A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11, Stepney, Bethnal Green. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1998.
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THE EAST: OLD FORD LANE, GREEN STREET, AND GLOBE TOWN.
For centuries the area east of the green was virtually empty of houses. It is unlikely that any owners occupied Bishop's or Bonner's Hall after Bishop Bonner. Lessees like John Fuller (d. 1592), wealthy Londoner and so-called judge, (fn. 1) lived there, as did Sir Hugh Platt in 1594. (fn. 2) Some people described as 'of Bishop's Hall' from 1592 to 1640 may have been servants but the presence of silkweavers and bricklayers by 1612 suggests that the house was tenemented. (fn. 3)
By 1642 the site contained five additional houses, one of them an alehouse created out of two houses. (fn. 4) The old dining room had been pulled down by Bishop Richard FitzJames (1506-22) (fn. 5) and by 1652 the brick manor house had been 'torn to pieces', with only the walls still standing. The outhouses and offices had been converted into four timber cottages; a fifth cottage stood apart, probably on the east side of the lane to the manor house. (fn. 6) A sketch map of 1648 depicting a small plain building of two storeys, with large chimneys on either side, may not have been intended as an accurate representation of Bishop's Hall. (fn. 7) In 1655 the mansion house was taken down and the materials were used to build four new houses (fn. 8) as a single structure with two wings, three storeys, and attics with dormer windows. Substantial rebuilding may have taken place between 1671 when Thomas Walton, who taught at Bishop's Hall in 1673, was assessed for 10 hearths at an empty house, and 1674 when his assessment was for 30 hearths. (fn. 9) By 1741 three or four wooden houses, possibly those mentioned in 1652, joined the main building on the west. The most easterly, next to the lane, was a public house, (fn. 10) probably the Three Golden Lions of 1750. (fn. 11) A large sum was laid out in repairs and new building on the farm to the east of the lane in 1721. (fn. 12) Thereafter there was little change before the creation of Victoria Park in the 1840s. (fn. 13)
The only other dwellings in 1703 were a group on the boundary at Grove Street, where they formed part of the Hackney hamlet of that name, and single buildings in Rushy (Russia) Lane and the driftway (later Green Street). (fn. 14) The Rushy Lane cottage probably originated as a wastehold property, in existence by 1648 (fn. 15) and by 1741 an inn, the Blue Anchor, which gave an alternative name to the lane. (fn. 16) Between 1760 and the 1790s another building stood to the south, at the junction with Old Ford Lane; it was called Globe Hall in 1826, when Globe Cottage had been built to the north. (fn. 17) The Green Lane buildings had apparently disappeared by 1750. (fn. 18)
In 1790 Charles Digby, whose copyhold estate of Eastfields had been enfranchised, sold most of it to John May Evans, William Timmins, and Martin Wilson, an Aldgate brewer who provided the finance for the building of what became Globe Town. (fn. 19) Evans and Timmins began building at the western end of the estate on either side of Green Street, bounded on the west by Globe Street and Back Lane. In 1790 and 1791 they applied to build 92 houses in Globe Lane (Street), Digby Street, 'in the square' at the back of Digby Street, Green Street, and North Place. (fn. 20) They sold plots to other builders. James Price of Mile End Old Town, for example, bought a plot in Globe Street in February 1790 and immediately applied to build 8 small houses. (fn. 21) Other builders were William Willcox of Poplar, (fn. 22) Edward Smith of Oxford Street, (fn. 23) and William Lovell of Shoreditch. (fn. 24) Lovell Street, together with Bully Rag Row or Digby Walk, existed by 1792. (fn. 25) Evans and Timmins were also active on Cradfords estate where Green Place and West Street were being laid out in 1791. (fn. 26) They sold four houses in the road later known as Bullard's Place to Richard Bullard, mercer of St. Gilesin-the-Fields, in 1792, (fn. 27) when they had also built four in North Street nearby. (fn. 28) Although most houses were built by Evans and Timmins themselves, (fn. 29) they granted a 99-year lease of land between West and North streets to Edward Holdsworth, carpenter of Bethnal Green. (fn. 30) By 1800 there were c. 90 dwellings, many of them small cottages, in the area then designated Green Place. (fn. 31)
Opposite, on the north side of Green Street, houses had been built in Bonner Street and Pleasant Row by 1800 (fn. 32) and spread eastward during the next decade. Evans was no longer associated with Timmins and Wilson by 1806 when they conveyed ground in what by then was called Globe Town. (fn. 33) Jefferys, Cross, Sidney (or Sydney), Norton, and Type streets had been built there by 1808, (fn. 34) partly by Timmins but also by others such as Henry Hawkes (fn. 35) and John Caton (fn. 36) both of St. George-in-the-East, and Samuel Cotterell, of Stepney. (fn. 37)
Development quickened on neighbouring estates at about the same time. On the south side of Green Street, east of Timmins's land, Smarts Street by 1808 had houses built by another carpenter from St. George-in-the-East, Samuel Maryon, (fn. 38) and adjoining streets to the east and south existed by 1812: East Street, Surat and Hampden places, and Twig Street and Twig Folly. (fn. 39) North of Green Street there were houses on the south side of John Street, north of Pleasant Row, by early 1808, when Samuel Ridge, then described as farmer, enfranchised 7 a. north of John Street and Timmins's Globe Town, bounded north by Old Ford Lane and west by Bishop's Street. (fn. 40) He had built many houses there, in John, Bishop's, and King streets by 1822. (fn. 41) Building took place on the neighbouring Pyotts from 1818, starting near the green and spreading east of Globe Street (Back Lane) by 1820, when 17 houses in Grosvenor Place and 14 in Park Street were leased to William Bradshaw. Several plots, usually with houses, were leased for 80 years during the 1820s. Ridge took a lease of part of the estate near the green in 1818 and two leases of plots south of Old Ford Lane in 1823. While continuing to farm from Bonner's Hall, he was by then described as a brickmaker (fn. 42) and by 1825 he had built houses in George's Place fronting Old Ford Lane. (fn. 43) He was let 2 a. adjoining the canal from the Sotheby estate in 1822, where his houses fronted Green Street by 1823, and bought land from Timmins's widow. When Ridge died in 1839 his freehold and leasehold property south of Old Ford Lane stretched from Globe Street to the canal and contained 75 houses. (fn. 44)
The two largest estates, Bishop's Hall and Broomfields, saw little development. East of the canal a few cottages, King's Arms Row, stood on the south side of Old Ford Lane by 1799. (fn. 45) In 1803 Sir Thomas Coxhead, owner of Broomfields, had made an agreement with Henry Stevens and James Butt, brickmakers of Mile End, for a new road (New Grove Road) with houses fronting it at the eastern end of the parish. Only a few had been built on either side of the Mile End boundary when Coxhead died in 1811, after which his successors abandoned the enterprise. (fn. 46)
The second phase of building on Cradford estate in the 1820s and 1830s involved William Walter Gretton and John Butler, all their names being given to new roads as development spread westward to meet the already built up Eastfield estate. Also involved in the development was William Mudd, carpenter of Hackney Road, (fn. 47) and the Union Building Society, which gave its name to Union Row (later Morpeth Street), where its members leased houses in 1834. (fn. 48) By 1836 there were over 370 houses on Cradfords, part of a total of 1,088 houses in the eastern area, 550 to the north and 538 to the south of Green Street. (fn. 49)