A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11, Stepney, Bethnal Green. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1998.
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Possibly excepting parts of Eastfield, all open-field land had been inclosed by 1652. (fn. 1) Demesne land, nearly 400 a., then covered more than half Bethnal Green. (fn. 2) It had 20 occupiers, ten with less than 10 a. each, three with 11-20 a., two with 41-50 a., and one (Treadway, with 61 a.) with more than 50 a. When the demesne was divided and sold a few years later, only one 4-a. close was apparently bought by the occupier. (fn. 3) There were minor boundary changes and some division and recombination of fields both before and after 1703 but most fields remained unaltered until built upon. (fn. 4)
Farmers were almost all lessees, who usually leased land in adjacent blocks from more than one owner. In 1703, of the known occupiers of agricultural land (excluding gardens), nine had less than 10 a. each, three had 11-20 a. each, seven had 21-30 a. each, two had 31-40 a. each, and Matthew Ball had 52 a. and John Preston had 83 a. (fn. 5)
The largest estate was Bishop's Hall, in 1652 c. 93 a. divided into 15 fields and occupied by six tenants, the largest of whom, Henry Rowe, had 40 a., mostly in the north-east. (fn. 6) Augmented by Dannetts field, there were still 15 fields, slightly regrouped, in 1703, probably held by five tenants. (fn. 7) Matthew Ball, 'husbandman of Stepney', who was leased 29 a. in the south-east of the estate from 1690, (fn. 8) was the largest and also took leases from other estates along Green Street. Richard Corker occupied 23 a. of Bishop's Hall in the north-east, together with 11 a. of the adjoining estate. In 1712 Ball 'ran away' when he could not pay his rent and in 1714 his son Thomas, who followed him at Bishop's Hall, also fled: Joseph Gosdin, tenant of part of Bishop's Hall from 1706 and of 52 a. from 1711, took a lease for Ball's 29 a. in 1716, for the whole 81 a. in 1721, and for 13 a. of Norris's estate in Hackney at about the same time. (fn. 9)
Bishop's Hall farmhouse, after improvement in 1721, became the centre of a farm consisting of all Sotheby's lands (fn. 10) and, probably by 1769, (fn. 11) including the Robinson charity lands and, by 1778, at least part of neighbouring estates south of Old Ford Road. (fn. 12) The tenant in 1778 was Joseph Wilkinson, (fn. 13) who farmed over 100 a. (fn. 14) Samuel Ridge (d. 1839), (fn. 15) tenant by 1799, (fn. 16) paid land tax for nearly 118 a. in 1800, farming a block in the north-east corner of the parish on either side of Old Ford Road. (fn. 17) He and his sons were among the leading inhabitants, exploiting the land for farming, brickmaking, and building. (fn. 18)
Broomfields, the second largest estate with c. 80 a. in the south-east, changed from three closes in 1550 (fn. 19) to 13, divided between one farm with 35½ a. in the south and another with 41½ a. in the north, in 1652. (fn. 20) In 1669 it was 82 a., 'late divided' into several closes with hedges, all with one occupier, John Preston. (fn. 21) Broomfields and an adjoining part of Eastfields (fn. 22) were farmed from a farmhouse in Mile End Road which, together with 44 a. of Dr. Gouch's land in Mile End, formed a block from Mile End Road to Old Ford Lane in 1703. (fn. 23) By 1744 the estate was divided between two farms, 33½ a. in the north occupied by the Leeds family and 45 a. in the south. (fn. 24) The 12 fields had become 6 by 1760, 3 for each of the farms. (fn. 25) Both farms had been reunited by c. 1786 (fn. 26) and were still together in 1794, (fn. 27) but the estate was again in two farms in 1800. (fn. 28) By 1836 50 a. were farmed by John Gardner, (fn. 29) who leased most as market gardens in 1846. (fn. 30)
The Leeds family farmed from one of several farmhouses in Dog Row; presumably it was a brick house on the east side, leased with 1 a. to Abraham Neale in 1678 and vested in George Leeds (fn. 31) probably by 1694, when he was leasing Markhams. He occupied 15½ a. in 1703 (fn. 32) and enlarged the farm by purchase and lease in 1711 and 1729 (fn. 33) By 1744 he or a namesake was rated for 84 a. (fn. 34) George Leeds's widow Mary was rated in 1751 for her property and for land leased from Pyotts, Eastfields, and Broomfields, (fn. 35) all except Cambridge Heath east of Cambridge Road and south of Old Ford Lane. Mary's son George succeeded in 1755 and by the 1770s occupied a total of nearly 100 a., (fn. 36) although he was titheable only for 47 a. in 1778. (fn. 37) The estates passed to his widow c. 1785 and then to his nephew Richard, who lived elsewhere and let out his own estates by c. 1800. (fn. 38)
The southernmost farmhouse on the eastern side of Dog Row had been leased to Matthew Walker in 1689 (fn. 39) and occupied by him in 1703. (fn. 40) John Johnson, the occupier in 1787, may have succeeded by 1760 when he was rated for land. (fn. 41) He paid tithes for c. 60 a. c. 1778, when he had apparently succeeded Leeds in Eastfields besides occupying part of neighbouring estates. (fn. 42) He followed Leeds on part of Broomfields (fn. 43) but by 1794 was rated for only 35 a. (fn. 44) He still paid land tax for Dog Row in 1820 (fn. 45) but by then was interested chiefly in building. (fn. 46) A third farmhouse on the east side of Dog Row was the centre of a 21-a. farm in Bethnal Green and Mile End (fn. 47) which belonged from c. 1772 until 1789/94 to William Billett (Bilert). (fn. 48)
A 6-roomed brick house, with farm buildings, existing by 1621 and occupied in 1652 by Jeremy Chalker, (fn. 49) may have been that on the west side of Dog Row depicted in 1703 as north of Simkins Gardens and probably the centre of farmland belonging to Naylor's and Jarvis's estates, occupied by Henry Collier. (fn. 50) Collier enlarged the farm, which had passed to Daniel Farmer, poulterer, by 1751. (fn. 51) Daniel, still there in 1760, (fn. 52) had been succeeded by Ursula Farmer by 1775. (fn. 53) A Farmer was rated for Naylor's estate in 1794 (fn. 54) and Titus Farmer was assessed for land tax near Mile End Corner in 1800 (fn. 55) but by then the farm had probably become gardens, soon to be built over. (fn. 56)
There were few other identifiable farms. The mid 18th-century Lord's Farm, probably small (fn. 57) and near the Gibraltar public house, (fn. 58) was named after Thomas Lord, who was rated in 1751 and 1760 for land held of two estates. (fn. 59) His field fronted Bethnal Green Road in 1756 (fn. 60) but was probably soon built upon.
More important was Coates's Farm on Saffron Close, fronting in 1746 on Coates's Lane (fn. 61) (previously Rogue Lane, later May's Lane and Pollard Row), land occupied in 1703 by Edward Hemond as part of a 28½-a. holding to the south and west. (fn. 62) Members of the Coates family had been recorded in Bethnal Green in the 17th century (fn. 63) although not in 1703. Thomas Coates occupied part of the Tyssen estate before 1724, (fn. 64) when he occupied Fryes (or Fryers) field south of Virginia Row (on Fitchs), (fn. 65) and leased Bishop's Hall by 1728, (fn. 66) when he was probably the most important farmer in the hamlet. Coates's Farm was depicted under that name in 1773 (fn. 67) but had long passed from his family, probably to James May, Thomas Coates's successor at Bishop's Hall. (fn. 68) May was rated for 68 a. in two parcels in 1744 (fn. 69) and for land leased from three estates in 1751. (fn. 70) He still had Saffron Close in 1758 (fn. 71) and Samuel May was rated for it in 1760. (fn. 72) May & Son were described as farmers in 1754 (fn. 73) and Samuel May in 1772 was 'near the new church', (fn. 74) possibly at Coates's Farm. (fn. 75) By 1792 the farm had been built upon. (fn. 76)
Farming in the 16th and early 17th centuries was mixed, with evidence also of arable and of sheep, geese, and pigs. (fn. 77) At Bishop's Hall in 1594 Hugh Platte grew 5½-inch-long ears of barley on ground fertilized with waste ashes left over from soap-boiling. (fn. 78) Oats were mentioned in 1610 (fn. 79) and 1660. (fn. 80) There was a shift towards grassland: St. Paul's close on the west side of Cambridge Road was arable in 1576 but meadow by 1649 (fn. 81) and leases at Bishop's Hall in 1658 contained penalty clauses for ploughing. (fn. 82) Arable did not disappear entirely, however, especially in the east of the parish, and cowkeepers often possessed some besides pasture and meadow.
Almost all farmers werre described as cowkeepers, milk production for London being the chief local farming activity from the 17th century. Before the sale of the demesne lands, the Red Cow, also called the Milkhouse, had its cowhouse in Brick Lane in 1643 (fn. 83) and Milkwives (1620) (fn. 84) or Milkhouse Bridge (1642) (fn. 85) in Hackney Road indicated dairying, as did the 15 cows and milkhouse belonging to a farm at the junction of Crabtree Lane and Hackney Road in 1684. (fn. 86) Cowkeepers in Dog Row (fn. 87) and elsewhere were mentioned from the 1670s to 1801. (fn. 88)
There were said to be several large-scale cowkeepers in the 17th and especially the early 18th centuries, (fn. 89) but few farmers at any time held more than 100 a. Joseph Gosdin, father and son, had a joint stock of 110 milch cows in 1723. (fn. 90) Assessments in 1775 included one of 80 cows for Joseph Wilkinson, one of 35, one of 28, and one of 24. (fn. 91) In 1794 there were 200 cows in the whole of Bethnal Green. Bought in calf from country breeders at about three years old, they were fed on turnips and meadow hay from October to May and on meadow hay for the summer. (fn. 92)
In 1763 John Preston and Richard Ware, farmers of parts of Broomfields and Bishop's Hall, protested that they held several closes of 'barren land' near Bethnal Green, valued at 25s. an acre a year, which had been rated at £4 or £5. (fn. 93) Matthew and Thomas Ball did not find farming profitable and Joseph Gosdin in 1716 was allowed a year's rent because the farm was 'out of heart'. Mortality among cows in 1714 affected Gosdin and Joseph Green, both in the north-eastern part of the parish. Gosdin put much effort into Bishop's Hall, on buildings, a well and pump for the cows, and draining and dunging fields. (fn. 94) When the field at Cambridge Heath (no. 15) was leased to Thomas Coates in 1729 he was permitted to sow 'the usual sort of crop', beans, peas, or turnips and 'garden things except potatoes'. The 5-a. field was to be given 15 loads of cow and horse dung once in two years and to be laid down to grass seven years before the expiry of the lease with 8 bushels of 'best rye grass' and 8 lb. of clover seed for each acre. (fn. 95)
In 1701 Broomfields consisted of mixed arable, meadow, and pasture, probably in the proportions of 13 a., 24 a., and 42 a. respectively. (fn. 96) In 1789 it had almost equal amounts, 27 a. being pasture, 31 a. arable, and an 18-a. field containing both. (fn. 97)
In 1772 of nearly 500 a. of farmland, (fn. 98) 107 a. (21.5 per cent) were arable (24 a. known to be ploughed, 2 a. to be wheat, and 5 a. oats), (fn. 99) 212¼ a. (42.5 per cent) were mowed, and 179½ a. (36 per cent) were for grazing. (fn. 100) Of 134 a. of identifiable mowed land, 40 a. belonged to Wilkinson, 33½ a. to Johnson, 19 a. to Samuel Scott, and 10¾ a. to William Billett. (fn. 101) Nearly 300 a. were listed for great tithes in 1778, (fn. 102) of which 77½ a. were arable, 134 a. mowed, and 87 a. grazing. The arable was mostly in the east: 31 a. belonging to Wilkinson, together with another 10½ a. on Cass's adjoining estate, and 23 a. of Broomfields farmed by Leeds. The arable included at least 20 a. of wheat, c. 17 a. of oats or barley, and 17 a. of beans and peas. There was some rotation, one field in the east, for example, (fn. 103) being mowed in 1779 and growing peas in 1780; another, Rush Mead, consisted of 14 a., half mowed, half grazing (fed) in 1779, and half wheat, half oats in 1780. By 1795, of c. 490 a. of farmland, 190 a. were arable, 160 a. grassland, and 140 a. market gardens. Land often produced one crop a year of corn and another of garden vegetables. (fn. 104) Crops in 1794 were 8½ a. of wheat, 7 a. of rye, and 9 a. of oats; for 1795 the figures respectively were 2 a., none, and 5 a. (fn. 105) Agriculture employed 16 families in 1801, 17 in 1811, and 50 in 1831. (fn. 106)
Only 200 a. yielded titheable produce in the seven years ending 1835, of which 20½ a. were arable, 2 a. meadow, and 97 a. pasture, the rest being brickfields, cemeteries, and buildings. Surveyed in 1846 for the Act extinguishing tithes, there were 172½ a., all in the east, comprising Victoria Park and the rest of Bishop's Hall and Robinson's Charity estate belonging to the Commissioners of Woods and Forests, the remaining Sotheby estate, Broomfields, and part of Ridge's estate, by then a brickfield. Apart from nearly 13 a. of brickfield and 45 a. of (mostly market-) garden ground, all the land was pasture. (fn. 107)
Victoria Park was rented out for pasturing sheep well into the 20th century (fn. 108) but other evidence, admittedly scanty, is of pasture used mainly for cattle. In the mid 18th century there were cattle in the fields bordering the churchyard (fn. 109) and the eccentric Baron Ephraim Lopez Pereira D'Aguilar later sent cows from Islington to graze on the west side of Cambridge Road. (fn. 110)
Cowkeeping was not dependent on pasture land. Like pigkeeping, which persisted into the 20th century, it needed so little space that cowhouses and styes were found in areas which had been built up. At least some of the vegetable crops were for fodder. Turnips, which were grown by Katharine Carter in a field 'back of Bethnal Green' in 1736, (fn. 111) were used for cattle, as presumably were most of the beans and peas and crops such as the mangel-wurzels grown by John Ridge in 1842. (fn. 112)
There were at least 30 cowmen or dairymen c. 1850, (fn. 113) most of them with cowyards in populous districts and presumably producing milk for local consumption rather than, as formerly, for the City. In 1848 one of the largest, in Wood Street, had 40-50 cows, (fn. 114) and William Brooks the older and younger ran a dairy in Russia Lane, south of the nursery. (fn. 115) Paradise Dairy, which had 16 cows and 20 pigs behind Paradise Row, was blamed for 'typhus' (fn. 116) and there were large cowsheds and pig styes in Punderson's Gardens. (fn. 117) There was a cowyard in Bacon Street, (fn. 118) where there were two dairies and cowhouses occupied by William Pettit in 1871. (fn. 119) There were 98 milk cows in Bethnal Green in 1866 (fn. 120) and 408 cows and heifers in milk, kept by 37 people, in 1874, when only one person occupied land and there were 2½ a. of meadow or pasture. (fn. 121) By 1884 stock was kept by 32 people, who occupied no land, and there were 352 milk cows, 4 ducks, and 51 fowl. (fn. 122) In the late 19th century there were several cowkeepers, including the Royal Dairy, in Cambridge Road and cows were driven down the street and milked as needed. (fn. 123) In 1901 most of the 65 people employed in agriculture were commercial gardeners and nurserymen; cowkeepers were probably classified with other food dealers. (fn. 124) There were 40 in the 'agriculture' category in 1911. (fn. 125) Fifteen cowsheds and 344 milkshops existed in 1903 (fn. 126) but cowsheds dwindled from 13 in 1913 to 8 in 1935 (fn. 127) as clearances replaced them by retail dairies. By 1960 there were 95 dairies and milkshops. (fn. 128)
MARKET GARDENS AND NURSERIES.
Gardening was carried on at Bishop's Hall from the Middle Ages (fn. 129) and by merchants and gentlemen in the 16th and 17th centuries, some of whom sent produce to the City. (fn. 130) From the 17th century and probably earlier substantial gardens were associated with the Corner House, Dickens's, Soda's and Crisp's houses (fn. 131) and, above all, with Kirby's Castle. In 1592 Kirby's Castle had at least 100 fruit trees and a garden with knots of hyssop and lavender and a quarter planted with roses and strawberries, hedged with privet and whitethorn. John Watson accused his tenant Noel de Caron, 'agent of the United Netherlands', of destroying the garden and leaving 'the dead roots of cabbages, collworth, carrots and such like' but Caron maintained that he had improved it by pruning, manuring with dung from London, and planting herbs, roses, gooseberries, vines, artichokes, 'myllions' and 'pompians'. (fn. 132) The house was later occupied by the horticulturalist Sir Hugh Platt (d. 1608), whose wine from grapes grown there was praised by the French ambassador. (fn. 133) In 1663 Pepys found 'the greatest quantity of strawberries I ever saw, and good'. (fn. 134) Before he moved to Kirby's Castle, Platt had leased Bishop's Hall which had a great orchard and garden in the mid 17th century. (fn. 135) James Sotheby (1727-42) planted 42 trees and shrubs at Bishop's Hall, white jasmine, red honeysuckle, grapes and 'double-flowered pomegranate' against the farmhouse and apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, and nectarines on the walls of the garden or orchard. (fn. 136)
To serve such gardens, to meet the Huguenots' demands for small plots with cut flowers and new vegetables, (fn. 137) and probably above all to supply London, commercial gardening developed. Five a. converted from Eastfield by 1581 (fn. 138) may have been the 5-a. Turnip field, which was part of Eastfield in the mid 17th century, (fn. 139) suggesting that the cultivation of root crops in common fields, described in parishes west of the City in 1635, (fn. 140) was also known in Bethnal Green.
The district was one of those suburbs where market gardening grew rapidly from the early 17th century to replace the Continent as the source of vegetables, fruit, and possibly flowers, for the capital. (fn. 141) Two gardeners from Bethnal Green were recorded in 1611, (fn. 142) one in 1631 (fn. 143) and another in 1653. (fn. 144) Gardening was usually an intermediate stage between farming and housing and, like brickmaking, spread eastward from the area nearest the City. Most gardens were leased and subdivided, sometimes into hundreds of plots for Londoners and local weavers. They often had mud walls which were probably themselves planted in a system of intense cultivation as in modern China. Most gardens took their names from lessees, generally gardeners.
One of the earliest gardens was Preston's, 3 a. on the Byde estate in the south-west in 1643 (fn. 145) and built over probably in the 1680s. (fn. 146) To the north the Nichol estate was apparently all garden ground, subdivided by the 1660s, the largest portion being the 'great garden' of 4 a. in the corner of Cock Lane, which was leased out successively to Thomas Dubber and John Askew. In 1680 the whole area was leased out to Jon Richardson, who was not a gardener (fn. 147) but gave his name to the estate. (fn. 148) He began building the Nichol on the southern part, leaving the northern as garden ground, worked by Peter and then John Povey into the 1720s. (fn. 149) Benjamin Wyersdale was a gardener there in 1753 (fn. 150) and a small area survived in the 1790s. (fn. 151) 'Mrs. Noble's garden' existed on the eastern part of the neighbouring Snow's estate in 1652. (fn. 152) More of that estate had been converted to garden by 1665, (fn. 153) and the northern section was occupied in 1675 by Ralph Kemp, gardener, (fn. 154) whose descendants cultivated it until the end of the 18th century; (fn. 155) some remained in 1813. (fn. 156)
On Austens there was a garden, probably occupied by Isaac Bryan, in 1658. (fn. 157) In 1675 part of the garden ground was lost to Shoreditch churchyard and the rest was occupied by William Benbow, gardener. (fn. 158) Most of the southern ground disappeared under Castle and Austin streets, probably by 1682, (fn. 159) but in 1683, when Thomas Austen leased 1 a. of Benbow's garden to John Sharp, Daniel Brown occupied much of the estate to the north (fn. 160) and Sharp's and Brown's gardens filled most of the ground between Crabtree Lane and Virginia Row in 1703. (fn. 161) They were subdivided in the mid 18th century, one tenant in 1760 being Thomas Cooper, who gave his name to Cooper's Gardens. (fn. 162) North of Crabtree Lane gardens existed by 1680, designated Goodwell's in 1703. (fn. 163)
A secondary area of early market gardens was around the green, where on the west side of Cambridge Road a 'garden, stable and hayloft' of 1654 (fn. 164) were occupied by Benjamin How, gardener, in 1686 (fn. 165) and remained garden ground until the 1790s. (fn. 166) In 1685 John How leased 3 a. of Kirby's Castle (fn. 167) which he had converted from pasture by 1698, planting fruit trees. (fn. 168) It was still garden ground in 1813. (fn. 169) Other gardeners probably at the green were Robert Hill, who leased two orchards or garden plots in 1673, (fn. 170) and Edward Edes, who leased 2 a. in 1686. (fn. 171)
The most important of the central group was Penn's garden, 3 a. west of Cambridge Road and south of Bethnal Green Road, which originated between 1656 and 1660 as the nursery of Thomas Colinge. (fn. 172) It passed to Matthew Penn by 1686 and was run as a nursery by his widow and son, William. It was 'sometime the nursery' c. 1775, although Penn's house was occupied by a gardener in 1771 (fn. 173) and most of the garden ground survived in 1813. (fn. 174)
Thirteen gardens were named in 1703: (fn. 175) Border's, Goodwell's, Brown's, Sharp's, Kemp's, Richardson's, Satchwell's, Austin's, Hambleton's, Simkins's, Penn's, Beasley's, (fn. 176) and Edger's. There were five unnamed gardens: Benjamin How's and Dickens's repectively west and east of Cambridge Road, Kirby's Castle, Bishop's Hall, and one to the east of Russia Lane.
Border's and Goodwell's adjoined on Milkhouse Bridge estate at the bend of Hackney Road. (fn. 177) A 6½-a. area fronting the road was leased to Richard Atkins, then to William Hopcroft (fl. 1758), and by 1789 to John Allport, seedsman, by which time the ground formed several parcels with summer houses. (fn. 178) It was on Goodwell's site that one of the most notorious slums, Nova Scotia Gardens, grew out of plots and sheds. (fn. 179) The northern portion, however, mostly Border's, became part of Allport's large nursery, which existed by the 1790s on the Shoreditch side of Hackney Road, (fn. 180) although the family had possessed a small garden north of Virginia Row in 1751. (fn. 181) In 1807 Allport's widow and son John, who was listed with his father in 1802 as 'nursery and seedsmen', (fn. 182) began to sell land for building. (fn. 183) Although the firm retained extensive gardens into the next decade, (fn. 184) all had gone by 1832. (fn. 185)
Satchwell's garden, the eastern part of Tyssen's estate in 1703, consisted of 6 a. leased in 1769 to William Atkins, already the occupier. Part went for building but 3 a. were leased in 1772 to Richard Atkins, also a gardener, (fn. 186) who renewed his lease in 1792, when the garden had shrunk to 2 a. (fn. 187) Only a tiny part was left behind Norwell Place by 1813. (fn. 188)
Austin's garden, in 1703 opposite Satchwell's on Red Cow estate, was 1 a. occupied in 1711 by Jane Austin (fn. 189) and leased with much of the estate to Thomas Scott in 1713. (fn. 190) It was leased to William Atkins in 1768 (fn. 191) but probably soon disappeared.
Hambleton's garden, 6 a. forming the western half of Great Haresmarsh, was in 1712 'in the possession of Hamilton, gardener, and of late years converted to gardens'. (fn. 192) By 1721 it was Bridgman's; (fn. 193) Thomas Bridgman, gardener, of St. John Street occupied it until his death between 1760 and 1765. (fn. 194) John Wolveridge (or Woolveridge), who had leased part of the neighbouring Hare Marsh since 1740, (fn. 195) in 1775 occupied extensive garden ground on the southern borders of Bethnal Green, (fn. 196) including 11¼ a., all that remained unbuilt, of Great Haresmarsh and the eastern portion of Hare Marsh. (fn. 197) It is not clear whether Wolveridge or his son Thomas were gardeners, as were their successors William Broad in 1805 (fn. 198) and John Mandeno in 1818. (fn. 199)
Simkins's garden, at the southern tip of the parish, took its name from Walter Simkins (d. by 1726), (fn. 200) whose family had lived in Dog Row since the 1670s. (fn. 201) The garden remained behind the houses in Dog Row and Mile End Road until the 1790s but had gone by 1813. (fn. 202)
Beasley's garden, at the opposite end of the parish, was occupied by Barth, a gardener, in 1792, (fn. 203) by which time it had expanded to cover all of Sebrights north of Hackney Road. (fn. 204) It survived in 1813 when an Act permitted building on the estate. (fn. 205) Edger's garden on the Cass estate, probably named after Joseph Edger, lessee in 1694, (fn. 206) formed part of Grove Street hamlet in Hackney.
The Dickens garden east of Cambridge Road was not commercial, but a cottage and garden belonging to the same estate were built on the east side of Russia Lane between 1696 and 1703. (fn. 207) The cottage became the Blue Anchor inn and the garden, for which the Brown family secured enfranchisement in 1881, (fn. 208) was a nursery until the 1870s or later, (fn. 209) run in 1848 by Henry Clarke. (fn. 210)
By the mid 18th century, despite some building, the total area of gardening had increased since 1703. Hambleton's garden, for example, had expanded to the east and south, and Simkins's, which was probably held by Richard Burchall from 1751 to 1775 or later, (fn. 211) to the estates to the north, Naylors and Fullmore Close, (fn. 212) while Samuel Marriott (or Merrett), gardener of Mile End New Town, who leased 4¾ a. of the Mile End portion of Hare Marsh in 1745, (fn. 213) was rated for a house and garden near Dog Row in 1751. (fn. 214) Garden ground was extensive on the east side of Dog Row, on both sides of Red Cow Lane (partly outside the parish), and on the southern part of the Poor's Lands. (fn. 215) The latter was occupied in 1765 by Benjamin Hopkins, (fn. 216) who paid rent in 1755 for a garden called Long Mead. (fn. 217) William Calder, gardener, of Stepney, leased 6 a. on the east side of Cambridge Road between Red Cow Lane and the Poor's Land in 1765 (fn. 218) and took over from Hopkins on the Poor's Land in 1775. He was followed in 1784 by Alexander Duthie; Duthie's nursery, named after him and William Duthie, occupied the site until 1826 when it passed to Peter Duval and John Mears. (fn. 219) Joseph Wilkinson, primarily a cowkeeper at Bishop's Hall, had 15 a. of garden in 1775 (fn. 220) and 6 a. south of Old Ford Road in 1778 for 'pears late strawberries'. (fn. 221)
Expansion on the west side of Cambridge Road by 1775 included John Smart's garden ground on Markhams west of Penn's garden. William Atkins was tithed in 1775 for 6 a. of Tyssens, 1 a. of Willetts and 3 a. of Turney estate, (fn. 222) most of which was garden ground by the 1790s. Gardening also spread eastward from Goodwell's to Barnet charity land on the north west and to Edith's Gardens on the south-east of Birdcage Walk, westward from Cambridge Road to Burgoyns, to part of Rush Mead fronting Old Bethnal Green Road and, in the eastern part of the parish, to Cradfords south of Green Street, (fn. 223) where the ground was rated in 1794 to Samuel Phillips, perhaps not himself the gardener. (fn. 224)
Market gardeners occupied over 28 per cent of Bethnal Green's agricultural land by 1795. (fn. 225) Gardens probably reached their greatest acreage c. 1800, (fn. 226) with large ones divided like allotments, each with its summer house, where weavers and citizens grew flowers and vegetables and dined on Sundays. (fn. 227) Among professional gardeners were James Chapman of Ann's Place, north of Hackney Road, in 1819 (fn. 228) and William Gabell with ground in North Place, north of Green Street, in 1825. (fn. 229) The most important was the Mandeno family. John Mandeno, tithed for 3¼ a. on the western side of Cambridge Road in 1775, (fn. 230) or his son had a house in Bethnal Green Road in 1800. (fn. 231) In 1802 he acquired ground to the north, between Punderson's and Hollybush gardens, which he and his son John, both gardeners, retained until 1836. (fn. 232) He leased other gardens: the 11-a. Great Haresmarsh before 1818, (fn. 233) one of two market gardens on Goosefields in 1824, (fn. 234) and the 8½-a. Burgoyns in 1838, although he had worked it as a nursery since 1828. (fn. 235) The nursery adjoined the family home at no. 11 Hollybush Place. The elder Mandeno was dead by 1836, when the family relinquished its original garden, (fn. 236) and by 1842 part of Burgoyns had passed to the developer and the rest to John Byford, market gardener. (fn. 237) The younger Mandeno still had the Goosefields garden in 1843 but soon lost it to Victoria Park. (fn. 238) John Gardner, who leased from Broomfields, also lost land to the park, north of Duckett's canal, (fn. 239) but retained 37 a. of market garden in 1846. (fn. 240) Other gardeners included T. Cousins of Cambridge Row, Cambridge Heath, in 1844 and 1850, (fn. 241) Henry Bradbury of Emma Street in 1848, (fn. 242) and James Mead in Gale's Gardens in 1851. (fn. 243)
Between 1795 and 1845 the parish lost c. 100 a. of garden ground, mostly to building or by degeneration into land used as rubbish dumps or by squatters. (fn. 244) As Bethnal Green lost its attraction for Londoners and as the local weavers grew poorer, plots were abandoned and the summer houses converted into insanitary dwellings. The process started in the earliest gardens and spread eastward. In 1848 the worst sites were Weatherhead's and Greengate gardens off Hackney Road and Gale's Gardens west of Cambridge Road, while George and Camden gardens nearby were deteriorating rapidly. (fn. 245) In 1838 Saunderson's gardens, 6 a. c. ¼ mile east of the green, were divided into 170 plots for vegetables, tulips, and dahlias. Some produce was sold, flowers for example in the market in Virginia Row. (fn. 246) By 1848 deterioration had reached the east, where in Whisker's gardens near Bonner Lane only 16-20 out of hundreds of summer houses had not been turned into dwellings. (fn. 247) By 1851 only 47 a. of market gardens and one garden tenant were left. (fn. 248) Except at the nursery in Russia Lane, the professional market gardeners and nurserymen had left for Hackney and more distant suburbs.
The mill, presumably a windmill, which gave its name to Mill Hill field on the west side of Cambridge Road existed before 1404. (fn. 249) The millhouse was mentioned in 1626 (fn. 250) although the mill may have ceased to function. By 1660 the site had become part of a nursery, later Penn's garden. (fn. 251)
There was a windmill in a field near Centre Street on Cambridge Heath estate in 1836. (fn. 252)
Manorial customs in 1550 forbade tenants or lessees to dig clay for bricks or tiles without the lord's agreement. (fn. 253) A century later 31-year leases of the demesne granted permission to dig for an extra £2 an acre, digging to cease for the last three or four years to allow the ground to recover. (fn. 254) In practice exhausted brickfields usually left hollowed-out areas which filled with water. Exploitation began in the south, where land was let for brickmaking in the 15th century and 'le bryk place' at the Whitechapel end of Brick Lane existed by 1510 (fn. 255) and was producing bricks by 1527. (fn. 256) Brick Lane was so called by 1550, (fn. 257) Lollesworth field, just outside the boundary in Spitalfields, was leased to Edward Hemmynge, a brickmaker in 1596, (fn. 258) while a former brickfield, then called the brick pond and later ducking pond, lay on the north side of Mile End Green in 1642. (fn. 259)
There was a brickmaker 'of Bethnal Green' in 1630 (fn. 260) and one at Bishop's Hall in 1640 (fn. 261) and there were several in Collier's Row in the 1640s and 1650s. (fn. 262) Most brickfields were on demesne land west of Cambridge Road, which was broken up into freehold estates in the 1650s. Relatively few brickmasters leased the fields, often in several places, and moved on as they exhausted the brickearth. Exploitation presumably started in the west and south, moving a little way ahead of the building. The Collier's Row brickmakers almost certainly worked east of Hackney Road and north of Bethnal Green Road. The Fourteen Acres (no. 40) was being dug in 1642, (fn. 263) when held by Michael Gisby (d. 1654), active as a builder in Spitalfields before 1638 and occupier in 1642 of a field south of Bethnal Green Road called Wood Close (no. 48), (fn. 264) which in 1643 was 'new digged for brick'. (fn. 265) The Fourteen Acres was exhausted by 1652, as were the adjoining Crabtree close (no. 38) next to Hackney Road and Three Acre Close (no. 39), both to the north. The brick kilns had moved to the east, to no. 42. (fn. 266) The adjoining field to the south (no. 43) was leased to a brickmaker, Anthony Wells, in 1687, (fn. 267) while west of the demesne estates John Nicoll leased his land with permission to dig for bricks in 1680, (fn. 268) so initiating the building of the Nichol.
Gisby was replaced by Abraham Carnell (or Cardnall), brickmaker of Mile End Green (d. c. 1679), who was leased Wood close in 1652 and 1670. (fn. 269) He was also leased Sickle Pen field (no. 35), which lay between Hackney Road and Old Bethnal Green Road and was held by his son and grandson, both called Edward, into the second decade of the 18th century. (fn. 270) Exhausted brickworkings at its south end were covered by the 1790s by a large pond, (fn. 271) advertized as the Wellington fishery in 1815 (fn. 272) and, as Wellington pond, a 'filthy pond' in 1848. (fn. 273) Edward Carnell was described in 1710 and 1712 as brickmaster of Nag's Head, which adjoined Sickle Pen field to the west. (fn. 274)
Another probable brickmaker was Edward Hemings or Hemonds, (fn. 275) assessed in 1694 for 'Mr. Balleys land and profits in brickearth'. (fn. 276) Presumably it was Saffron Close (no. 45), of which he was tenant in 1703, together with the adjoining 17 a. (nos. 46 and 47) of Willetts, (fn. 277) parts of which were plots staked out for bricks in 1711. (fn. 278)
The interests of both Carnell and Hemings passed to Thomas Scott, recorded as brickmaster or brickmaker from 1709 and as of Nag's Head in 1712-13. (fn. 279) He was the tenant of Willett's fields (nos. 46 and 47) by 1713 (fn. 280) and of Wood Close (no. 48) by 1722. (fn. 281) Samuel Scott, probably Thomas's son, a brickmaker or brick merchant, leased 14 a. of Willetts (Hare Street and George fields, probably at least part of nos. 46 and 47) in 1768. (fn. 282) He also acquired Thickness estate to the south, adjoining the old brickfield at ducking pond, which he was exploiting for bricks in 1778. (fn. 283) In 1794, besides Thickness, which he owned, Scott was rated for six parcels, one of them Tilekilnfield (Chambers) on the east side of Cambridge Heath and several others along Hackney Road. (fn. 284) John Scott, brickmaker of Islington, leased Tilekilnfield, then called Clay Pits, in 1808. (fn. 285) It was probably one of the southern Scott brickfields which was referred to in 1826 as Spicer Street, the meeting place of ruffians. (fn. 286)
The Pritchard family, like the Carnells and Scotts, combined farming with brickmaking. Andrew Pritchard was rated for Carnell's land in 1751 (fn. 287) and he or his son was 'tilemaker of Hackney Road' in 1789. (fn. 288) 'Mr. Prickard' had the Nag's Head brickfield and part of Bullocks estate north of Hackney Road by 1778. (fn. 289) Ponds left by brickmaking were apparent by the 1740s (fn. 290) and had grown enormously by 1826. (fn. 291) George field on Willetts was leased in 1788 to William Timmins, who in partnership with John May Evans did much local building and who still worked it as a brickfield in 1803. (fn. 292)
In 1795 Bethnal Green furnished bricks not only for local use but for general sale. (fn. 293) As building spread across the exhausted brickfields, extraction moved to the east. The right to dig brickearth was considered when leasing part of Bishop's Hall at Cambridge Heath in 1729. (fn. 294) Chambers, to the north, was being exploited by 1794 (fn. 295) and Samuel Ridge began brickmaking at Bishop's Hall c. 1811. The Regent's canal facilitated the transport of bricks and of gravel, which was also excavated along its banks by Ridge. By 1841 the Bishop's Hall fields were nearly worked out and Ridge and his son John were planning to dig on a field which they had bought 'many years ago' beyond Bethnal Green's north-eastern boundary. (fn. 296) Digging in the area was ended by the opening of Victoria Park, with the former brickfields converted to lakes. (fn. 297) John Ridge was still listed as a brickmaker in 1844 and 1858, presumably on his family's large open brickfield south of Old Ford Road and east of the canal. It had apparently closed by 1863. (fn. 298)
Other brickfields in the mid 19th century included one on Sebrights, where a pond existed by 1826. (fn. 299) Rhodes, the occupier in 1813, (fn. 300) was presumably William Rhodes (d. 1843), who had a brick- and tileworks in Hackney Road in 1802 and 1840. (fn. 301) The pond, then being filled in, was in 1848 a deep hollow behind Teale Street, the result of excavation more than 20 years before. (fn. 302) In 1845 part of Burgoyns, the most conspicuously empty area west of Cambridge Road, was leased to Islip Odell, who could use the brickearth. (fn. 303) There was a brickfield there in 1846 (fn. 304) and a brickmaker in the adjoining Punderson's Gardens in 1851. Other brickmakers in 1851 were in West Street north of Scott's brickfield near the ducking pond (fn. 305) and in Portland Place, White Street, (fn. 306) suggesting the survival of the Willetts brickfield, and there were colonies of brickmakers in the Nichol, Old Castle Street, and Weatherhead Gardens, (fn. 307) and in the east by the canal. (fn. 308) The latter probably worked for John Ridge and on 7 a. of Broomfields between Grove Road and the canal, which were occupied in 1846 by John Hatfield. (fn. 309) Edward Hatfield, described as a brick merchant in 1851 and brickmaker in 1855, lived in Grove House opposite the field. (fn. 310)
There were brickmakers in 1855 in William Street, Globefields (E. Bates & Co.), Old Ford Road (William Bird), Morpeth Street (William White), and Grove Road (James Thomas Hammack & Co.). (fn. 311) The latter, still listed in 1863, (fn. 312) leased the Grove Road site until 1874 when it was for sale, the last working brickfield in Bethnal Green. (fn. 313)
Brick merchants, using canal wharves, continued into the 20th century: Robert Wright (d. 1873) of Wharf Cottage, Old Ford Road, in 1863, (fn. 314) Thomas Wright, John Robson at Northumberland Wharf, Bishop's Road, and Doulton and Co. at Globe Wharf, Mile End Road and Crown Wharf, Globe Road, on the Hertford Union canal, in 1879. (fn. 315) The latter, with Harold Goodman at Cumberland Wharf off Green Street, still operated in 1902. (fn. 316)
Other industries were located in Bethnal Green because of its closeness to the London market, its plentiful labour, and the ease of canal transport, particularly from the docks. Most raw materials and finished goods, however were carted or taken by hand to warehouses and middlemen there or in neighbouring districts.
The dominant industry for nearly two centuries was silkweaving. Traditionally ascribed to the Huguenot influx into Spitalfields after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, it originated earlier, possibly in Jacobean mulberrygrowing at Bishop's Hall. (fn. 317) Weavers were recorded in Bethnal Green from 1604 (fn. 318) and silkweavers from 1612, the earliest at Bishop's Hall. (fn. 319) They were present in the western parts, in Collier's Row, (fn. 320) Stepney Rents, (fn. 321) Cock Lane, (fn. 322) and Brick Lane (fn. 323) by the 1640s. The Dolphin in Cock Lane, a well-known weavers' resort in the 18th century, may have been connected with the old Dolphin inn in Bishopsgate, a district settled by weavers in the 16th. (fn. 324)
The building which spread from Spitalfields in the 1660s and 1670s was mostly for weavers. (fn. 325) London weavers, like Solomon Bonner in Great Haresmarsh in 1675 and Miles White in Hare Street in 1680, (fn. 326) began to acquire property. By 1684 it was said of Bethnal Green that 'the people for the most part consist of weavers'. (fn. 327)
The early weavers included foreigners like Gerrard Vanton, a Walloon living in Bethnal Green in 1635. (fn. 328) The main influx of Huguenot silkweavers came later, when English masters welcomed cheap, skilled labourers during the dominance of French fashion, which depended on pattern rather than cut. The immigrants' skill in figured silk, brocades, and lustrings brought a boom to the industry in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. (fn. 329) Silkweaving then was small-scale and paternalistic with masters and journeymen usually working in the master's house, itself set among the smaller journeymen's houses. (fn. 330) Although most immigrants were poor, a few brought capital or, with some English weavers, prospered to become masters. Master weavers included the Garretts, who had lived in Bethnal Green since the 1670s, (fn. 331) had property in Castle Street in 1694 (fn. 332) and tenements in Weaver Street in the mid 18th century. (fn. 333) Others were John Rondeau (1694-1706) and, in the 1740s, Peter Triquet in St. John Street, James Sufflee and Abraham Jemmett in Fleet Street, Jonathan Pulley in New Cock Lane, William Grinsell in Turvey (? Turville) Street, Jonathan Hauchecorne of New Cock Lane and Isaac Dupree, (fn. 334) whose family had property in St. John Street and Carter's Rents in 1694. (fn. 335)
Bethnal Green, although not named, may have been a scene of the riots against mechanized silk looms in 1675. (fn. 336) In 1697 it petitioned against the import of materials from India and Persia, which had 'extinguished' weaving and its dependent trades. (fn. 337) In 1719-20 there were violent protests, with attacks on women wearing calico, and in 1721 legislation forbade its manufacture. (fn. 338)
The industry changed in the mid 18th century, partly because the most successful masters tended to leave for the land or liberal professions, being replaced by humbler journeymen, usually Englishmen. (fn. 339) The spread of more cramped houses for journeymen made Bethnal Green a less desirable residence, from which the departure of the 'better sort' by 1743 was leaving a population chiefly of journeymen and 'other inferior artificers belonging to the weaving trade'. (fn. 340) Giles Bigot (d. 1742), for example, whose family came from Poitou, moved to Spital Square in 1739. His son Peter, a master weaver, leased a building with five tenements and two back rooms at the corner of Swan and Bacon streets (fn. 341) but by 1761 when he bought Great Haresmarsh he had moved to Essex and apparently left the industry. (fn. 342) By 1788 there was said to be not one silk master or manufacturer resident in Bethnal Green, the weavers working in their homes, sometimes the tenemented houses of former masters, for employers in Spitalfields or the City. (fn. 343)
The rift between masters and men exacerbated the turbulence which followed the end of the Seven Years' War, with journeymen combining to sabotage those paying or accepting reduced wages. After riots in 1763, 1765, and 1766, (fn. 344) the single-handed weavers organized themselves as the Bold Defiance with their headquarters at the Dolphin in Cock Lane, raised a strike fund, and smashed engine looms. The military raided the Dolphin and two of the weavers' leaders, Doyle and Valline, were hanged before a great crowd near the Salmon and Ball. (fn. 345) Some 15 months later the mob murdered a witness against the hanged men. David Wilmot was the magistrate active in apprehending two culprits, whose execution in 1771 led troops to guard his house. (fn. 346) In 1773 weavers allied with coal heavers to press for lower food prices and help for the weaving industry but the Bethnal Green magistrates prevented assemblies which might have led to riot. (fn. 347) In 1773 a Spitalfields Act banned foreign silks and in 1792 and 1801 further Acts regulated prices and wages, whereupon the weavers' riots came to an end. (fn. 348)
The Act of 1773 brought some stability, although the industry remained vulnerable to changes in fashion and by c. 1800 expertise had declined as demand for elaborate materials dwindled. (fn. 349) The independent weaver more and more fell into the power of a middleman, the factor who procured woven material at the lowest possible price to supply wholesale dealers. (fn. 350) By 1816 the weavers were in greater distress than for many years. (fn. 351)
A related decline took place in the specialized occupations that had formed part of the early silk industry. Framework knitters, who produced stockings and gloves, were recorded in 1660, (fn. 352) 1671, (fn. 353) and 1685, when three worked at 'engines wherewith to make knitwork' belonging to a victualler, (fn. 354) and 1734, when there was a stockingmaker in Bacon Street. (fn. 355) In 1763 many knitters worked privately at home for the capital's shops, although none of the manufacturers lived in Bethnal Green. (fn. 356) Their occupation had ceased to be recorded by 1800.
Silk throwsters, who twisted the raw silk into thread, were recorded from 1631 (fn. 357) and were often men of position: James Church (d. 1686) left money and property in the City and several counties. (fn. 358) In the 1720s John (d. 1732) and Matthew Oakey were men of substance in the western part of Bethnal Green; John, also styled a merchant, was a justice. (fn. 359) After c. 1760 the industry, by then usually called silkwinding, declined in status, being carried on in small factories or in the weaver's home, usually by his wife and children. (fn. 360) The Cranfields of Hare Street were throwsters, Jeremiah being described as a worsted thrower in 1817 although Isaac Cranfield & Sons were among London's very few surviving silk-throwing firms in 1832. (fn. 361) In 1851 there was a silkwinder, along with two silk manufacturers, in Paradise Row, (fn. 362) whose widow was still in business in 1863. (fn. 363) Other silkwinders in 1851 were William Engleburtt of Elizabeth Street off Hackney Road, with 15 employees, and another in Sebright Street, with 5. (fn. 364) Only two silkwinders were recorded in 1863 and none by 1879. (fn. 365)
The chief and longest lasting related industry was dyeing. A dyehouse stood on the east side of George Street near St. John Street, probably by 1694; (fn. 366) it lasted until Ham's Alley was built between 1783 and 1791. (fn. 367) William Lee (d. 1720), its first dyer, was in partnership with John Ham, (fn. 368) and a John Ham retained considerable property there in 1783. (fn. 369) A second dyehouse nearby belonged by 1751 to another prominent parishioner, Vincent Beverley (d. 1772), (fn. 370) whose successor John Beverley had a dyehouse in 1775. (fn. 371) One of the two dyehouses was occupied in 1818 by Powell. (fn. 372) John Wright had a dyehouse in Hare Street in 1775 (fn. 373), perhaps that owned by the only identifiable Huguenot dyers, James Racine and Frank Jacques, whose dyehouse was variously described as in Hare Street or next to the French chapel in St. John Street from c. 1817-1846/50. (fn. 374) Other dyers included John Hilliard at no. 10 London Terrace, Hackney Road, and Thomas Stracey at no. 23 George Street, possibly a successor of Ham or Beverley, in 1817 and 1826-7, W. Tillett in South Conduit Street in 1826-7 (fn. 375) and 1836, John Barker at no. 2 Winchester Street in 1826-7 and no. 5 Bacon Street and Spicer Street in 1832-4, Edmund Reynolds in Durham Place, Hackney Road, in 1832-4 (fn. 376) and 1863, and James Elkins at no. 11 Weaver street in 1863 and 1879. (fn. 377)
An estimated 68 per cent of adult males were employed in clothing (59 per cent in silk) in 1770 and only 48 per cent (39 per cent in silk) in 1813. (fn. 378) The repeal of the Spitalfields Acts in 1824, which led to a steady drop in wages, and the treaty of 1860, which opened English markets to French silk, furthered the decline, as did fashion's favouring other fabrics over silk and the spread of cheap factory production elsewhere, notably in the north of England. (fn. 379) In 1838 nearly 11 per cent of the parish's population worked as silkweavers. Bethnal Green dominated the Spitalfields weaving industry, having 77 per cent of the looms and 82 per cent of the families employed. (fn. 380) The industry had spread to all parts of the parish although it was still densest in the south and west, where the finest goods were produced. Of a total of 7,847 working looms, 2,932 were in Church and 2,703 in Town ward. Besides the 7,847 people employed as weavers (4,232 men, 2,897 women, and the rest children and apprentices), there were 776 unemployed weavers and 189 who called themselves weavers but had had to part with their looms; 3,512 families were at work, most owning one or two looms. Nine per cent of the looms in Church ward and 5 per cent in Town ward produced Jacquard velvet or figured silk, compared with 4 per cent in Hackney Road and barely 3 per cent in Green ward. By far the largest output was of plain goods, ranging from 61 per cent in Church ward to 86 per cent in Hackney Road. Velvets, which made up the rest, in 1867 required 600 distinct operations to make 1". (fn. 381)
Only two wealthy silkmasters were said to live in Bethnal Green in 1834. (fn. 382) Although the industry in London remained overwhelmingly domestic, a few factories were opened. (fn. 383) There were Bethnal Green residents during most of the 19th century who called themselves silk manufacturers but most firms were small-scale and short lived. They included one in Elizabeth Street, off Hackney Road, in 1821, (fn. 384) five in 1832-4 (two in Pollard Row, and one each in Bethnal Green Road, Church Street, and Tyssen Street), (fn. 385) 10 in 1851, (fn. 386) 3 in 1863, and 5 in 1879. (fn. 387) Charles Tripany in Sebright Street in 1851 employed 5 men (fn. 388) but references to a foreman or watchman in a silk factory, numerous in 1851, (fn. 389) imply that there were factories. One of the manufacturers of 1851 was John Warner, who lived in Northampton House, Elizabeth Terrace, off Hackney Road, with servants. (fn. 390) By 1872 Messrs. Warner & Ramm had built the East London silk mills in Hollybush Gardens, (fn. 391) where by 1876 nearly 100 in- and out-workers produced furniture silk. (fn. 392) In 1895 the firm, the last to leave the parish, acquired mills in Braintree (Essex) to which it soon transferred 60 silkweavers from Bethnal Green. (fn. 393)
After the collapse of the plain silk market after 1860, the East London industry concentrated on furniture silk and on handkerchiefs, ties, and scarves, such as those produced by Slater, Buckingham & Co. of Spitalfields at a factory in Lark Row, Cambridge Road, in 1876. Vavasseur, Carter & Collier made a variety of silks in the Nichol c. 1876-1902. (fn. 394) By the late 1880s 284 households were employed in silkweaving, forming 1 per cent of the population. (fn. 395) Only two manufacturers were listed in 1902 (fn. 396) although the borough still had more silk workers than any other in London. (fn. 397) By 1914 114 weavers occupied 46 workshops, mostly in Cranbrook Street and Alma Road in the eastern part, but by 1931 there were only 11 elderly weavers. (fn. 398) Efforts to revive the industry in the 1930s failed (fn. 399) and it finally ended in 1940 when France could no longer supply the raw material. (fn. 400)
Craftsmen in the early 17th century included an ironyer (1613), (fn. 401) a wireworker (1636), (fn. 402) and makers of boxes (1621), clasps (1623), felt (1629), (fn. 403) sieves (1630), baskets (1633), spectacles (1634), (fn. 404) and gloves (1638 and 1641). (fn. 405) There was a tobacconist in Brick Lane and a collarmaker (Joseph Blissett, owner of Markhams) in 1707, (fn. 406) a perukemaker in 1762, (fn. 407) and a cardmaker in 1763. (fn. 408)
Brewing, besides serving the local market, included a share in one of the big commercial breweries. The Black Eagle brewery, founded in 1669, taken over by Joseph Truman before 1683, transformed into Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co. c. 1800, (fn. 409) and taken over by Maxwell Joseph before 1978, (fn. 410) lay on either side of Brick Lane, mostly in Spitalfields but including early 19th-century buildings in Bethnal Green. Production rose from 60,140 barrels in 1760 to 600,000 in 1876 (fn. 411) and by 1775 the firm had built storehouses and stabling on the corner of Tyssen and Shacklewell streets. (fn. 412)
There were two other breweries in 1751, (fn. 413) one in Garrett Street and a much larger one in Hare Street, which existed in 1775 (fn. 414) and possibly, as Daniel Levesque's, in St. John Street, in 1817, when there was also an ale brewer in Austin Street. (fn. 415) By 1836, in addition to the Black Eagle, there were four: in Punderson's Place, Ann Street, Sugar Loaf Walk, and Whitechapel Road. (fn. 416) The Sugar Loaf Walk brewery, called the White Hart, existed in 1819. (fn. 417) The Whitechapel Road brewery, at the southern tip of Bethnal Green, was held by James Mann in 1836, (fn. 418) employed 158 men in 1851, (fn. 419) and was called the Albion brewery when a warehouse was built in 1872. (fn. 420) The owners Mann, Crossman & Paulin in 1937 applied, presumably unsuccessfully, to build a factory at the junction of Dinmont and Coate streets at the other end of Bethnal Green. (fn. 421) Their Albion brewery survived on its original site in 1988 but had closed by 1994.
The north side of Hackney Road by 1846 had a brewery in Gwynne's Place (fn. 422) and to the east by the early 1860s the Wiltshire brewery of Chandler & Co., (fn. 423) which was rebuilt or extended in 1871 and 1893. (fn. 424) The south side had two breweries in 1872, almost opposite Wiltshire brewery and at the junction of Temple and Claremont streets. (fn. 425) The City of London brewery had a factory in Smarts Street by 1902. (fn. 426) There were at least five distillers in the western and southern districts in the 1740s. (fn. 427) John Liptrap had a distillery in Hollybush Gardens from 1812 until 1838 or later. (fn. 428)
Ropemaking, requiring a long strip of ground, was established partly to serve the shipping industry. Liberty to 'carry a ropewalk' was included in a lease of land north of Green Street in 1714. (fn. 429) A cordmaker was leased part of Turville estate in 1728, (fn. 430) near the rope ground in Shacklewell Street in 1820. (fn. 431) A rope walk on the north side of Sugar Loaf Walk by 1747 (fn. 432) was leased in 1851 to John Elam, 'master rope and twine spinner', who employed 11 men; (fn. 433) it survived in the 1870s. (fn. 434) There was another rope walk on the east side of Dog Row c. 1801-12 (fn. 435) and a rope manufacturer at no. 50 Church Street in 1817. (fn. 436) Several rope walks around Barnet Grove in the mid 19th century (fn. 437) included one which in 1862 employed 24 men and 18 boys 'depraved drunkards'. (fn. 438) There were at least three rope walks in the early 1870s, in Sugar Loaf Walk, the southern part of Cambridge Road, and Peel Grove, (fn. 439) and one, at Usk Street, in 1894. (fn. 440)
Warehouses and factories began to appear in the late 18th century. There was a warehouse in Sweetapple Court on Austens in 1775. (fn. 441) A cotton factory established by Messrs. Paty and Burchall in St. John Street c. 1783 employed 200-300 workers by 1795 (fn. 442) and was 'very extensive' in 1831 and 1849; (fn. 443) it had gone by 1851 although there were still cotton workers in the parish. (fn. 444) A factory was established at the end of Pollard Row by 1794 by Hegner, Ehrliholtzer & Co. to make flaxen pipe hose for fire engines, breweries, and ships. It employed only a few hands in 1795 (fn. 445) but was 'large' in 1831 and apparently survived in 1849. (fn. 446) A floor-cloth factory existed by 1794 in St. Matthew's Place at the eastern end of Hackney Road; (fn. 447) owned from c. 1816 by Christopher Daniel Hayes, it had probably closed by 1851. (fn. 448) Hayes also had premises in Fenchurch Street and another floor-cloth manufacturer, Thomas and William Davis, had factories on the Shoreditch side of Hackney Road and at nos. 159 and 160 Whitechapel Road, next to Albion brewery, by 1842. (fn. 449) Both existed in 1879, as did floor-cloth factories in Globe Road, Cambridge Road, and on the south side of Hackney Road, but all had gone by 1902. (fn. 450)
In 1800 there were warehouses in Digby and Carter streets and a factory in Church Row (fn. 451) and in 1812 factories in Bond's Place near Mary's Row and in Church Street. (fn. 452) By 1817 there were at least seven warehouses in Bethnal Green Road alone (fn. 453) and manufacturers included a patent colour firm (Linschoten & Co.), a file maker (William Rhodes), and a saltpetre refiner (John Vanneson or Van Heson) in Hackney Road, and a soda maker (Whitwell & Co.), two surgeon's lint manufacturers, and two 'orchill makers', Samuel Child and Dent & Child, at the green. (fn. 454) Orchil was a red or violet dye made from lichen. A factory, usually called Archall's or Archill, (fn. 455) was built, probably by Joseph Dent, on the eastern part of Kirby's Castle estate and conveyed by him in 1817 to Samuel Preston Child. (fn. 456) Child was there in 1851 but by 1855 the premises had passed to Burton & Garraway, 'merchants etc.' (fn. 457) William Burton & Sons had a peroxide factory there in 1911 (fn. 458) and in 1934 were merchants and manufacturers of orchil, cudbear, extract of indigo, hydrogen peroxide, aluminia lakes and aniline dyes, sharing the premises with R. B. Brown & Co., dye manufacturers. (fn. 459) The site was bombed and later taken for Rogers estate. (fn. 460) A white lead works on the east side of Hollybush Gardens belonged to Edward Ball & Co. in 1817 (fn. 461) and was still there in 1902. (fn. 462)
Factories employed only a minority of the workforce. Large numbers affected by the decline of silkweaving in the 1820s and 1830s were absorbed into home- or workshop-based industries. The chief manufactures, lacking the monopoly position of silk, were furniture, clothing, and shoemaking.
One cabinet maker and several weavers were among 14 people eligible for parish office in 1756. (fn. 463) William Blunt, formerly of St. Botolph's Bishopsgate, was a cabinet maker in Bethnal Green in 1772. (fn. 464) There was a timberyard in 1794 (fn. 465) and one, associated with a carpenter and undertaker, at the north end of the green in 1800. (fn. 466) There were no cabinet makers, chairmakers, or upholsterers in 1811 (fn. 467) but two timber merchants in Hackney Road, a cabinet and a chair maker in Dog Row, and a cabinet maker in Church Street in 1817. (fn. 468) The industry then developed rapidly, making cheap furniture with imported timber which from 1820 could be brought by the Regent's canal. (fn. 469) As the traditional cabinet makers, 'society men' based mostly in Clerkenwell, declined in status in the 1830s, Bethnal Green, with its competitive garret-masters, began to take over. (fn. 470) In the early 1830s it had two timber dealers, at least one timber merchant, five chair makers, and ten cabinet makers, all except one dealer to the west of Cambridge Road and most along Hackney Road. (fn. 471)
Numbers multiplied, to 26 cabinet making, chair making, and upholstering establishments by 1846, 84 by 1859, and 121 by 1872. Steam saw mills fostered the expansion (fn. 472) and by 1851 (fn. 473) the industry had spread east of Cambridge Road to the canal, where there were timberyards at Twig Folly bridge (fn. 474) and the proprietor of a steam mill (Richard Tower) lived in Lark Row, (fn. 475) probably running the saw mill and yard near Sewardstone Road. (fn. 476) Production was still thickest, however, in the west, especially around the Nichol. Although cabinet and chair makers were the most numerous, there were many specialists to make other articles of furniture, frames, or boxes, besides carvers, workers in cane, ivory, bone, willow or veneer, and upholsterers, japanners, and french polishers. The industry was small-scale, in homes or workshops; a chair maker in Clarence Place who employed 8 men was exceptional and there was apparently only one furniture factory, in Hope Street. (fn. 477) There were still no large establishments in 1861, when 2,563 people worked in furniture making. (fn. 478) By 1872 nearly 700 addresses in Bethnal Green were connected with the industry, compared with 85 in Hackney and 659 in Shoreditch.
There were at least three saw mills and 16 timberyards in the early 1870s, of which 8 yards were in Bethnal Green Road and 4 in Gosset Street. (fn. 479) Saw mills were built in 1873 in Sewardstone Road and next to the railway at Cambridge Heath and in 1874 in Busby Street. (fn. 480) Numbers in the industry reached 4,326 in 1881 and 4,766 c. 1890, more than half of them described as cabinet makers and upholsterers. (fn. 481) Although Curtain Road in Shoreditch was the centre of the trade, Gosset Street was the manufacturing centre. When the 15 a. of the Nichol came to be cleared in 1890, its occupiers included 120 cabinet makers, 74 chair makers, and 24 woodcutters and sawyers. (fn. 482) The small workshop remained the standard unit of production, with yards and saw mills interspersed. Mills often let space and steam power to up to 20 specialist workers. Increasing mechanization brought cheaper products, carvers for example being replaced by machine mouldings. (fn. 483) A tendency towards larger premises gave rise to three with more than 100 employees by c. 1900, (fn. 484) but individuals continued to make and hawk single items. The intense competition and many small workshops which eluded inspection encouraged sweating, which was exacerbated by Jewish immigration. In 1888 Brick Lane was notorious for boy labour, many garret masters worked people until 11.30 p.m., and a larger factory near Bethnal Green Junction station, with 60-70 employees, worked them until 10.0 p.m. (fn. 485)
By 1901 7,874 men and 1,167 women (mostly french polishers) worked in the wood and furniture industry, 3,729 of them as cabinet makers. There were 7,632 men and 1,125 women workers in 1911, (fn. 486) when there were 377 cabinet or chair making and upholstery firms. Few firms were long lived, White Bros. in Church Street from 1831 to 1911 being an exception (fn. 487) and bankrupt ones being replaced, as little capital was needed to set up a workshop. After a slight decline during the First World War, the industry continued to expand, to 439 cabinet and chair making and upholstery establishments by 1939, the highest concentration in the country and employing 5,961 people in 968 factories. (fn. 488) The wholesaler or middleman gradually disappeared as retailers were supplied directly and some of the larger ones ran their own factories. Many hand-made furniture and french polishing workshops closed. The move towards larger premises was reinforced by the need for more space for electrically driven machinery. Larger firms were sited along the Regent's canal or its eastward branch, the Hertford Union, where rents were lower than in the west. (fn. 489) In 1938, in the northern area between the canal and Vyner Street, there were four firms with 10-25 employees and two with 26-99. To the east one firm had more than 100 employees, three had 26-99, and one had 10-25. (fn. 490) Companies seeking cheaper sites outside Bethnal Green included Beautility, which moved to Edmonton in the mid 1930s. (fn. 491)
Slum clearance and bombing reduced their numbers, as did the shortage of timber after 1945. (fn. 492) There was diversification into other materials like plastic. (fn. 493) Workers in the furniture industry fell from 4,040 in 1951 (fn. 494) to 2,518 at 307 establishments by 1957. (fn. 495) Among firms which moved away were Jarman & Platt to Romford c. 1955, (fn. 496) and two in Palmer's Road, a saw mill in Kenilworth Road, and a cabinet firm at no. 293 Old Ford Road which had employed 150 before the war, by 1958. (fn. 497) Joseph Gardner (Hardwoods), timber merchants founded in Liverpool in 1748 who had opened a London branch c. 1870 and moved to Twig Folly Wharf in Roman Road in 1932, left between 1964 and 1975. (fn. 498) Emerald Furniture Co. moved away in 1969 when its factory, built c. 1890 in Hollybush Gardens, was acquired by the G.L.C. (fn. 499) Premises in workshop areas like Teesdale Street dwindled by 1958 (fn. 500) and vanished in rebuilding later. Many small firms, however, continued into the 1990s in the traditional areas like Hackney Road. (fn. 501) There were at least 30 firms in 1991, some in new estates like Crown works in Temple Street or Parmiter Street industrial estate. (fn. 502)
The clothing industry arose from the secondhand trade which had existed around Houndsditch since the 16th century and spread eastward to focus on Petticoat Lane. By the early 19th century clothes were 'clobbered' or renovated and a market developed for cheap clothing, including uniforms. (fn. 503) There were a haberdasher and worsted manufacturer, a stay manufacturer, a hosier and glover, and a cotton and hosiery warehouse in Bethnal Green Road in 1817 (fn. 504) and three tailors there, two in Hackney Road, and one each in Cambridge Road, Cambridge Heath, and Stepney Rents by the early 1830s. (fn. 505) In 1833 there were attempts to train unemployed weavers in the workhouse in skills which included the 'making of workmen's apparel'. (fn. 506) The tailor's condition, like the weaver's, was then beginning to decline, as work paid for daily by the master tailor on his premises gave way to piece work at home. The change, origin of the sweating system, was owed to middlemen who commissioned the work as cheaply as possible. (fn. 507)
Although less numerous than weavers or wood workers, clothing workers were in all districts by 1851. (fn. 508) The large number called tailors probably reflected their change in status, while there were also needlewomen, dressmakers, seamstresses, (fn. 509) and makers of individual garments: waistcoats, shirts, headgear, collars, stays and, more rarely, trousers and shawls. Specialized activities included making buttons and artificial flowers, and preparing ostrich feathers, while in East Street off Russia Lane Edward Thurgood employed 16 men to make elastic hat bands (fn. 510) and in Ravenscroft Street James Webb employed 12 to dress skins. (fn. 511) Fourteen trimming manufacturers (fn. 512) included Thomas Lester in Half Nichol Street with 15 employees (fn. 513) and John Lingwood in Fuller Street with 20. (fn. 514) There were also clothes hawkers and dealers, a clothes shop in Austin Street, a rag shop keeper in Birdcage Walk, and rag merchants in Church Street and Giles Row.
Mechanization, following the introduction of the sewing machine to Britain in 1851 and the handsaw in 1858, hastened specialization and sweating. Middlemen, who arranged outlets for an agreed number of goods, contracted with the workshops or homeworkers, who often subcontracted individual processes. Competition drove down prices while the skilled tailor was superseded by machines and cheap labour, increasingly women, children, and immigrants. (fn. 515) In 1861 1,276 people worked in tailoring, 1,401 on women's outerwear, and 904 on shirts and underwear, mostly along Bethnal Green Road, Hackney Road, in the Nichol, and the southwest. (fn. 516) In 1865 tailoring in the East End was mainly done by females because of the increased use of the sewing machine (fn. 517) and women were making trimmings for a third of the men's wage. (fn. 518) Although Jews worked in the clothing trade from the early 19th century, it was their influx in the 1880s which enormously expanded output in the small workshops of Whitechapel and Bethnal Green at the expense of the West End. (fn. 519) At the end of the 1880s most workshops were small, with cheap 'slop' coats the main product of the humblest, which often used top floors or backyard sheds. Although workshops existed throughout the parish, there were a group producing mixed garments east of the canal, two larger ones on each side of Bethnal Green Road, and makers of men's coats in Cambridge Road and around Brick Lane. (fn. 520) Bethnal Green's industry was only a fraction of Whitechapel's in 1889 but was spreading to the 'Jewish island' of Teesdale and Blythe streets. (fn. 521) By 1901 7,310 were employed in 'dress', including 3,206 tailors (71 per cent of them women) and 1,229 shirtmakers and seamstresses; another 2,123 worked in textile fabrics. In 1911 1,623 were employed in textiles and 12,382 (62 per cent of them women) in dress, which probably included shoemaking. Shoemakers were among the 10,181 employed in textiles and dress, the largest category of employment, in 1921. (fn. 522)
Strikes by the tailors' unions in 1889 reduced working hours to 12 a day (fn. 523) and by 1903 better factory inspection and compulsory registration of outworkers had improved conditions. (fn. 524) Outworking was nevertheless common in 1914 and in tailoring involved low pay and long hours, interspersed with long periods of unemployment; (fn. 525) fragmentation among nine clothing unions impeded militant action. (fn. 526) After the First World War Jewish firms led a shift from men's to women's tailoring and towards production in larger factories. (fn. 527) Legislation guaranteeing minimum piece-prices had increased real wages, especially for women, by 1921. In 1929 there were 423 tailoring establishments, made up of 189 ready-made, 152 wholesale mantle, and 82 retail bespoke firms. In 1931 there were 41 clothing firms (33 of them tailors), which employed 662 outworkers (538 of them in tailoring), (fn. 528) and in 1938 the 5,402 people in 411 factories made clothing the largest employer after furniture making. (fn. 529) Small firms predominated: tailors with fewer than 10 people clustered in Teesdale and Blythe streets, south of Old Bethnal Green Road, in the south-west, and east of the green. There were a few large firms in gentlemen's tailoring, one in Bethnal Green Road with 400 employees making army clothing, one, London Co-operative Tailoring, employing 101 nearby. Silberston & Sons, long established in Cambridge Heath Road, specialized in uniforms for the Royal Horse Guards. Most firms were small, Jewish, short lived, and employed more women than men. (fn. 530)
By 1951 the borough's share of the London clothing industry had declined from 3.13 per cent in 1861 to 1.4 per cent; 2,207 people were employed in tailoring, 510 in women's outerwear, and 82 in shirts and underwear. (fn. 531) Slum clearance, bombing, and attempts to separate industry from residential areas reduced the number of premises, especially the older ones used by small firms. In Teesdale and Blythe streets tailoring firms decreased from 26 in 1938 to 10 in 1958. Silberston survived in 1959 but by 1964 had been replaced by sportswear manufacturers. A new firm with 140 employees had opened by 1958 to make coats. (fn. 532) Closures under development plans began to affect the larger firms and were made easier by mechanization, it having been hard to move skilled workers. (fn. 533) In the 1970s the clothing industry declined like silkweaving in the 1860s because of foreign competition. It fought back with increasing mechanization, for example using lasers for cutting, and employing immigrants. By 1982 it was estimated that 95 per cent of the Bengalis in Tower Hamlets worked in the industry, often in conditions reminiscent of the sweating of the 1880s. The turnover of small firms continued and emphasis was placed on the fashion industry. (fn. 534) Nearly 40 clothing and fabric makers were listed in Bethnal Green in 1991, about half in new business centres, Green Heath in Three Colts Lane, Parmiter, no. 10 Hollybush Gardens, or nos. 244-54 Cambridge Heath Road. (fn. 535)
Footwear making in 1817 was represented by two curriers and leather cutters, a bootmaker's, a ladies' shoe manufacturer, and a boot warehouse in Bethnal Green Road and a bootmaker in Dog Row. (fn. 536) By the end of the 1820s there were at least 26 bootmakers, half of them in Bethnal Green Road. (fn. 537) Shoemaking was suggested for parish paupers in 1827 and in 1833 (fn. 538) and by 1851 was widespread, especially in the former silkweaving districts. (fn. 539) There were fewer specialists than in furniture or clothing, workers being described as boot- or shoe-makers, binders, closers or, more rarely, repairers; a leather cutter, cordwainer, and clogmaker were also recorded. One bootmaker, in Goulden Place, Old Bethnal Green Road, employed 10 men (fn. 540) and there was a shoe manufacturer in King's Row, Cambridge Road, (fn. 541) but most manufacture was on the chamber system whereby a family's products were hawked by the man. Some chamber masters prospered and opened warehouses for shoes made by others. Fierce competition, partly from the Northampton factories, drove down wages and led to great poverty. Mayhew told of one Bethnal Green shoemaker, originally a weaver, who lived with 15 people in a damp kitchen where he worked from 5.0 a.m. to midnight. (fn. 542)
By 1861 3,573 people were employed in the footwear industry. (fn. 543) Women and children provided cheap labour, as in 1865 when boys were employed as nailers by riveters. (fn. 544) Women often made the upper parts of shoes at home and took them by basket to the warehouse. (fn. 545) In 1860 Hackney Road and Bethnal Green Road were the centres of the trade although there were bootmakers in the east, notably around Globe Road and Green Street. (fn. 546) From the mid 1860s mechanization hastened the growth of the sweating system, by which each stage of production was contracted out from the warehouse and which reached its zenith c. 1900 with Jewish immigrants supplying further cheap labour. (fn. 547) By 1872 the industry had spread east of Cambridge Road to the canal and beyond, although Hackney Road remained the centre and there were local concentrations like Victoria Park Square. (fn. 548) Sweating in the 1880s brought irregular employment, long hours, specialization, widespread use of women and children, and outwork. Upper-making was usually carried on at home; the rivetting of boots, largely for working-class children, was concentrated in the east while the sewing of uppers ('sew-round') was done by groups, often Jews, women and children, mainly in the west. (fn. 549) There were 74 shoemakers in the Nichol in 1890. (fn. 550)
A strike against outwork in 1890 forced the manufacturers to have all lasting and finishing done on their own premises by their own workers. (fn. 551) Mechanization reduced the workforce by nearly 30 per cent, mainly men, between 1891 and 1911. There were 2,596 men and 1,659 women bootmakers in 1901, when there were more wholesalers and fewer individual craftsmen, although premises were distributed much as in 1872. (fn. 552)
In 1930 25 boot and shoe firms employed 241 outworkers. (fn. 553) In 1938 only one of the many workshops in Teesdale Street made shoes (fn. 554) but a former glass factory in Treadway Street had become a shoe works. (fn. 555) By 1951 premises had dwindled to seven wholesale shoemakers, two slipper makers, and a few retail shoemakers, employing a total of 648 workers (50 of whom were repairers). (fn. 556) Firms were still concentrated along Bethnal Green Road. (fn. 557) Larger ones tended to leave, including the British United Shoe Machinery Co., which moved its warehouse and servicing depot from Bethnal Green Road to Hackney in 1956. (fn. 558) Six addresses in that road were connected with shoe manufacture in 1964, three of them belonging to the Agombar family, boot dealers and makers. The other three were for a repairer, a dealer, and a maker of baby shoes. Eight more firms were scattered throughout the borough and included two in Vyner Street on the northern border, one of which (M. Rubin & Sons) had a factory at no. 30 stretching to Wadeson Street along Mowlem Street. (fn. 559) By 1975 those three streets contained six of the eight manufacturers (one of them still M. Rubin's) and one wholesaler left in the borough. Bethnal Green Road had lost all connexion with shoes except for a repairer and some retailers. (fn. 560) In 1991 a single small manufacturer was listed, at a unit at no. 272 Hackney Road. (fn. 561)
The paper and printing industry was also based mainly on small firms and developed during the early 19th century. Although many local boys (and at least one girl) were apprenticed to London printers and bookbinders in the 18th, (fn. 562) they do not appear to have returned to their parish to work. The Hands were a family of paper-stainers in Old Nichol Street c. 1749- 65. (fn. 563) By 1828 Hackney Road had two paperhanging manufacturers and one of two printers, the other being in Church Street (Bethnal Green Road). (fn. 564) Paper mills near Wellington Road in 1831 (fn. 565) were probably for the manufacture of printing paper mentioned in 1849. (fn. 566) By 1834 a third paperhanging manufacturer was in Hackney Road and a fourth, Arnold Bening & Son, a Shoreditch papermaker's, in Elizabeth Street. There were a bookbinder in Tyssen Street, two print block cutters, one for paperstainers in Cheshire Street and another in Cambridge Road, and four printers. (fn. 567) The focus had shifted by 1851 (fn. 568) to Cambridge Road, which had a paperstainer, three bookbinders, and (in Patriot Row) a printer. Many inmates of the neighbouring Jewish Converts Institute were classified as printers, bookbinders, and compositors. (fn. 569) Bethnal Green Road housed a paperhanging manufacturer, a bookbinder, and three printers, Hackney Road a printer, and Nelson Street a type founder. The industry, with some who worked from home, included pocket book makers, book folders, paper makers and marblers, compositors, a manufacturer of printing ink in Northampton Street, and a porter in an envelope factory.
There was a paper bag factory at the Octagon, Somerford Street, in 1872 (fn. 570) and D. Cullen built a paper factory in Chisendale Road in 1882. (fn. 571) By 1901 the industry employed 5,146 people, 1,714 of them in paper making, 1,279 in printing, and 985 as bookbinders. (fn. 572) Manufacture was mainly of bags, made up in the home or in small workshops near Victoria Park by women. (fn. 573) The workforce grew to 5,439 in 1911 but then declined, to 3,657 in 1921. (fn. 574) In 1927 there were manufacturers in Wharf Road, off Pritchard's Road, and in Kerbela and Fuller streets, and at least ten printers, two of them in Hackney Road and two in Bethnal Green Road. (fn. 575) Most firms were short lived. Among the longer lasting were Walkden & Wetherall, printers from Glasgow established in 1888, bombed during both world wars but surviving at nos. 7-9 Old Nichol Street in 1967. (fn. 576) Baruch Weinburg, who founded a Yiddish daily paper, in 1915 moved his printing business from Bethnal Green Road to no. 175 Brick Lane; it moved to no. 73 (in Spitalfields) in 1937 and was still flourishing in 1987. (fn. 577) By 1938 there were only 27 printing and paper factories, employing 274 people.
Firms in 1955 included some large ones, especially bookbinders near the canal, and several printers south of Bethnal Green Road. (fn. 578) They suffered like others in the clearances, Webster printing works in St. Matthew's Row, for example, making way for the Granby Street scheme in 1966. (fn. 579) Papermaking had disappeared by 1975, although there were still 20 printers then and nearly 30, mostly very small firms, by 1991. They included Samuel Frankel in Old Nichol Street, having moved from Globe Road (1927) and Bethnal Green Road (1975). (fn. 580)
Among many manufactures by 1817 were coaches, pianos, umbrellas, soap, and various metals. (fn. 581) Sanderson Turner Sturtevant, a tallow chandler in 1788, (fn. 582) who later developed the area on Snow estate, leased a soaphouse in Rose and Mount streets in 1806 (fn. 583) and made soap at no. 42 Church Street (Bethnal Green Road) in 1817. His factory had passed to Richard Sturtevant and Charles Turner by 1832 and to Charles Croft, tallow chandler, by 1851 (fn. 584) when there was another soap manufacturer in Gloucester Street (fn. 585) and a candle factory belonged to William Palmer & Co. in Green Street. (fn. 586) By the 1870s there was a large candle, soap, and match factory north of Three Colts Lane and west of Coventry Street (fn. 587) and a candle factory in Victoria works between the canal and Victoria Park cemetery. (fn. 588)
Edward Tann of Minerva Terrace, Hackney Road, iron chest maker, was in 1814 already occupying land at the junction of Hackney Road and Harvey (later Hope then Treadway) Street (fn. 589) on which by 1846 George Tann had a factory. (fn. 590) In 1851 it was run by Edward Tann, iron safe manufacturer, with 24 men. (fn. 591) It was John Tann's in 1883 and still a safe factory in 1893 (fn. 592) but had become a glass works by 1914. (fn. 593) There were several tinplate workers and two pewter manufacturers in Bethnal Green Road in 1817, (fn. 594) an iron foundry in Cock Lane (Boundary Street) c. 1827, (fn. 595) and two tinyards in Helen's Place on the east side of the green in 1836 and 1848. (fn. 596) Between 1850 and 1863 the foundry was taken over by John Keeves, whose descendant's large tinplate works in 1890 was the only factory to survive the clearing of the Nichol. Crowden & Keeves were wholesale hardware manufacturers by 1934 and brush makers by 1952. (fn. 597) Iron foundries existed in Ann Street before 1850, (fn. 598) in Foster Street in 1851, (fn. 599) and in Hollybush Gardens in 1872, (fn. 600) where one was rebuilt or joined by another in 1883. (fn. 601) By 1851 metalworkers included those working with wire, zinc, copper, tinplate, and ironplate, beside brass and iron founders and moulders. (fn. 602) John Law, a goldbeater, employed 26 men in 1851, (fn. 603) probably at nos. 5 and 7 Old Ford Road before he conveyed the site in 1882 to Colman's. (fn. 604) Other factories included Trotway iron works in Punderson's Gardens in 1876, (fn. 605) Maughan geyser factory at the junction of Gloucester Street and Cambridge Road in 1878, (fn. 606) and the engineering firm of J. J. Lane in Cranbrook Street in 1894, (fn. 607) which expanded in 1914 and 1915. (fn. 608) Booth stated that there were 4,528 metalworkers in Bethnal Green (772 blacksmiths, 1,074 other workers in iron and steel, 1,617 workers in other metals, and 1,065 engine- and machine-makers). (fn. 609) A different classification listed 1,838 working in metals and machines in 1901 (besides 8 professional engineers and 112 makers of electrical apparatus), 2,022 in 'metals, machines and conveyances' in 1911, and 1,922 metal and 271 electrical workers in 1921. (fn. 610) By 1938 there were 86 engineering firms employing 485 people but metal working was not described. (fn. 611) Lane's large Phoenix works survived to the 1950s (fn. 612) but made way for the Cranbrook estate. In 1955 many, mostly small, firms made metal goods, including furniture or springs. Small firms were mainly in the western part of the borough and larger ones in the east, among them an engineering firm on the canal and others around Bethnal Green Road. (fn. 613) In 1975 Bethnal Green Road had makers of gaskets and scales, a radio engineer, and electrical contractors (fn. 614) but by 1991 only one metal manufacturer was listed, (fn. 615) together with four general, a mechanical, and three electrical engineers.
Noxious industries, uncontrolled, included horse boiling in Digby Street and near Dog Row in 1829, (fn. 616) catgut manufacture in Haresmarsh in 1831, (fn. 617) bladder drying near Three Colts Lane, tripe boiling in Boundary Street, and the processing of manure in Charles Street in 1848. (fn. 618)
By 1851 products included combs, spectacles, surgical instruments, (fn. 619) barges, guns (fn. 620) and gunpowder, (fn. 621) tobacco and matches, chemicals, glass, and brushes. There was a match manufacturer in Orange Street in 1840. (fn. 622) Workers in 1851 included matchmakers, tobacco strippers and a clerk in a tobacco factory, tobacco pipe makers and trimmers, and cigar makers, mostly in the west and south of the parish. (fn. 623) Many, especially makers of matches and match boxes, worked at home for firms outside Bethnal Green, but Letchford Buildings (later Allen & Hanbury) housed a match factory before 1874. (fn. 624) In 1901 892 people, mostly women, worked with tobacco, (fn. 625) which was later classified with food and drink.
Food firms established during the 1870s included Liebig's Malted Food Co. with a factory in Royal Victor Place by 1871, (fn. 626) Robertson's, which built a ginger beer factory in Bethnal Green Road in 1873, (fn. 627) and Davis, a vinegar manufacturer, which built a warehouse in Tyssen Street in 1874. (fn. 628) Messrs. Colman, the Norwich mustard manufacturers, had starch works on the north side of the green by the mid 1870s when they built warehouses there. (fn. 629) They were leased nos. 5 and 7 Old Ford Road in 1882 with permission to demolish, (fn. 630) acquired no. 13 Old Ford Road in 1897, (fn. 631) and made further alterations in 1899 and 1906. (fn. 632) The company left when it sold the site to the M.B. in 1923. (fn. 633) The Natural Food Co. (later Allinson's Bread Co.) acquired Cyclone mills in Cambridge Road, north of Patriot Square, in 1892, (fn. 634) made alterations in 1914 and 1917, (fn. 635) and closed between 1964 and 1975. (fn. 636) F. A. Bovill manufactured sauces and pickles in Derbyshire Street by 1928 and closed between 1944 and 1952. (fn. 637)
Food, drink, and tobacco provided employment for 6,125 people in 1911 but only 1,886 in 1921, possibly because the 1921 census introduced a new category of warehousemen, storekeepers, and packers, of whom there were 2,434. (fn. 638) There were 101 factories employing 1,674 people in 1938. (fn. 639) They included 36 bakery and confectionery firms, 16 firms connected with meat and sausages, one producer of jellied eels, and four breweries. By 1958 there were five jellied eel firms but only 19 bakers and confectioners, five meat and sausage firms, and three breweries, while there had been a marked decline in tobacco. (fn. 640)
Chemical firms, apart from the dye factory at the green and white lead works in Hollybush Gardens, included William T. Hunt, druggists who had a warehouse and factory in Victoria Park Square in 1848. (fn. 641) The most important was Allen & Hanbury, (fn. 642) pharmaceutical and manufacturing chemists who had originated in an apothecary's shop off Lombard Street in 1715 and expanded under its eponymous Quakers beyond the City. They secured part of Letchford Buildings in Three Colts Lane in 1874, enlarging their warehouse in 1881. (fn. 643) In the 1880s Cornelius Hanbury (II), himself a surgeon, began making surgical instruments in a small workshop and forge at Bethnal Green. A factory for the instruments was built alongside the existing premises in 1904 and given an extra floor after fire damage in 1906. When the underlease expired in 1907, Hanbury was leased the whole premises, to which he transferred all his manufacturing and wholesale work. A new factory was built in 1922 (fn. 644) after the premises were bombed in 1918. Bombed again in 1940, the firm acquired neighbouring bombed sites with a frontage on Cambridge Road for a brick and concrete building to house the engineering and surgical departments, although much of its manufacturing was transferred to Ware (Herts.). The company merged with Glaxo Group Ltd. in 1958 and moved the manufacture of surgical instruments to Portsmouth in 1963, leaving the Bethnal Green premises purely administrative from 1967 until 1982 when the site closed completely. (fn. 645) There were 855 people employed in chemicals and soap in 1911 (fn. 646) and 24 chemical factories employing 738 people in 1938. (fn. 647) One was the chemical works at Young's Wharf and another perhaps Cordova works where gum was processed. (fn. 648)
A glass manufacturer in Brick Lane, (fn. 649) a glassmaker in Three Colts Lane, (fn. 650) a glassdrop cutter in Virginia Row, (fn. 651) and many glassblowers and cutters around the Nichol were recorded in 1851. (fn. 652) A small glass industry in the late 19th century in part made beads for export to Africa; (fn. 653) although it had dwindled, there were 457 employed in a 'small works' industry of glass and earthenware c. 1903. (fn. 654) Firms included the London Glass Works in Minerva Street in 1880, (fn. 655) and glassworks in Somerford Street in 1887, (fn. 656) in Old Bethnal Green Road in 1889, (fn. 657) and at no. 34 Matilda Street in 1897. (fn. 658) In 1902 both Minerva Street and Old Bethnal Green Road housed bottle manufacturers, (fn. 659) the latter, James Anderson & Sons, surviving in 1927. (fn. 660) Morey and Holmes had a bottle factory in Jersey Street in the 1920s. (fn. 661) Monk & Brown, glass bevellers, had a factory behind no. 17 Old Ford Road by 1924 and until 1964 or later. (fn. 662) There were eight firms of bevellers in 1952, (fn. 663) six by 1964, together with two glass manufacturers, a glass cutter, four glass merchants, and two bottle merchants. Five glass firms survived until 1975, although only Dorell Glass Co. in Marian Place was a manufacturer. (fn. 664)
A brush manufacturer employed 10 men near Cheshire Street (fn. 665) and there were several brushmakers in the Nichol in 1851. (fn. 666) G. B. Kent & Co. had a factory in Robinson Road by 1876 when it added a warehouse, rebuilding the factory in 1877. (fn. 667) Still a brush factory in 1942, (fn. 668) it made bed springs by 1950. (fn. 669) Bethnal Green c. 1903 had 1,312 people employed in brush- and comb-making and was one of three places where brushmakers lived near most of the brush factories in London. (fn. 670) There were 16 in Bethnal Green in 1902, five in 1934 and 1964, and three by 1975. Mason Pearson Bros., at nos. 1-8 Royal Victor Place, survived from 1902, but had moved to Stratford by 1991. (fn. 671)
Industry had spread from the brickfields and weavers' houses of the west and south-west to reach Cambridge Road and the green by 1817. (fn. 672) It was carried on mostly within houses, sometimes in adjacent workshops and, in a few cases from the late 18th century, in purposebuilt factories and warehouses. Between 1826 (fn. 673) and 1836 two wharves were built on the canal and industrial premises included two dyehouses, four breweries, a ropeground, limeworks, two stoneyards, a dustyard, two tinyards, two timberyards, saw mills, four warehouses, and five factories. (fn. 674) There were at least eight factories by 1846 and one warehouse belonging to the Eastern Counties Railway. (fn. 675) Factories went up along the canal and also along the railways, (fn. 676) whose arches accommodated workshops. (fn. 677) In the relatively empty area east of Cambridge Road, Victoria works was built between the canal and cemetery by 1854 (fn. 678) and there were workshops at the back of houses in Bonner's Fields c. 1857. (fn. 679)
Industrial development quickened in the 1870s. Applications were made in 1871 to build 34 warehouses, seven of them east of Cambridge Road, (fn. 680) and between 1872 and 1876 for another 97. (fn. 681) Workshops and factories, though fewer, were steadily built, including some in Royal Victor Place along the Hertford canal in the early 1880s. (fn. 682) In 1882 Green Street needed widening because of traffic congestion caused by the new factories. (fn. 683) In 1892 the medical officer of health believed that the north and south districts of Bethnal Green would soon become one vast factory and warehouse. (fn. 684) Old Ford Road in the east at about the same time was crowded with women taking matchboxes to Bryant & May's factory in Bow, with men taking boot uppers to factories, rolls of silk cloth to warehouses, or suitings to tailors, and with barrows laden with goods made at home; most homes had workshops and outworkers. (fn. 685)
Many employees worked for firms elsewhere, Bethnal Green in 1908 possessing nearly half as many more workers than could be employed in the borough. It had a large number of working women: 80 per cent of those aged 15-25, who were mostly unmarried, 22 per cent of married women, and 50 per cent of widows in 1911. (fn. 686) The proportion of people working outside the borough increased to 58 per cent by 1921, only 17,388 people working within it and 15,084 elsewhere in the East End. (fn. 687) Some of the worst workshops were closed during the 1920s under Labour local and national governments (fn. 688) and there was a tendency towards larger planned premises, especially during the 1930s. (fn. 689) The threat to industry from clearance schemes was instanced in 1936, when one for the area around the northern part of Cambridge Road proposed removing many of its 63 factories to reduce industry by a third. (fn. 690) Only 8 firms, however, left the borough between 1932 and 1938. There were 1,746 factories employing 15,945 people in 1938, but more people left the borough for work. (fn. 691)
Reduced by bombing, there were 975 factories in 1947. A quarter (246) of them had more than 10 workers but they accounted for nearly 80 per cent (9,078) of the factory workforce of 11,476. (fn. 692) By 1951 68 per cent of the working population was employed outside Bethnal Green, albeit mainly in neighbouring boroughs. Although all the old industries had declined, some of the largest factories like Allen & Hanbury's and Mann's and Truman's breweries remained. There were hundreds of small manufacturers, many using premises damaged or vacant in the course of rebuilding schemes, and there was no shortage of work. (fn. 693) There were still 859 factories employing 11,337 workers in 1954. (fn. 694)
Changes came when rebuilding schemes proved only too successful in disentangling factories from housing, and in reducing the total amount of industry. By the late 1970s the number of factories had fallen by 44 per cent and their loss, with its concomitant unemployment, was 'disastrous'. (fn. 695) Attempting to reintroduce industry, the L.B. scheduled vacant sites in 1982 (fn. 696) and offered grants and loans to firms in industrial improvement areas in 1984. (fn. 697) Several sites scheduled in 1986 for light industrial units (fn. 698) were rescheduled in 1988 for 'business'. (fn. 699) By the early 1990s there were light industrial units, often in groups like Huntingdon industrial units in Bethnal Green Road, GLEB industrial estate in Ebor Street, Parmiter Street industrial estate, or Greenearth business centre off Three Colts Lane. One large employer, Albion brewery, was replaced by a large retailer, Sainsbury's. Many old factories and workshops remained, often amidst dereliction, and although most of the firms were new, the industries were mainly old: clothes, furniture, printing, and leather goods. Encouragement of the arts was an innovation, with antiques, restoration, and garden pottery in Columbia Road and Ezra Street, and studios in Chisenhale Road, Mowlem Street, Winkley Street, and Columbia Road.
SHOPS AND MARKETS.
In the 18th century occupations included those of baker, chandler, and pawnbroker. (fn. 700) Shops existed by the early 19th century along Bethnal Green, Cambridge, and Hackney roads and there were corner shops, mostly selling groceries, throughout the parish. (fn. 701) Shopkeepers, chiefly along the main roads, formed the most prosperous residents in the surveys of the late 1880s and early 1930s. (fn. 702) A more popular form of retailing, however, was the street market of hawkers and costermongers. In 1833 36 inhabitants of Church Street (Bethnal Green Road) protested at stalls selling fish and fruit 'before our houses', especially on Sundays, and attracting crowds using bad language. (fn. 703) The twinfold objection, Sabbatarian and to undesirable elements, was reiterated well into the 20th century, never with much effect. The main street markets were in Brick Lane, Club Row, and Sclater Street, and Bethnal Green Road, and chiefly for fruit and vegetables. In 1838 a feature of the Monday and Tuesday morning markets was the hiring of children by weavers. (fn. 704) There were c. 100 costermongers in the mid 19th century who lived mostly near the markets and formed the core of its vivid street culture. Sunday markets flourished because Saturday was pay night and any money left over from the public house was spent by women on Sunday dinner. (fn. 705)
The most determined effort to wean Bethnal Green from its Sunday street markets was made by Miss (later Baroness) Angela Burdett-Coutts, who in 1866 obtained an Act (fn. 706) to establish a market next to the new model dwellings in Columbia Square and to make street improvements for access. (fn. 707) She commissioned Henry Ashley Darbishire to design a market on a 2-a. site, with the intention of providing work for builders and visual beauty for the poor, besides sanitary conditions and reasonable rents for sellers of foodstuffs and other articles. (fn. 708) Columbia Market was planned as an open quadrangle bordered by a large assembly hall and blocks of shops surmounted by galleries and residences for City clerks and dealers. (fn. 709) There was provision for 36 shops, with 673 spaces in the galleries and quadrangle for third- and fourth-class dealers. It was built to resemble a cathedral in a high Gothic style of the most expensive materials, teak, granite, and Irish marble, and entered through wrought-iron gates. (fn. 710) It was described on its opening in 1869 as 'greater than les Halles' (fn. 711) and c. 1950 as 'a structure as proud as any Flemish Guildhall of the prosperous Late Middle Ages'. (fn. 712)
Run by a committee more familiar with charities than markets, the project had failed within a year, shunned by the local population which preferred its street stalls and sabotaged by dealers in existing markets. In 1870 it reopened to sell fish brought from East Anglia on the Eastern Counties Railway. The quadrangle was roofed over and 110 stalls were provided rent-free, 20 to wholesalers, the rest to middlemen or retailers. (fn. 713) The baroness made the second of several applications for Acts to improve communications (fn. 714) but the project was again frustrated by commercial greed, when the fishing industry found that its produce would fetch more in Billingsgate. Management of the market was transferred to the City of London in 1871 but there were only 41 market tenants in 1872 and the corporation handed it back in 1874. An arrangement was made with railway companies in 1875 and Columbia Meat Co. was established in 1877 but had failed by 1878 when the market was closed. Reopened in 1884 and in 1891 'more successful than formerly', (fn. 715) it was by 1898 disused except for a small wholesale potato trade and a shop occupied by a cabinet maker. (fn. 716) It was acquired by the L.C.C. in 1915 and after the failure of an attempt by demobilized servicemen to have it reopened in 1919, (fn. 717) it was used as workshops in 1925, (fn. 718) a shelter during the Second World War when it was bombed, (fn. 719) the headquarters of a polytechnic, an L.C.C. nursery school, (fn. 720) and a store. The decision taken in 1958 to replace 'easily the most spectacular piece of design in Bethnal Green' (fn. 721) with council flats has been denounced as 'sterile' (fn. 722) and 'one of the most serious losses of Victorian architecture'. (fn. 723)
The traditional street market flourished throughout the fluctuating fortunes of Columbia Market. There were still 126 hawkers and 23 costermongers living on the Nichol redevelopment site in 1890. (fn. 724) In 1893 there were 83 stalls in Brick Lane south of Bethnal Green Road, of which 33 sold fruit and vegetables, 16 meat and eggs, 12 fish, 7 clothing, and 5 furniture; (fn. 725) there were 131 stalls in Bethnal Green Road, 28 in Hackney Road, and 63 in Green Street, which served the eastern side of the parish. By 1901 there were 206 in Brick Lane, 136 in Bethnal Green Road, 34 in Hackney Road, and 90 in Green Street. (fn. 726) Late 19th-century reminiscences commented on the ubiquitous hawkers and a reliance on prepared food from cook, pie, and coffee shops, as so many women worked and lacked facilities for cooking. Locally grown plants were sold on Sunday mornings in Hart's Lane (Barnet Grove) until rebuilding when the plant and flower market was transferred to Columbia Road, (fn. 727) which by c. 1900 was one of the largest flower markets in London. There was also a Sunday pets' market in Sclater Street. (fn. 728) In spite of attempts in 1888, (fn. 729) 1906, (fn. 730) and 1911 (fn. 731) to suppress the Sunday markets, the costermonger supplanted the weaver as the quintessential figure of Bethnal Green, (fn. 732) and Bethnal Green Road was 'the typical wide East End market street', lined with hawkers' barrows. (fn. 733)
Licences were issued for 1,141 stalls in 1930-1, 127 for the southern part of Brick Lane, 222 for Bethnal Green Road, and 130 for Green Street, and, for the Sunday markets, 439 for the pet and 223 for the flower market. Hackney Road had apparently ceased to house stalls, (fn. 734) the pet market had spread to Hare and Cygnet streets and Club Row, and the flower market to the northern part of Brick Lane and Virginia Road. The Sunday market in Hare Street specialized in wireless and tools. (fn. 735) Little had changed by 1950 (fn. 736) but in 1959 stalls were choking the streets and the council built an open market off Roman Road (Green Street) as part of its Cranbrook scheme. Traders showed the same reluctance to leave the streets as those offered Columbia Market had done. (fn. 737) By 1986 there had been many shop closures but district shopping centres remained in Bethnal Green Road and shopping parades in Columbia Road and Brick Lane. Weekday markets, mostly for food, remained in Brick Lane, Bethnal Green Road, and Roman Road and Sunday markets, mostly not for food, in Columbia Road and between Brick Lane and Sclater and Cheshire streets. (fn. 738) There was alarm in 1994 that higher rents would lead to the closure of the markets.