Author Archives: John Rennie

About John Rennie

Writing about East London history. Sub at Daily Express. Teaching journalism at City University London. One presented a TV show called the Unsellables and the BT Walletwatcher blog. West Ham fan. Native of Basildon

Oral London histories

Kings and Queens, admirals and generals and captains of industry, wars and plagues. As celebrated kids’ author Michael Rosen acknowledges in his introduction to a priceless gem of a book about the East End, history used to be about the … Continue reading

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Made in Bow

It was a London mystery to rival anything solved by Sherlock Holmes. For decades, there had been a growing interest in Bow Pottery, a mark to sit alongside the more famous Wedgewoods and Meissens. But the location of Thomas Frye’s … Continue reading

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London wins Olympics… no not that one

Paris. 6 July 2005, and after a gruelling four-round ballot of the International Olympic Committee, Moscow, New York City and Madrid are eliminated and London wins the final round by a margin of four votes over Paris – the 2012 Olympics are coming to the East End of … Continue reading

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Escaping to the East End… the Great Fire of London 350 years on

As various events roll out in London to mark 350 years since the Great Fire, I’ve dusted off from the vaults a couple of pieces from looking at the background to the blaze, with Plague sweeping London the year … Continue reading

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Roman Road festival 2016

A reminder that, if you’re looking for free things to do to occupy you and the kids this weekend, the Roman Road festival is back. Roman Road Summer Festival is set to return for its third year and will showcase … Continue reading

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Labour and the EU. Before Corbyn there was Peter Shore

As the increasingly acrimonious Labour leadership contest cranks into motion, it might be interesting to have a look back at how Labour was in the early Seventies. In recent decades it’s been an article of faith in British politics that, … Continue reading

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400 years since Shakespeare died… and why he’s an EastEnder

April 23* marks the 400th anniversary of the birth of the English language’s greatest playwright, born the humble son of a glover in Stratford upon Avon. Yet though William Shakespeare was a son of Staffordshire, his apprenticeship as an actor – … Continue reading

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Whitechapel to Sierra Leone

Number 212 Whitechapel High Street is an unremarkable stretch of London street today — though doubtless home to good works as the site of the Methodist Church’s Whitechapel Mission. But two centuries ago, it was one of the linchpins of a … Continue reading

Posted in East End philanthropy, London's immigrant communities, Religion and the East End | Leave a comment

East End of Glasgow to East End of London

Brother Walfrid and the East End/ In 1893, an Irish priest arrived as headmaster at St Anne’s School in Underwood Road, Whitechapel. Over the next decade and a half, he would transform the school, introducing the children to the virtues … Continue reading

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Louis Heren, East Ender, foreign correspondent and veteran executive at the Times of London

The voice is clipped and correct… an old fashioned military voice perhaps, received pronunciation but with a hint of cockney, the ‘through’ becoming ‘frew’, his ‘Ls’ beoming ‘Ws’. Over decades as a foreign correspondent Louis Heren’s rough Shadwell vowels may … Continue reading

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