to come.