Survey of London: Volumes 43 and 44, Poplar, Blackwall and Isle of Dogs. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1994.
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The Inland Area
The Pattern of Development
The land was divided into building lots, typically of 15ft or 16ft frontage, and let to developers on long leases. The building agreements that were made before the granting of the leases contained two principal groups of stipulations. The first concerned the size, appearance and quality of the house. Typically, the building's dimensions, the number and height of the storeys, the sizes of the windows and doors, and the standard of the materials and fittings were specified, including such features as the weight of the lead used in the gutterings, the thickness of the timbers employed for the joists, floors, window and door frames, and the composition of the mortar. (fn. 3) The second group detailed the financing of the construction, giving the sum advanced by the landlord to the builder, the rate of interest and the proportion of the advance which the builder could invest in additional ground rent. The advances were invariably provided in the form of building materials, most of which were presumably supplied from Cubitt & Company's own wharf. (fn. 4) They were made in phases after specified stages of the work had been completed and approved by the landlord's agents; in the case of an agreement of 1859 for houses in Samuda Street there were four stages with a total advance of £60, but a more elaborate arrangement for the erection of two houses in Stebondale Street in 1865 specified 21 such stages in a sum of £120. (fn. 5) The agreements also included the conditions to be fulfilled before a lease of the property would be granted, in terms of the stage of the work to be reached and the repayment of the advances.
Such agreements were concluded both with builders erecting one or two houses and those operating on a far larger scale. An agreement between Cubitt and Charles Davis provided for the erection of a public house and a total of 51 houses, in Norfolk Terrace, Manchester Road, and Samuda and Davis Streets, between Midsummer 1856 and Christmas 1860, at a rate of six houses every half year. They were to contain at least six rooms each, Cubitt advancing no more than £60 on each house, a limitation that was raised to £600 in the case of the public house. (fn. 6) A second agreement with Davis was made in 1858 and specified the construction of 42 houses on a frontage of 481ft on the west side of Manchester Road by Michaelmas 1861. They were to be modelled on those already completed in Davis Street and to have at least five rooms each, although the advance of £110 per house that was agreed was substantially greater than that for the slightly larger houses in the earlier agreement. (fn. 7) Davis's third agreement was concluded in 1859, and related to 11 further houses in Samuda Street, with advances of £100 per house. These three agreements alone produced 101 houses and two public houses. Davis was indeed the most active builder in Cubitt Town between the mid-1850s and the mid-1860s, erecting 181 houses and shops and three public houses.
In 1863 Davis was liable for annual ground rents of £533 4s, by far the largest of any tenant of inland ground. (fn. 8) Yet he was by then somewhat overstretched, having had to assign the leases of completed houses to his creditors. (fn. 9) In July 1862 he was declared bankrupt, but, after he had transferred some property to the mortgagors, he was discharged from his bankruptcy. (fn. 10) This proved to be a temporary respite, for by 1866 he had had to assign to a creditor 16 houses in Pier Terrace, on which he owed £1,400 on mortgages, and he had defaulted on the payments on £2,732 that had been advanced to him on mortgage for 16 houses in Stebondale Street. (fn. 11) In 1865 he moved from Wharf Road to Greenwich (fn. 12) and, although he was living in Manchester Road in 1876, (fn. 13) he did little building in Cubitt Town after the mid-1860s.
The next-largest builder in the district in the 1850s and 1860s was Thomas Heigham, who was responsible for about 80 houses erected between 1859 and 1865, including 19 of the 28 houses in Oxford Terrace on Manchester Road and the 31 on the east side of Strattondale Street. (fn. 14) His other ventures were in smaller groups, none containing more than six houses. (fn. 15) By 1867 Heigham had ceased to operate in Cubitt Town and had moved to South Benfleet in Essex. (fn. 16)
Among the other builders who operated on a moderate scale were George Read, Charles and George Foster, and Jonathan Billson. Read erected the George Hotel and 57 houses in Glengall Road, the Fosters were responsible for 28 houses in Stewart Street and Billson erected the Builder's Arms and 26 houses in Stebondale Street. (fn. 17)
Numerous other builders were involved in Cubitt Town, erecting small groups of houses, in some cases only pairs or singles. Such fragmentation of effort occurred even in the building of a single terrace, with a number of builders engaged in the erection of no more than two dozen houses. Some of those who were involved in house construction on a small scale were employed in the riverside carpentry trades, as shipwrights, shipjoiners and sawyers. (fn. 18)
The Chronology of Development
There was comparatively little development in the area during the 1840s and 1850s (Plate 85a). The earliest houses were the 16 built on the east side of Ferry Street between 1843 and 1847 by William Beech of Rotherhithe, a ship-breaker, Richard Alchin, and Frederick Andrews of Store Street, Bedford Square. (fn. 19) They were small twostorey cottages; Alchin's executors sold his six houses in 1877 for £970. (fn. 20) Alchin and Beech were also responsible for Manchester Terrace, later Nos 2A, 2–28 (even) Manchester Road, erected in 1846–7. (fn. 21)
Other early developments included Church Street (known from 1891 to 1937 as Newcastle Street, and since 1937 as Glengarnock Avenue), and parts of the terraces in Manchester Road close by. (fn. 22) The 46 houses in Church Street were erected by Cubitt & Company in the 1850s. The company was potentially the largest builder in Cubitt Town, but apparently constructed little other housing. Its scheme of 1861 for 171 houses at the southern end of Manchester Road and Wharf Road did not mature. (fn. 23)
The northern side of Manchester Road at its southern end was held by Henry Johnson of the Crutched Friars, wine merchant, on a lease taken directly from the Mellish trustees in 1855. The plot had frontages of 613ft on Manchester Road and 284ft on East Ferry Road. (fn. 24) Apart from the Lord Nelson public house, a group of twostorey brick cottages, Nos 3–9 (odd) Manchester Road, (fn. 25) and a single cottage on the East Ferry Road frontage, this land was not developed until the 1920s.
The pace of development in the northern part of the district was equally slow. Wint, Oxford and Norfolk Terraces, including the Manchester Arms public house, (Nos 308–410, even), were built on the east side of Manchester Road between 1853 and 1861 (Plate 92a). (fn. 26) Building had also begun in Samuda, Davis and Stewart Streets to their rear. These three streets were laid out in the mid-1850s and Stewart Street was extended northwards to the Folly Wall in 1861. (fn. 27)
The development of the west side of Manchester Road, on the land retained by the Stratton family, followed the erection of the Queen public house by Henry Smallman in 1855. (fn. 28) Smallman was then licensee of the Prince Albert in Orchard Place, but moved to the Queen shortly afterwards. Having sold the Queen to Nathaniel Clifford, Smallman moved to Islington in 1861, and to Lambeth in 1862. (fn. 29)
Following the erection of the Queen, and an agreement between Smallman and Stratton's trustees dated 12 September 1856, Queen's Place and Queen's Terrace were set out to the south of the public house and later numbered 519–569 (odd) Manchester Road. They were built up during the late 1850s and early 1860s. (fn. 30)
The development of the northern end of East Ferry Road also began during the late 1850s, and stemmed from an agreement of 1857 between the Stratton trustees and William Smallman of the Queen and his partner Richard Strong. Strong had been landlord of the Ivy House Tavern in Brunswick Street, but by the early 1860s was described as a gentleman living close to the Old Kent Road. (fn. 31) The streets laid out off this section of East Ferry Road were Roserton Street - originally designated Lavenham Street - and two short ones on the west side which were initially called Bradfield and Rushbrook Streets, but were later joined as one street, known as Chipka Street. (fn. 32) Of the original cottages, three survive, albeit with much-altered fronts. Nos 4 and 6 East Ferry Road were built in 1858–60 and No. 2 was added in 1886 on a part of the land incorporated into the west side of the street following the abolition in 1885 of tolls levied on traffic, and the subsequent demolition of the single-storey brick toll-house. (fn. 33)
By 1859 there were 204 houses in Cubitt Town, divided roughly equally between the northern and southern parts of the district. (fn. 34) There followed a period of rapid growth, and between 1859 and 1867 there was a fivefold increase in the number of houses. From just over 300 houses recorded in 1861 and 500 in 1863 the number rose sharply and had just exceeded 1,000 by 1867. (fn. 35) In 1864 John Stocker, the Cubitt Town Estate Company's agent, opined that 100 houses had been finished within the previous year and that perhaps 100–150 were then in progress, with demand outstripping supply. (fn. 36) His estimates were actually on the conservative side, for over 300 houses were completed in 1863–5.
In the northern part of the area, by 1867 the whole of the frontage of Manchester Road was developed as far south as its junctions with Glengall Road and Davis Street. Marshfield Street was laid out in 1860 and Strattondale Street in 1862, (fn. 37) and they, with Glengall Road, contained 160 houses in 1867. The northern part of East Ferry Road was close to being fully developed by 1867, with 46 houses added there since 1859. Southern Cubitt Town showed a similar rate of growth: 176 houses had been built in the southern part of Manchester Road since 1859 and building had begun in Johnson, Barque, Ship and Newcastle Streets. Nevertheless, some stretches of the Manchester Road frontage had not been built upon and there was still hardly any housing in Wharf Road. Between 1859 and 1867 the symmetrical plan of the Twenty Acres had been completed, with seven streets connecting Manchester Road to Stebondale Street. The west side of the latter was almost fully developed by 1867 and there had been some building on its eastern side and in Pier Street West and Ship Street North, although none in Parsonage, Billson and Kingfield Streets, and only four houses had been erected in Seysell Street. (fn. 38)
The housing boom in Cubitt Town came to an end in 1867; there was little additional building in that decade and not much during the 1870s. There was a revival of activity during the 1880s, when a number of schemes were produced, although not all of them were implemented. In 1882 the Millwall Dock Company produced a plan to set out Judkin, Roffey and Muggeridge Streets off East Ferry Road, connected at the rear by Aste Street. (fn. 39) This was approved, but the scheme was not carried out as planned; only ten houses were built in Judkin Street, and Muggeridge, Roffey and Aste Streets had not been made up by 1902. (fn. 40) Muggeridge Street was officially abandoned in 1904 and four years later it was agreed that parts of Roffey and Aste Streets would also be abandoned. (fn. 41) Another plan produced in 1882 was to extend Douglas Street (later Douglas Place) in southern Cubitt Town northwards to join a projected extension of Church Street - it was shown on a plan of 1888 in this form, as Railway Road (fn. 42) - but it was never implemented. (fn. 43)
The largest development of the 1880s which was actually executed was the Millwall Docks Station Estate on land acquired by the British Land Company in 1881, where 240 houses were erected. The Company was formed in 1856 to handle the National Freehold Society's land transactions and the two companies operated in conjunction until 1878. Other developments around London promoted by the Company in the 1880s included those at Hornsey, Tottenham and Finchley.
The bulk of the area developed lay between East Ferry Road and the rear of the houses in Strattondale Street, where Galbraith, Plevna, Launch, Castalia and Atworth Streets were set out. There were two detached parcels, one in Roserton Street which was acquired for St John's church, and the other in Chipka Street. (fn. 44) The building lots were auctioned in 1881–2. The statement in the advertisement that the estate was 'within a few minutes ride of the city' was merely a harmless piece of exaggeration. (fn. 45)
The largest developers were John Smeathers Wood and John Harman Hunt, matchmakers of Stratford they traded as John H. Hunt & Company until Hunt's death in 1887 (fn. 46) - who were responsible for the erection of 97 houses. (fn. 47) Alfred Firmin of Bow, gentleman, built 35 houses on East Ferry Road. (fn. 48) The other developers operated on a smaller scale, typically building fewer than a dozen houses each. The estate was built up during the 1880s, with the exception of 26 houses added in Galbraith Street during the following decade. (fn. 49)
Many of the other houses erected during the 1880s filled gaps in the existing street frontages: for example, two terraces on the west side of East Ferry Road (Nos 70–114, even), (fn. 50) the groups in Chipka and Judkin Streets (fn. 51) and Nos 5–39 (odd) on the southern side of Glengall Road. (fn. 52) In southern Cubitt Town, William Buckland erected 109 houses in Seysell, Billson and Parsonage Streets, Pier Street West, Manchester Road and Wharf Road, and Frank Chambers of Burdett Road added 17 houses to Olliffe Terrace (Nos 176–202C Manchester Road). (fn. 53)
Building in the new streets laid out on the Millwall Docks Station Estate and infilling elsewhere brought the number of houses to almost 1,500 by the mid-1890s. Nevertheless, some frontages remained unoccupied, including stretches along Manchester Road, and the projected streets west of Stebondale Street had not been laid out because the ground had been purchased for the Millwall Docks. The plan of the district therefore remained in broad outline as it had appeared in 1859, with the two areas of residential development connected by the narrow 'waist' of Manchester Road in the vicinity of Dorset Terrace.
Cubitt Town was typical of other nineteenth-century developments in London, with a number of public houses erected during the early stages of building to accommodate those involved with the construction work.
The Queen, erected by Henry Smallman, occupies a prominent position at the junction of Manchester and East Ferry Roads (Plate 89b). The core building of 1855–6 (fn. 54) is a three-storey brick structure of three bays on the longer sides and two bays on the north front. The ground floor was faced with stone, decorated with pilasters under a heavy cornice. In 1875 the building was enlarged by the addition of a two-storey range on the south side and a single-storey one on the north, built by Samuel Salt. (fn. 55) The facing and cornice were extended to these additions. Stables were built in the yard to the rear in the 1850s. There was some rebuilding of the stables and other parts of the buildings in 1924. (fn. 56)
Smallman was also responsible for the Cubitt Arms, No. 262 Manchester Road, built in 1864. In 1869 his interest was bought by the Millwall Canal Company for £3,760. (fn. 57) The premises were let to Trumans the brewers in 1873, and they retained them thereafter. (fn. 58) The Cubitt Arms is a three-storey brick building with stone dressings, having three bays on both the Manchester Road and Olliffe Street frontages. The stone parapet, some of the window mouldings and the stone cappings of the chimneys were removed during the 1960s, giving the building a plain, indeed somewhat bald, appearance. (fn. 59) The two surviving three-storey houses adjoining the Cubitt Arms, Nos 264 and 266 Manchester Road, were erected in accordance with a building agreement taken by Mrs Anne Dix of Greenwich in 1864. (fn. 60) The front wall of No. 264 was rebuilt in 1920 and the house was repaired in 1951 following wartime bomb damage. The building firm of Frank & Thomas Thorne occupied No. 266 from 1898 until 1952, together with buildings erected on adjoining ground that had been part of London Street before its closure. (fn. 61)
Charles Davis was the builder of the Pier Tavern, the Manchester Arms and the London Tavern - Nos 283, 308 and 393 Manchester Road - in 1863, 1858 and 1859–60 respectively. (fn. 62) The Pier Tavern is the only one to have survived. It is a three-storey corner building of brick, with three bays on Manchester Road and a single-bay rear addition along Pier Street. Both the Manchester Arms and the London Tavern were substantial buildings of three storeys with basements. (fn. 63) For a brief period during the mid-1880s the London Tavern was a 'cooperative public house' managed by a society. (fn. 64) The Manchester Arms was badly damaged during the Second World War and the site was cleared; the London Tavern survived, but was demolished in 1954. (fn. 65)
Two public houses from the 1850s have survived in southern Cubitt Town. The Newcastle Arms was built in 1853, apparently by Cubitt & Company. (fn. 66) In 1908 it was advertised as 'The most Comfortable House on the Island'. (fn. 67) It is a brick, stucco-fronted building of three storeys, originally of three bays on each frontage, with balconies at the first-floor windows (Plate 89d). There is a single-storey side extension. It once boasted the largest range of Scotch whisky in the East End. In 1962 it became one of the first Dockland outposts of fashion when the writer and broadcaster Dan Farson became the licensee, renaming it the Waterman's Arms and making it into an early example of a 'theme' pub. Farson's declared aim was to create something of an old-time music-hall atmosphere. For a time the Waterman's Arms enjoyed a 'trendy' reputation. In September 1963 an exhibition was held there of portraits by Dr Stephen Ward, who had committed suicide a few weeks earlier following his involvement in the Profumo scandal. Later a BBC show was hosted at the pub. The interior was remodelled to the designs of Roderick Gradidge in 1972. (fn. 68) The Lord Nelson was built by Henry Johnson at the junction of Manchester Road and East Ferry Road in 1855. (fn. 69) It is a three-storey brick building with stone dressings and the curved corner characteristic of public houses of the period. Originally, the corner was surmounted by an aedicular niche containing a statue of Lord Nelson, and there was a stone balustrade, but these features have been removed (Plate 81a). A stable erected to the rear c1861 was adapted for commercial use and, from the 1930s, was occupied by a firm of mechanical engineers. (fn. 70)
Both the Dorset Arms and the George Hotel have been rebuilt on their original sites. The Dorset Arms, No. 377 Manchester Road, was one of the four houses in Dorset Terrace built by James and Richard Bowley in 1860–4. A licence to retail ale and beer was obtained in 1861, and James Bowley was described in 1863 as an 'eatinghouse keeper'. (fn. 71) By 1883 the establishment, which had incorporated No. 379, was known as the Dorset Arms. In that year Ann Bowley sublet the buildings and in 1898 the lease passed to the brewers Mann, Crossman & Paulin. (fn. 72) In 1913 Nos 377–379 were demolished and a new double-fronted two-storey brick public house was erected on the site by C. & W. Crampton of Forest Gate. (fn. 73) In 1960 a single-storey kitchen range was added to the rear and a lavatory block was built on the south side. (fn. 74)
The George Hotel, No. 114 Glengall Grove, stands at the junction of East Ferry Road and Glengall Grove. The original building was erected in 1864–5 by George Read, who was also responsible for 57 houses in Glengall Grove. (fn. 75) It was an imposing three-storey structure of brick with stone dressings, having ten bays on the East Ferry Road frontage and three on Glengall Grove, with a coach-house and stable in the yard (Plate 89a). (fn. 76) Its prominent position close to the docks and station was exploited by its landlords: rooms were available for businessmen's meetings and dining rooms and a large billiards room for their relaxation. (fn. 77) In 1889–90 William Clark, the licensee, was instrumental in relocating Millwall Rovers football club, which then became Millwall Athletic, at a new ground nearby, and the George became the club's headquarters. (fn. 78) In 1895 Clark's successor, Lewis Innocent, mortgaged the premises to Watney Combe Reid, which acquired the freehold in 1927. (fn. 79) In 1932 the building was demolished and replaced by the present structure, erected by H. C. Horswill Ltd of Forest Gate, (fn. 80) which occupies a rather shorter frontage on East Ferry Road than did its predecessor. It is a plain two-storey brick building, with shallow pediments on both frontages. A chimney block is placed on the angled street corner. The ground floor was arranged with a saloon at the northern end, a public bar and tap- and club-room at the southern one, with a small private bar in the centre of the East Ferry Road front. (fn. 81)
There were three other public houses in the district, all destroyed as a result of enemy bombing during the Second World War. The Princess of Wales, No. 84 Manchester Road, was 'very much built' by the end of 1862, when it was described as 'a large & costly building'. (fn. 82) It had three storeys over a basement cellar, with four bars and a bar-parlour on the ground floor. (fn. 83) The Builder's Arms, No. 99 Stebondale Street, was built in 1864 at the junction with the intended extension of Billson Street. (fn. 84) It was rebuilt in 1891–2 by J. Godfrey & Son of Clapton, for Whitbreads. The new building was a three-storey structure described as a 'large property'. (fn. 85) At the northern end of the district was the Prince of Wales, which stood on the river side of the Folly Wall, off the east side of Stewart Street. It was built by 1859 and later came into the ownership of Mann, Crossman & Company (Plate 85c). (fn. 86) A two-storey building, it was in poor order by the 1910s. (fn. 87)
In addition to the public houses, a coffee palace was built by the Glengall Coffee Palace Company in 1883 at the junction of Glengall Road and Manchester Road. It was of a more modest design than the three-storey structure originally proposed, (fn. 88) consisting of a single storey, covered by a zinc roof, with two large roundheaded windows on the street front that appear to be more appropriate for a workshop than a place of resort. (fn. 89) It contained a small hall, with offices at the rear in a half basement and two small rooms over the offices. (fn. 90) It was used initially as a coffee tavern, later as a laundry and from c1900 until c1919 by the Island Branch of the Poplar Liberal and Radical Association. (fn. 91)
The houses constructed in the 1850s and 1860s were typically of two and three storeys over basements, with two rooms on each floor, and rear-addition wash-houses (Plate 92a). Many had parapets, but they were not of a uniform appearance or layout because of the variety of the sites and the numbers of builders involved. They cost approximately £200 each. (fn. 92) The taller houses tended to be those which contained purpose-built shops and they were placed at or close to the ends of the terraces. Some shops were built in groups, such as the six in Queen's Place at Nos 555–569 (odd) Manchester Road.
Those houses which were erected in the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s were slightly different in that they were generally of two storeys, only a few of them had basements and it was more common for them to have three than two rooms on each floor. Many of the houses of that period had bay windows.
There were a few exceptions to the general types. Glengall Road contained two houses which, in style and size, were unusual in nineteenth-century Cubitt Town. No. 41 stood at the corner of a short street, which was never developed, opposite Strattondale Street. It was a double-fronted house of three storeys which was occupied by doctors. To the rear were a two-stall stable and a coach-house. (fn. 93) The Priory, No. 45, was also doublefronted, with basement, ground and first floors. The original house was begun by George Read, who took a lease of the site in 1866, but he was unable to complete the building and in 1874 a new lease was granted to George Herring of Marylebone, who undertook to spend £400 pulling down the existing carcase and replacing it with a house of at least eight rooms. (fn. 94) Between 1895 and 1898 it was occupied by two young men who had trained as doctors before establishing the Priory, where they lived according to Benedictine rules as 'the Monks of Cubitt Town'. The house was then fitted up with a chapel, library and club-room. (fn. 95) Experiencing something of a change of fortune, and the building of an extension, the house was converted in 1912 as the Millwall and Cubitt Town Unionist Club, which was generously described at its opening as 'almost like a West End club' which was 'really charming'. (fn. 96) It remained in that use until closed by war damage in 1941. (fn. 97) The building was replaced by a detached house in 1957. (fn. 98)
At the other end of the housing spectrum were Nos 1–8 Davis Street, which were tenements, referred to as 'double houses', each containing four two-roomed tenements with wash-house and yard to the rear. (fn. 99) They were in such a bad condition by 1890 that they were temporarily closed as unfit for habitation. (fn. 100)
One of the problems of the housing in Cubitt Town was that many basements were liable to flooding during periods of heavy rainfall, when the sewers were unable to carry the sudden increase in volume. The difficulty was reported in 1866 and, although the completion of the outfall sewer alleviated it for a time, became increasingly frequent during the 1880s, with particularly severe flooding after storms in June 1880 and June and July 1888. (fn. 101) The completion of the pumping station at Stewart Street in 1889 did reduce the incidence of flooding, but did not remove the problem. The area was affected during the disastrous flooding on 7 January 1928, when the river overflowed at Johnson's drawdock. (fn. 102)
The Medical Officer of Health found it 'scarcely credible that . . . it is possible to build houses with sunken basements, without the intervention of concrete or other impervious layers on low-lying, damp soil difficult to drain and sewer and liable to floods and overflow of sewage'. Nevertheless, a report of 1890 showed that there were 711 houses in Cubitt Town with basements. (fn. 103) Many were found to be in a 'deplorable unsanitary condition' with foul and moist basements, and rising damp, which was partly attributable to the use of poor materials. There were occasional outbreaks of scarlet fever. (fn. 104) The houses were, in general, poorly built and badly maintained; by the 1910s many were in bad repair and the streets appeared 'dreary, slummy' presenting 'ugly vistas'. (fn. 105) Those in Davis and Samuda Streets were singled out as being in a dilapidated condition by the end of the nineteenth century. (fn. 106) The state of the houses in Olliffe Street attracted the attention of the LCC in the 1900s and some were pulled down as a result. (fn. 107) Even so, there had been little clearance of condemned buildings in the district by 1939.
Wartime bombing caused extensive destruction and damage throughout Cubitt Town. The number of houses fell from more than 1,600 in 1937 to fewer than 700 in 1948. By 1945 terraces to the north of the London Tavern and south of the Queen, the greater part of the east side of Manchester Road north of Davis Street, the majority of the buildings in Glengall Grove and a few houses in East Ferry Road, Galbraith, Launch and Chipka Streets, remained, but virtually all of the other housing in those streets had been cleared. The library in Strattondale Street also survived the bombing, yet all of the other buildings in Strattondale, Marshfield, Plevna and Castalia Streets had been destroyed. In the southern part of the district most of the housing on the west side of Manchester Road north of Kingfield Street and south of Glengarnock Avenue was still standing in 1945, as was that on the east side, south of Christ Church, with the exception of Nos 50–60 (even) in the former Johnson Terrace. The majority of the other houses in Manchester Road were destroyed and very few remained in the other streets, for the bombing had cut a wide swathe through the buildings on the Twenty Acres. (fn. 108)
St John's Church, Roserton Street (demolished)
The District Chapelry of St John's, Cubitt Town, was created in 1873. (fn. 109) It had its origins in St Paul's Mission, established in 1866, which held its services in a wooden hut near the Millwall Docks. (fn. 110)
In 1868–9 a new school was built on a patch of waste ground to the west of Manchester Road, purchased with the help of the Bishop of London's Fund from the estate of the late William Stratton. (fn. 111) The building was erected facing Roserton Street, and an adjoining site was reserved for a new church and parsonage (see below). (fn. 112) St Paul's National Schools opened in October 1869, and for the next three years the Mission's services were held in the school buildings. (fn. 113)
In 1870 Mrs Isabelle Laurie, a 'munificent Churchwoman' from Maxwelton in Scotland, offered the Bishop of London money to build a new church wherever one was most urgently needed. (fn. 114) The impoverished mission of St Paul's was selected and by 1871 work was under way on the new church, which was consecrated, under the new name of St John's, in December 1872. (fn. 115) Presumably because the available site was constricted by the school, the church was aligned north-south - the sole instance of this unorthodoxy among Poplar's Anglican churches. (The orientations used here are liturgical, not geographical.)
St John's was designed by (Sir) A. W. Blomfield (1829–99). One of his many London church commissions of the 1870s and 1880s, it was in an Early English style, in keeping with the existing school buildings. The plan was basically a rectangle, with windowless lean-to aisles flanking the high nave, and a dais between two small transepts at the east end forming the chancel (fig. 191). The bays on either side of the small sanctuary were used as a porch and a vestry. The rather static plan fails to convey the movement Blomfield managed to incorporate into the design (Plate 91b). The church was of stock brick with relieving bands of black, white and red bricks, and dressings of Bath stone. The roof was covered with Whitland Abbey green slates, with a small bell-turret on the western gable. The absence of a west door (access to the church was via side doors) permitted the west front to be composed with a large buttress rising between a pair of coupled lights with circular cinquefoils, surmounted by an elongated sexfoil in the gable above. (This west front was similar, except for being in brick not stone, to that of St Peter's-in-Eastgate, Lincoln, recently completed to Blomfield's design.) The original east window of three plain lancets had glass by Bell & Almond of Fitzroy Square. Further light - all from a high level - came from the nave clerestory, and from a large rose window in the south transept gable and a triple lancet in the north gable. Inside, the walls were of exposed brick in patterns, and the timber roof was of hammer-beam construction in the chancel. The church was furnished with open benches of stained and varnished deal, with a chancel screen, choir stalls and other fittings of pitched pine. The tiled chancel and sanctuary floors were by Godwin of the Lugwardine Tile Works, Herefordshire. The building contractors were Dove Brothers of Islington, and the total cost of the work was £5,255. (fn. 116)
The 1880s and 1890s witnessed considerable growth and development at St John's, reflected in a series of expensive alterations to the church funded by Mrs John Gladstone, niece of the earlier benefactress, Mrs Laurie. These included the complete remodelling of the east end in 1887–8 by Sanders & Parsley, builders, of St Marylebone, to designs by Satchell & Edwards of Norfolk Street, Strand. The chancel and sanctuary floors were raised and a new traceried stained-glass window of five lights was inserted at the east end (Plate 91d). The south-transept vestry was converted into a side chapel, and new choir and clergy vestries were built at the north-east of the church. (fn. 117) These were replaced in 1913 with new vestries built by Griggs & Son of Manchester Road. (fn. 118)
St John's appears to have been the most vigorous and active of the three original Island parishes, and throughout its history was noted for its 'high' Anglo-Catholic practices. Attendances at the church exceeded those at Christ Church and St Luke's in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, (fn. 119) and by 1939 the annual attendance figures for St John's had reached 6,000, ten times those of Christ Church. (fn. 120)
St John's was damaged during air raids in 1941 and was abandoned and eventually demolished in the 1950s. Worship continued in a temporary 'church' in the clubhouse on the opposite side of Roserton Street. (fn. 121) Between 1939 and 1947 St John's lost 90 per cent of its communicants, and the three Island parishes were merged in 1952. (fn. 122) The old mission hall adjoining the club-house was refitted as the new church and dedicated in 1955. Attendances continued to fall, and in 1965 the congregations of St John's and Christ Church were combined and Christ Church was rededicated as the Church of Christ and St John. (fn. 123) St John's church and hall were demolished following fire damage in 1970.
St John's Schools (demolished)
Originally called St Paul's National Schools, these were built in 1868–9. This Early English building of yellow stock brick, with decorative bands and dressings of red brick and idiosyncratic detailing, was designed by Thomas Henry Watson (c1839–1913). His scheme comprised a large single-storey mixed schoolroom, with a smaller adjoining classroom for infants. Dove Brothers of Islington enlarged the infants' section in 1872, and additions and enlargements were made by the builders Arthur Porter of Tottenham, in 1893–4, and S. J. Scott of London Wall, in 1900–1, both to designs by J. E. K. and J. P. Cutts. (fn. 124) The school buildings were badly damaged during the Second World War and were demolished soon after. (fn. 125)
St John's Vicarage, Castalia Street (demolished)
This was built in 1876, to the south of the church and schools, by Thomas Ennor of Commercial Road to designs by Ewan Christian (1814–95). (fn. 126) A grant of £500 was provided by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners towards the cost. (fn. 127) This capacious two-storey brick house stood in a walled garden with entrance gates on Galbraith Street and East Ferry Road. (fn. 128) During the Second World War the vicarage was destroyed by a direct hit. In 1955 it was replaced by a new clergy-house in Castalia Square, adjoining the mission hall. (fn. 129) Nos 521 and 523 Manchester Road were also built at this time, on the other side of the mission hall and club-house. This is known as St Mildred's House and continues the name of the former Anglican settlement in Millwall (see page 461).
Roserton Street (north side)
The trustees of the Bishop of London's Fund acquired a block of plots on the north side of Roserton Street from the British Land Company, and in 1885–6 a spacious mission hall was erected there, together with a house for the verger and senior curate. Additions were made to this group in 1892, and in 1897 a large two-storey workmen's club-house was built adjoining the hall. A second club-house, for boys, was erected to the west of the clergy house in 1900. (fn. 130) Of this group only the hall and club-house survived the Second World War, to be refitted as the new church and hall respectively (see above). They were demolished in the 1970s to make way for the new Island House community centre.
Island House was built for the Presbyterian Church of England in 1972, replacing St Paul's Presbyterian Church in Westferry Road. Designed as a 'showpiece' social centre, the three-storey complex includes a church believed to be the last Presbyterian church built in England: shortly after its completion the Presbyterian Church of England amalgamated with the Congregational Church to form the United Reformed Church. The cost of building was about £45,000, of which nearly a fifth was met by grants from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the Government's Urban Programme. (fn. 131)
Public Library, Strattondale Street
During a speech at Guildhall in May 1902, Andrew Carnegie offered to finance the construction of public libraries. (fn. 132) The Mayor of Poplar, who was there, responded with alacrity to the offer; within a month it had been agreed that £15,000 would be provided for the erection of libraries at Bromley and Cubitt Town. (fn. 133) The vacant site of almost 1,900 square yards between Strattondale Street and Galbraith Street was acquired from Lady Margaret Charteris for £1,150. (fn. 134) The Borough Surveyor and the Librarian drew up a draft plan of the accommodation which was required. (fn. 135) Designs were invited, with an upper cost limit of £4,000, and that by C. Harrold Norton of Bloomsbury was selected from the 33 submitted. (fn. 136) The building contractors were Messrs Watts, Johnson & Company. (fn. 137) The cost of construction was £4,821 13s 7d, and furnishing, fees and the purchase of the site brought the total expense to £6,805 13s 10d, which was met out of the Carnegie funds. (fn. 138) The ground that had not been required for the building was landscaped as public gardens. (fn. 139)
The building was designed in a free Classical style, with a front block of Bath stone from the Monk's Park quarries (Plate 90a; fig. 192). Its pitched roof has, at its centre, a copper-covered cupola. The single-storey portions to the rear are built of London stocks and have flat roofs, with an octagonal dome to light the reference room. The library facilities were placed on the ground floor, with the caretaker's accommodation in the upper storey of the front block.
Most of the ceiling in the lending department fell to the floor seven years after the building was completed and there was some bomb damage during the Second World War; full restoration of the fabric followed both of those misfortunes. (fn. 140) Because of the need for a hall on the Isle of Dogs which could be used for public meetings and social events, in the early 1960s it was decided to convert the newspaper reading room and erect a flank extension, providing a hall with seating for approximately 140. (fn. 141) The scheme was prepared by Messrs Welch & Lander and the contract was granted to Yates of Bow. The cost was £18,037 and the work was completed by June 1962. (fn. 142)
In 1874 the School Board for London drew up plans to erect a school for 546 children on the south side of Glengall Road. Vacant land with a frontage of 334ft was purchased from the Charteris estate at a cost of £3,020. (fn. 143) The designs were by the Board's architect, E. R. Robson (1835–1917), and the builder was Thomas Ennor of Commercial Road, Limehouse. (fn. 144) The cost, excluding the site, was £9,529 and the school opened in August 1876. (fn. 145)
By 1878 it was realized that the school was too small and Robson designed an extension providing 194 places. The building work was executed by Messrs Sheffield & Prebble of Poplar in 1880 and the total cost was £2,167. (fn. 146)
Only three years later a proposal was made for a much greater enlargement, adding 795 places. With Robson again acting as architect, the work was carried out in 1884–5 by Messrs Perry & Company of Bow. The new building provided twelve schoolrooms and three teachers' rooms at a cost of £9,847. (fn. 147)
Plans for the enlargement of the school were made in 1895, 1914 and the late 1920s, but none of them was implemented. (fn. 148) Nevertheless, the site was enlarged by the purchase of a strip of land 20ft deep along the whole of the rear boundary, acquired from the Port of London Authority for £1,500, and land on the east side was also acquired. (fn. 149)
In 1935 a further plan was produced, with accommodation for 440 juniors and 368 infants. (fn. 150) The building work was carried out by Albert Monk of Lower Edmonton in 1938–9. As with the earlier buildings on the site, the extra foundation work required was relatively expensive at £4,065. The total estimated cost was £36,512. (fn. 151) The school is a two- and three-storey brick building, with four-storey Italianate towers at the north-west and southeast corners. A two-storey house for the schoolkeeper was provided at the east end of the site.
The London School Plan of 1953 envisaged that the Glengall Grove School, then the only secondary school on the Island, would eventually become a primary school. (fn. 152) This reorganization was planned in 1969. The plans were prepared by the GLC's Department of Architecture and Civic Design, and were approved in 1970. They provided for the transfer of the Cubitt Town Primary School from Saunders Ness Road to Glengall Grove and the conversion of the buildings to accommodate separate junior and infant sections, with 560 places, and nursery classes. This involved some adaptation, including additions to the rear of the building and the construction of a larger central front porch. The tendered price was £98,599 and the work was carried out in 1970–1. (fn. 153) In addition, the eastern part of the street was closed and incorporated into the school grounds. (fn. 154)
The 1953 plan also included the enlargement of the site by the acquisition of land on the north side of the street, including Nos 2–10 (even). A prefabricated timber building was erected there in 1955 at an estimated cost of £10,853, providing a handicrafts centre. (fn. 155) It later became the Lansbury Adult Centre, with two Stephenson Huts added as part of the reorganization in the early 1970s, providing a common-room, handicrafts rooms and store. (fn. 156)
The two mission halls in Cubitt Town were erected in Glengall Road and Stebondale Street in 1879–80 and 1881 respectively. (fn. 157)
That in Glengall Road was designed by H. H. Bridgman and built by J. R. Hunt of Bow Common on his tender of £826. (fn. 158) The building was of two storeys and three bays, with an adjoining single-storey flank building on its east side. It contained a hall which seated 400, two classrooms, a soup kitchen and residential accommodation for the City Missionary. (fn. 159) A part of the London City Mission from 1929, the building was shattered by bombing in 1941. In 1955 it was replaced by a new single-storey hall, with a missionary's residence, designed by Thomas & Thomas of Paddington. (fn. 160)
The hall in Stebondale Street was built in 1881 by W. H. Jones, a local man, who added an extension in 1883. (fn. 161) It was a single-storey building with a small room at the rear. (fn. 162) Also one of the City Mission's halls, it remained in use until c1948. (fn. 163)
Primitive Methodist Church, Manchester Road (demolished)
The chapel stood on the west side of Manchester Road, close to the junction with Glengall Grove. The first Primitive Methodist building here was begun, on a leasehold site, by Thomas Ennor of Limehouse in 1862, when the foundation stone was laid by Joseph Westwood of the neighbouring firm of Westwood, Baillie & Company, marine engineers. (fn. 164) The building appears as the Jubilee Chapel in the Post Office Directory in 1869. It is said to have cost £800 and it held 150 worshippers. (fn. 165) The architect is not known. The building was a simple rectangle, externally about 30ft by 40ft, of brick, probably 'white', dressed with stone under a pitched and slated roof. The front facing east to Manchester Road was a sober Doric composition divided into three bays by pilasters supporting an entablature from which rose a fullwidth, steep-sided pediment. The central bay contained a straight-headed doorcase under a bracketed cornice, approached by eight steps, and the side bays each contained a round-headed window. (fn. 166) There was a schoolroom below the chapel. (fn. 167) The building was extended backwards in 1878 and again in 1891, increasing the accommodation to 450. (fn. 168)
In 1904–5, after the freehold of the site had been acquired from Lady Margaret Charteris, the chapel was completely rebuilt by the local builders F. & T. Thorne to designs by a Nottingham architect, Henry Harper (fig. 193). Of red brick in Flemish bond, with stone dressings, the new chapel was in a rather stunted Gothic, with lancet windows except for the big window with panel tracery in its head that occupied the centre of the entrance front. The chapel was still raised above the schoolroom, its floor sloping down to the pulpit at the west end. The side pews were canted towards the pulpit while those nearest it were faced inwards stall-wise. (fn. 169) The very minimal Gothic of the interior joinery was slightly enhanced. (fn. 170) Despite the revolution in style, the new church contrived to be as Nonconformist-looking as its predecessor.
The Handel Works at Islington had supplied a new organ in 1882, replaced by another, by Walter or Joshua Porritt of Leicester, in 1906. (fn. 171)
The church was demolished in 1978, at a cost to Poplar Methodist Mission of £2,200. (fn. 172)
The Church of Christ and St John (formerly Christ Church), Manchester Road
The erection of Christ Church is a modest example of the privately funded church-building inspired by C. J. Blomfield, Bishop of London from 1828 until 1856. His aim was to rescue London from 'irreligion and vice' by dividing it into 'manageable districts, each with its place of worship, its schools, and its local institutions', to be provided with the help of local owners of land and property. (fn. 173) The population of the parish of All Saints had been expanding throughout the early nineteenth century, and the development of Cubitt Town in the 1840s increased the need for a new church to serve the growing community on the Isle of Dogs.
In 1847 William Cubitt offered the Bishop of London a site for a new church and a donation towards its construction, but these proposals do not appear to have been taken further. (fn. 174) By 1852 Cubitt had begun the new church himself, (fn. 175) and it was built entirely at his own expense by Cubitt & Company. The site selected was towards the southern end of Manchester Road on part of the land leased by him from the Countess of Glengall in 1842. By May 1853 the building had advanced 'far beyond the carcase stage' with both the tower and spire completed, (fn. 176) and the church was apparently finished in 1854, at a cost of £6,500. (fn. 177) The church and land were given to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners by Cubitt and the Countess of Glengall in 1855, (fn. 178) but the interior was not considered fit for the performance of divine service, and Christ Church was not consecrated until January 1857. (fn. 179) The district chapelry of Christ Church, for which local residents headed by Cubitt had agitated, was formally constituted in 1860. (fn. 180)
The church was designed by Frederick Johnstone, a pupil of H. R. Abraham. (fn. 181) It is a simple Early English building, cruciform in plan (Plates 85a, 91a; fig. 194). Adjoining the south transept is a bell-tower surmounted by a broach spire decorated with lucarnes and gablets, rising to a height of about 140ft. (There is a similar tower and spire at the Church of St Anne, Highgate, another Early English church designed by Johnstone and built by Cubitt & Company in the 1850s.) The building is of brick with dressings of Portland stone. The bricks were originally white but have severely discoloured with age, and the dressings were said to incorporate some stone from the London Bridge demolished in 1832. (fn. 182)
The interior of the church is plain, with rather wide transepts and a narrow chancel, but the disproportionate limbs of the building are unified by the stained-wood open roof. A timber gallery in the south transept houses the organ loft. (The original organ by Walker was replaced in 1911.) (fn. 183) Seats were provided for 500, of which 120 were free. (fn. 184)
Among many repairs and alterations at Christ Church in the early years of the twentieth century were the refounding and resinking of the foundations and the complete reglazing, relighting and reseating of the church. (fn. 185) The original cramped vestry abutting the north transept was enlarged in 1906–7 by Griggs & Son of Cubitt Town to designs by J. E. K. and J. P. Cutts, and in 1909 a new baptistery was formed beneath the belltower. (fn. 186) Further repairs followed both World Wars.
The major change to the appearance of the church was the rearrangement of the chancel interior in the 1950s to its present form. The original plain-glass eastern triplet window was filled with hardboard sections bearing representations of Christ, St John and St Luke photographically enlarged from sketches by Alan Lindsay, and the chancel walls were lined with pink and red wallpaper made by Coles of Mortimer Street. The architect of the new chancel was J. Morris. (fn. 187) More recent alterations include the conversion of the space beneath the church into a community youth centre and the fitting-out, in 1983, of a new parish office and kitchen at the west end of the nave, with a meeting room on the floor above. (fn. 188)
Christ Church is now a Grade B Listed Building, primarily for its importance as a local landmark and for its collection of Art Nouveau and Pre-Raphaelite interior furnishings. These include a mural above the chancel arch showing Christ in Glory Adored by Angels, designed by J. R. Spencer Stanhope (1829–1908) and painted by F. A. Jackson of Ealing; a carved and gilded oak pulpit (a gift of Miss Spencer Stanhope in memory of her brother) with panels of the Annunciation painted by John Melhuish Strudwick (1849–1937) (Plate 91c); and a series of 12 pictures of the Stations of the Cross, by Ian Howgate of the Faith Craft Works in St Albans, c1938, from the Church of St John, Roserton Street. (fn. 189) In 1991 stained-glass windows from the demolished St Mildred's House in Westferry Road were installed in the Lady Chapel (see page 461).
By 1858 Cubitt had also built a two-storey brick parsonage on land adjoining the new church, facing Manchester Road. The building cost £1,319, paid for by Cubitt and other local residents. The parsonage and surrounding land were conveyed free to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in October 1859. (fn. 190)
The Christ Church National Schools buildings were erected at the northern end of the church lands in 1866 (see below). They served as a Sunday School and as parish rooms for games, society meetings and concerts until the construction of a new church hall between the parsonage and the old school buildings in 1914. (fn. 191) Built of multi-coloured bricks, the hall had a 'novel and pleasant appearance', with an attractive semi-circular plastered ceiling. The architect was Dudley Newman of Broadway, Westminster, and the building contractors were Griggs & Son. The hall cost about £3,500, much of it provided by local benefactors. (fn. 192) Both the church hall and the Billson Street buildings were damaged during the Second World War and demolished in the 1960s. The site was obtained by the Metropolitan Police, who have a temporary station facing Manchester Road.
The destruction of Island churches during the Second World War and the subsequent fall in population resulted in the amalgamation of parishes and congregations. In July 1952 the three parishes of the Isle of Dogs were united under the title of the Parish of Christ Church with St John and St Luke, with Christ Church as the parish church. (fn. 193) Following the closure of the church of St John in Roserton Street it was decided that Cubitt Town should have only one church, and in 1965 Christ Church was renamed the Church of Christ and St John. (fn. 194)
The land to the east of the church and parsonage was not built on until the 1970s, when it was sold for private housing. The development at Nos 71–91 (odd) Saunders Ness Road comprises two blocks of six and five houses, of two storeys, containing two and three bedrooms, with penthouses, flat roofs and roof gardens, of inky buff brick with projecting dark-blue brick piers between the houses, first-floor balconies, integral garages and tiled patio gardens. They were completed in 1972 by the Essex Construction Company of East Ham. (fn. 195)
St Luke's School
The provision of adequate educational facilities was regarded as an early step towards the improvement of southern Cubitt Town, where the Rev. William John Caparn, the first incumbent of Christ Church, found the 'general moral condition' to be 'very low indeed'. (fn. 196) Christ Church National Schools were built by George Limn, of Mellish Street, on the church's land on the south side of Billson Street and were opened in 1866. They consisted of a block of plain single- and two-storey brick buildings designed by Hooper & Lewis of Fenchurch Street, with places for 570 children. The estimated cost was £1,760, which was raised by voluntary subscriptions and a number of grants. (fn. 197) There was no endowment, however, and financial difficulties, exacerbated by the unsatisfactory condition of the buildings, forced the managers to transfer the schools to the London School Board in 1876. (fn. 198) Indeed, the state of the building was such that in 1888 the Board decided to erect a new school with greater accommodation and its lease of the Christ Church Schools was terminated in 1891. (fn. 199)
The Board paid £2,371 for a vacant site of almost one acre with frontages to Wharf Road, Billson and Seysell Streets, and prepared plans for a school with 800 places. The building was erected by E. Lawrance & Sons of the City Road, at a total cost of £17,152, and was opened in 1891. (fn. 200) It was of three storeys, with stock bricks, redbrick dressings, and a tiled roof. A schoolkeeper's house was built at the corner of Billson Street and Wharf Road. (fn. 201)
In 1909 a manual training centre with facilities for 20 boys was added. It was constructed by Newell & Lusty of Poplar at an estimated cost of £857. (fn. 202) Plans prepared in 1912–14 provided for the acquisition of the adjoining area facing Billson Street, containing Perseverance House and Yard, and the erection of additional buildings, but these were not proceeded with because of the First World War. (fn. 203)
In 1934 further proposals were made for the enlargement of the building, but a complete reconstruction was preferred. The adjacent ground was acquired, enlarging the site to 1.1 acres, and plans were prepared by the LCC's Architect's Department, the architect in charge being H. F. T. Cooper. In 1936 the building contract was awarded to W. H. Gaze & Sons, of Kingstonupon-Thames, on their tender of £35,416. Designed to accommodate 224 infants and 640 seniors, the four-storey brick building was completed in 1938. The total capital estimate was for £42,876, including the cost of pile foundations and furnishings. (fn. 204)
The extent of the damage caused by bombing in 1940 necessitated the rebuilding of much of the school. The architect was Howard V. Lobb, and his solution to the problem of incorporating the surviving parts of the 1930s building into the new structure was to adapt them for use chiefly as cloakrooms and lavatories, rebuild the classroom block on three storeys, and add a single-storey wing at the northern end of the group for the assembly halls and the catering unit. The builders were H. T. Oliver & Sons, and the estimated cost was £89,000. The school, containing 320 places, was completed in 1952. It contains a mural by W. Kempster and B. Evans, portraying the docks and the Greenwich Observatory. (fn. 205)
Following the closure of the Cubitt Town School, the buildings were adapted for use by primary-age children. They were reopened in 1972 as the St Luke's Primary School, which was transferred from its site in Westferry Road. (fn. 206)
Cubitt Town Wesleyan Chapel (demolished)
The chapel was erected on the west side of Stebondale Street on a site where the carcases of three houses had been left incomplete in 1867. The ground was acquired in 1874. (fn. 207) The building was designed by Elijah Hoole in 1872 and erected three years later by Messrs Harris & Wardrop of Limehouse on their tender of £1,325. (fn. 208) It fronted Pier Street, and was described as a 'very plain structure'. (fn. 209) A schoolroom was added on its west side by Cornelius Bowden of Wallington in 1885 and there was a further addition in 1891. (fn. 210) The building was badly damaged by enemy bombing in the Second World War.
A parcel of land at the rear of properties on the west side of Stebondale Street, close to the extension of Billson Street, was acquired by the LCC in 1919 and in the following year it was set out as a playground and public open space, designated Millwall Recreation Ground. The site of the Builder's Arms was acquired for £7,000 in 1965 and incorporated into the area. (fn. 211)
An open-air pool was built in 1924–5 in the northeastern corner of the recreation ground, as a supplement to the swimming facilities on the Isle of Dogs provided by the Island Baths. (fn. 212) Poplar Borough Council was responsible for its financing and construction, and it was designed by Harley Heckford, the Borough Engineer and Surveyor. The pool was opened in June 1925, having cost £10,495. (fn. 213)
The bath was 150ft by 60ft and it stood within a walled enclosure 200ft long and 90ft wide, which also contained forty dressing boxes, nine dressing shelters and a number of ancillary buildings. (fn. 214)
On completion the pool was handed over to the LCC, which was responsible for its administration and finance, the costs being shared equally by the two Councils. (fn. 215) A filtration plant was installed in 1930 and charges for bathers were subsequently introduced; until then admission had been free. (fn. 216)
The Millwall Park Centre and One O'clock Club building was erected in 1992 on the west side of Stebondale Street on a plot of land in the north-east corner of Millwall Park. (fn. 1) The two-storey structure was designed as a sports and social club and children's play centre by Avanti Architects; the chief contractor was R. Mansell and the cost was £562,342. (fn. 218)
East Ferry Road
Most of the northern end of East Ferry Road was occupied by housing, built in two stages; the first between 1857 and 1867, and the second on the land developed by the Millwall Dock Company and by the British Land Company in the 1870s and 1880s. Most of the commercial premises were in the central section of the road.
An exception to the general pattern was the workshop occupied by Thomas Pollock, a metalworker, that was erected to the rear of the houses on the west side of East Ferry Road in the early 1860s. (fn. 219) It was taken over by the coppersmith and brassfounder George Brockley c1870 (fn. 220) and in 1878–9 he constructed a new single-storey factory building on the site, which was placed on the southern side of the northern arm of Chipka Street when that street was set out. (fn. 221) Brockley bought all ten lots adjoining the south side of his premises from the British Land Company in 1883, (fn. 222) but not until 1894 did he erect any buildings upon them. In that year a shed of four bays, 65ft by 50ft, was built there by James Edmunds of Poplar. (fn. 223) Smaller buildings were added around the two principal sheds, which were of brick and tile, with open timber roofs. (fn. 224) Brockley & Company continued to occupy the buildings until 1939, when it was replaced by the John Downton Foundry & Engineering Company, initially described as marine engineers, but from the late 1940s until their departure in 1967 as hose-coupling manufacturers. (fn. 225)
In 1873 the Millwall Dock Company took an 80-year lease from the John Bowes estate of 6¾ acres of land on the west side of East Ferry Road, south of Harrow Lane and running almost as far as the junction with Glengall Road, bounded on the west by the railway. (fn. 226) It acquired the freehold in 1882. (fn. 227) By the terms of the 1873 lease, the dock company's annual rent was £350 and it undertook that £20,000 should be expended on buildings and other permanent improvements during the first ten years of the term. Roughly a half of the frontage was used for housing and much of the remainder was occupied by the East Ferry Road Engineering Works Company.
East Ferry Road Engineering Works Company. In 1874 the dock company granted a sub-lease of a large parcel, between East Ferry Road and the railway, to the East Ferry Road Engineering Works Company Ltd, (fn. 228) which was incorporated in that year, with Charles Henry Parkes, the Millwall Dock Company's chairman, as its chairman, and his son, Charles Reginald Parkes, as its managing director. The engineering company, which was indeed virtually a subsidiary of the dock company, had its origins in Duckham's Weighing Machine Company, which had been set up in 1872 by Frederic Eliot Duckham, engineer to the dock company, to manufacture a weighing machine that he had invented three years earlier for use at the Millwall Docks sheer-legs. The founding shareholders were virtually all Millwall Dock Company directors and staff. (fn. 229) Duckham was also instrumental in the establishment of the Engineering Works Company and the two companies shared the East Ferry Road site until the weighing-machine company was wound up in 1881. (fn. 230)
The engineering company had a privileged position as a supplier of machinery to the Millwall Dock Company, which led to contracts from other dock and railway companies. Work for the dock company, all to Duckham's specifications, included travelling hydraulic quay cranes, grain hoppers and, from 1890, some of the world's earliest pneumatic grain-elevating machinery. It continued to supply the PLA with pneumatic elevators in the 1920s and cranes until 1939. (fn. 231)
In 1874–5 three single-storey brick sheds were built by C. & E. Lewis of Plaistow and other buildings erected at that date were a two-storey workshop (later designated the pattern shop and turnery), a two-storey warehouse, and offices fronting the road. (fn. 232) Further buildings, erected by Merritt & Ashby in 1876–7, were another warehouse and, facing the road, a two-storey drawing office and porter's lodge with stables. A foundry, erected by J. H. Johnson, was added to the north in 1877–8. (fn. 233) In 1880–1 and 1883–4 the premises were further developed, with single-storey brick-and-iron sheds, a pattern store, and an erecting shop, built by G. Bostock, that was 255ft by 43ft and 30ft high, and so the largest building on the site. There were also foundry and other workshop additions. (fn. 234) A railway spur from the Millwall Extension line was laid in 1881. (fn. 235)
The site was enlarged in 1880–4 with the addition of adjoining plots, that to the north being 74½ft wide, that to the south 40ft, while a narrow strip to the west was also added. In 1918 No. 120 East Ferry Road was absorbed. (fn. 236) In 1933 the company acquired the lease of the premises from the PLA and the freehold from the Bowes estate. (fn. 237)
The erecting and machine shops were enlarged in 1903–4 and again during the First World War, when the erecting shop was substantially rebuilt at an estimated cost of £4,895. (fn. 238)
In 1938 the engineering company became a subsidiary of R. & H. Green & Silley Weir and changed its name to the East Ferry Crane & Engineering Company Ltd. The works were damaged by bombing in the Second World War and the PLA reacquired the lease of the site in 1945. The company went into liquidation in 1949. (fn. 239)
The northern 1½ acres of the Bowes land, excluding the street frontages, was let as a grass field until 1889 when the East Ferry Road Engineering Works Company took a part of it. The plot was not developed as intended, however, and in 1897 it was transferred to Benjamin Frederick Dowdeswell, a hardwood lumber merchant. (fn. 240) Following his death, in 1899 it was acquired by William Oliver & Sons, timber merchants of Bunhill Row. Oliver & Sons enlarged the site by 1¼ acres in 1911 by the addition of a block of land to the rear of the houses in Judkin Street - this was sold to the Borough Council in 1933 - and extended it again in 1918. (fn. 241) Four open timber-built storage sheds with 40ft-span Belfast-trussed roofs were built on the site, three of them by the Belfast firm of D. Anderson & Son, which had premises in Bow. They were comparable to those recently erected at the West India Docks (see page 307). (fn. 242)
The timber-yard and sheds were damaged by bombing during the Second World War, but the business continued to operate and indeed Oliver & Sons took and largely cleared the East Ferry Road Engineering Works Company site in 1950–1. (fn. 243) The firm moved from East Ferry Road in 1963 and the PLA bought back the lease and cleared the land for open storage. (fn. 244)
To the south of the Engineering Company's site, No. 120 was leased in 1873 to William Percy Laing, Henry Joseph Howlett and Charles Henry Howlett of Ferguson's Wharf, Millwall, who were mast- and blockmakers. (fn. 245) By 1875 they had built a part two-storey brick shed as a gun-carriage works. (fn. 246) From 1898–9 the premises were occupied by the Davis Calyx Patent Drill Manufacturing & Contract Company, which contracted to bore artesian wells and coal shafts with its patent core-drills. It erected a two-storey addition in 1916. (fn. 247) The company was reincorporated in 1901 and wound up in 1918, and the site was taken over by the engineering company, which used it until the shed was destroyed in the Second World War. (fn. 248)
Also in 1873, John and George Burdick and Joseph Cook, shipsmiths, took a plot near the south end of the Bowes estate, on which a workshop had been built in 1872. (fn. 249) This was to become No. 122. The area was expanded in 1890 by the addition of a further strip of ground, and a new single-storey workshop with a frontage of 40ft was built in that year. (fn. 250) The firm ceased to occupy the site c1897, and c1902 a part of it was taken over by the builders and joiners Frank & Thomas Thorne of Manchester Road. (fn. 251) Their workshop was a singlestorey brick building with a cantilevered iron roof, incorporating top lights, which was used as a sawmill and timber store. (fn. 252) The southern part of No. 122 was acquired by the London, County and Westminster Bank and in 1902 a bank building was erected there by Messrs F. & H. F. Higgs of Loughborough Junction. (fn. 253) The brick building was three storeys high and five bays wide, with the banking hall and manager's room on the ground floor and accommodation on the upper ones. (fn. 254) The buildings were destroyed in the Second World War, but Thorne Brothers occupied the site until the PLA acquired the freehold in 1953. (fn. 255)
The southernmost section on the west side of East Ferry Road, north of Glengall Grove, was part of the Mellish estate and was leased to Frederick Deacon, licensee of the George Hotel on the opposite corner. (fn. 256) In 1872 three houses, Nos 124–128 (even), were built on the site. (fn. 257) They were all of three storeys, with attics and basements, and were used as shops. (fn. 258) The buildings were destroyed following bombing during the Second World War and a petrol filling station, including a two-storey house, was built on the site in 1959, remaining in use until the mid-1980s. (fn. 259)
On the east side, Nos 53A–125 (odd) were built on the Millwall Docks Station Estate in the 1880s (see page 499). The northern part of the triangular parcel of land to the south was on the Strathmore estate and the southern part, as far as Glengall Grove, was on the Mellish estate.
The northernmost part of that parcel was taken by Benjamin Haigh, who established a tin and copper business there in 1872–3, erecting a two-storey building which contained a smithy, foundry and workshop. A small office adjoined the main building. (fn. 260) Although Haigh's business did not survive the decade, the buildings remained and by 1889 were occupied by William Smith, sack contractor, who added an oil-boiling house in 1893 and a steel-framed drying-shed in 1919. (fn. 261)
No. 127, adjoining to the south, was leased by John George Smith, also a sack contractor, in 1874. In that year he built a brick-and-slate warehouse over much of the site. (fn. 262) In the 1890s, No. 129 and land to the rear of Nos 131–139 (odd) were incorporated into the business and several buildings were erected, including three drying sheds, a boiler-house and a warehouse. These were mostly brick-and-timber structures with iron roofs. (fn. 263) The business was still trading on the site, as J. G. Smith & Son, tarpaulin manufacturers, until the late 1950s. (fn. 264)
George Terrace, to the north of the George Hotel, comprised Nos 131–139 (odd), erected by Samuel Janes of Rotherhithe in 1884. (fn. 265) These were two-storey houses and shops; No. 139 was used as dining rooms. (fn. 266)
The large open space known as the Mudchute stands between the Millwall Docks and Cubitt Town. Grazing land on the site had become a brickfield, 'in full operation by Messrs. Cubitt', before 1864, when the land was purchased for the eastern arm of the Millwall Canal, Wharfs and Graving Docks Company's projected 'canal'. Because of financial constraints this part of the scheme was not built (see fig. 126, page 347). During construction of the Millwall Docks in 1865–7 the land remained a brickfield, used for the dock walls and buildings. (fn. 267) After the docks opened in 1868 the land was let for grazing, the Company anticipating that it would be able to make more of it once its financial position improved. (fn. 268)
The dock company put the land to a new use in 1875 when it introduced a novel system of dredging its docks, designed by the company's engineer, Frederic Eliot Duckham. This involved the pneumatic transmission of dredged mud, at a rate of 10 cubic yards per minute, from a dredger in the dock into a cast-iron pipe of 15in. diameter, 442ft long, running under East Ferry Road out on to settling beds on the 'outside land'. (fn. 269)
Plans for an east dock-extension were briefly revived in 1881, but the longer the dock company continued to deposit mud on the land the less practicable such a scheme became. The accumulation of years of mud gave the land a raised and lumpy profile. In 1879 the Poplar District Board of Works objected to the deposits as bad for the health of the district, following analysis of 'dirty green' effluvia from the mud. Nothing was done until 1896, when two acres of the 'Mudfield' were planted with willows, as a trial of an ostensibly profitable scheme promoted by Dr Frederick William Alexander, Medical Officer of Health to the Board of Works. In 1898 the dock company was advised of what was believed to be the relationship between the mud deposits and diphtheria on the Isle of Dogs. Duckham experimented with other methods of disposing of the mud, including brickmaking, and in 1900 a reward of £100 was advertised for the most practical way of dealing with the problem, but no satisfactory solution emerged. (fn. 270)
In 1902 Poplar Borough Council insisted on the removal of the mud-pipe. The dock company argued that the mud had no bad effect and that the objections were merely sentimental, based on the unsightliness of the mud-field. The Council removed the pipe in August 1903, but lost a court action to prevent its reinstatement. (fn. 271) The PLA, having taken control of the docks in 1909, discontinued the mud pumping in 1910, hoping to use the land for a dock extension. (fn. 272)
The northern sections of the Millwall Dock Company's 'outside land' (now largely the Asda site, see page 707) had not been used for mud deposits. In 1890–1 the 17 acres north of the mud-field were leased to McDougall Brothers, important local employers, and laid out as allotments. (fn. 273) Another plot was the first proper home for Millwall Football Club, founded in 1885 as Millwall Rovers, a factory team for J. T. Morton & Company. Initially the club played on waste ground at the west end of Glengall (later Tiller) Road, then, after a season, near to the back of the Lord Nelson public house. In 1889 William Clark, of the George, East Ferry Road, arranged a lease from the dock company for the Millwall Athletic Club of a 400ft by 420ft plot near Millwall Dock Station with a frontage on the east side of East Ferry Road, for development as a pitch for football, cricket and tennis, with running and cycling tracks. A stand for 600 was built on the west side, and the ground opened on 28 June 1890. A second stand was built in 1897. (fn. 274) (fn. 2) In 1901 the dock company reappropriated its mud-free ground east of East Ferry Road for timber storage, erecting two sheds and a timber transporter (see page 373). The football ground had been one of the few places of entertainment on the Isle of Dogs and popular support helped the club to move to the field south and east of the Globe Rope Works, on the Millwall Recreation Ground. A terrace was brought from Poplar Park and later extended. In 1910 the limited support that could be attracted locally, together with financial pressures, induced the club to move to New Cross. (fn. 276)
The hardened mud-field came to be referred to as the 'Mud Shoot', though the PLA called the site the Transporter Yard long after removal of the timber transporter. Poplar Borough Council compulsorily took tenancy of 16 acres for allotments in 1918, and pigsties were erected. (fn. 277) From 1938 the War Department had use of an area behind Stebondale Street as a gun site. Octagonal 'gun-house' pillboxes were built on the raised ground, with accommodation huts on the flat ground near the road. Behind Glengall Grove, huts were put up for an RAF Embarkation Centre. (fn. 278) The PLA revived the possibility of developing the Mudchute-Transporter Yard as a branch dock in 1959. Various schemes were put forward, one of which was given serious consideration in 1965–7. (fn. 279)
The PLA's fortunes turned and negotiations for the sale of the Mudchute-Transporter Yard opened in 1972. The transfer of most of the site for GLC housing was agreed in 1973, but not completed. The Association of Island Communities campaigned for the land to be a public open space, and succeeded in gaining acceptance of its proposals, which included an urban farm for recreation and education. The land was leased to the Mudchute Association through Tower Hamlets Borough Council and the farm and a garden were established in 1977. The farmhouse at the Mudchute's Pier Street entrance was built to designs by Kate Heron, and pillboxes were adapted as pens for livestock. The north-west section of the site was separately leased to Associated Dairies in 1980 for the Asda superstore. The LDDC funded landscaping on the Mudchute in 1985–6, work which included timber trellises at entrance points. (fn. 280)
Globe Rope Works
The Globe Rope Works was established in 1881 by the newly created firm of Hawkins & Tipson. George Hawkins of Clapham Common, who advanced capital of £15,000, and his son, Alfred Tolhurst Hawkins, went into partnership with Charles H. Tipson, who was formerly with the ropemakers Frost Brothers of Cable Street. (fn. 281) An 80-year lease was acquired from the Charteris estate of a parcel of land immediately south of the Millwall Dock Company's Mudchute, with a frontage of 70½ft on East Ferry Road and 79½ft on the arches of the Millwall Extension Railway, and including a strip along the edge of the Mudchute 1,270ft long and 61ft wide. (fn. 282) The site was enlarged in 1900–1 by the addition of two adjoining plots extending 194ft southwards between the railway arches and the Millwall Football Club's ground. (fn. 283)
The group of buildings erected in the early 1880s comprised a two-storey warehouse and offices, an engineand boiler house, with a 41ft-high chimney, and a long building which contained a spinning mill, tanning house, stables, yarn house and card shed. The ropewalk was 960ft long and, initially, 17ft broad, but it was later enlarged and by the 1930s was 60ft wide. (fn. 284) A fire destroyed the hemp store, which was rebuilt in 1883, and in 1884 a two-storey spinning mill, a house and an addition to the ropewalk were erected. (fn. 285)
Other buildings were added and in 1892 a chimney shaft, 8ft square and 90ft high, was constructed by W. Neil of Limehouse. (fn. 286) Further ropewalks were added in 1898, in 1900 by Croggan & Company of Upper Thames Street, and in 1905 by Baldwins Ltd. In 1906 a single-storey spinning mill and an engine house were erected by F. & T. Thorne, to increase the supply of yarn. The expanded site also allowed the construction of a warehouse and winding house. (fn. 287)
Some rebuilding was necessary in 1906 because, during a period of heavy rain, the Mudchute became somewhat unstable and began to move on to Hawkins & Tipson's land, pushing down buildings close to the boundary. It was quickly stabilized and the dock company accepted the responsibility for the cost of replacing the buildings destroyed. (fn. 288)
In 1910 the company took a lease of Excelsior Wharf on Bow Creek to provide storage space and ease pressure on its crowded site in East Ferry Road. The First World War caused some difficulties in the supply of yarn, but also increased the demand for rope and it prompted the development, at the request of the Board of Trade, of the heavy duty 'Hercules' manila rope, which went into production in 1918. Hawkins & Tipson became a public company in 1919. (fn. 289) In 1915 the existing mill was enlarged when an addition was constructed by Griggs & Son of Manchester Road. (fn. 290)
In 1920 a further parcel of land fronting East Ferry Road was bought for £650. (fn. 291) This was separated from the main site by the railway viaduct, a problem which was overcome following the closure of the Millwall Extension Railway in 1926, when Hawkins & Tipson acquired that part of the railway company's property that divided its own holdings, including a length of the viaduct and arches, which was demolished. The opportunity was taken to erect new buildings along the much-extended street frontage. (fn. 292)
A two-storey warehouse, office and canteen block was designed in 1932 by H. A. Bower of Bromley, but its construction was postponed until 1938, when it was erected by F. & T. Thorne. It was built of brick, having a roughcast finish on the street front, and a corrugatedasbestos roof with glass skylights. The rectangular windows were paired, with cast-concrete piers 2¼ft wide separating each pair, and concrete panels were placed between the ground- and upper-storey windows. The names of the company and the works were carried in the pediment on both sides of the point where the building turned to follow the street alignment. (fn. 293)
Also in 1938, Thorne Brothers built an engineer's store (fn. 294) and Messrs Boulton & Paul constructed a new single-storey rope warehouse, to the designs of Guy Morgan & Partners, Gower Street. (fn. 295)
The new buildings brought a degree of rationalization to the site, which had become overcrowded, with 25 major buildings, apart from the ropewalks, before these changes. Further rebuilding was brought about by bomb damage sustained in 1940–1. The losses included one of the mills, a brick building, 91ft by 60ft, and 23ft high, with a slate-and-glass roof carried on wooden queen-post trusses. It was replaced in 1942 by a new mill, 16ft high, of brick with a flat roof, and designed so that additional storeys could be added. (fn. 296) A part of the block in the centre of the yard was also destroyed, but was later rebuilt on the same site. The other wartime losses were also replaced. (fn. 297)
The integration of the rope-making industry following the Second World War included a series of mergers and acquisitions by which the firm grew into the Hawkins & Tipson Group of companies. The Globe Rope Works became increasingly unsuited to the operation of modern equipment and was closed in 1971 and the buildings were demolished. The site of 3.36 acres was sold to the GLC for £215,000. (fn. 298) The Globe Rope Walk follows the line of Hawkins & Tipson's ropewalk.
Dockland Settlement, No. 197 East Ferry Road
This is the only survivor of the various clubs and institutions set up by philanthropic outsiders on the Isle of Dogs before the Second World War. The oldest part of the complex, the block fronting East Ferry Road, was built in 1905 as the Welcome Institute, replacing a dilapidated old house in Westferry Road where Miss Jean Price had founded the Welcome Institute for factory girls some years earlier (see page 465). The site was leased from Lady Margaret Charteris for 99 years at a rent of ten guineas a year, and the new premises, costing £2,800, were built by John Greenwood Ltd (who carried out the various alterations and additions to the buildings over the next 30 years or so). The small budget did not allow for much architectural display, and the facade (its original effect now somewhat marred by the loss of the original small-paned glazing) is severely plain neo-Georgian in style. The ground floor originally contained a common dining-hall and a small dining-room, served by a kitchen and ancillary wing at the rear of the entrance lobby. The coal-house and lavatories formed a separate block at the back of this wing. On the other side, a second, larger, wing contained an assembly room, with a platform at one end. Staff quarters were placed on the first floor. The bay to the right of the street entrance was originally a single storey. (fn. 299)
Cheap hot meals were the mainstay of the Institute's work, served to anything between 70 and 170 girls a day. In addition to informal counselling, classes were held in dressmaking, cooking and bible study, while a grand Christmas supper (to which young men could be invited) provided a highlight to the girls' year. (fn. 300)
In 1913–14 the premises were enlarged by the addition of a small two-storey wing comprising a chapel over a first-aid room. The architect was Leslie Wilkinson, at that time Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture, University College, London. Somewhat Italianate in style, with a hipped roof and ornamental timber campanile, the chapel was of square plan with a jettied-out sanctuary. Seating up to 25, it was intended particularly for the use of girls preparing for confirmation. The first-aid room really came into its own for treating football injuries on Saturdays, when teams playing on the ground adjoining could use the Institute. (fn. 301)
In 1923, following Miss Price's retirement, the Welcome closed and the building was handed over to the youth-club organization founded by the former playwright (Sir) Reginald Kennedy-Cox, becoming the second of the Dockland Settlements. Between then and the Second World War the premises were extensively added to. The architects Waterhouse & Ripley, of High Holborn, were responsible for some, if not all, of the new work, which included the construction of a gymnasium and a new chapel, with a distinctive square tower and copper-covered spire providing a notable local landmark. (fn. 302)