Category Archives: River Thames

From gas to electricity in the East End of London

Last week we looked at the ‘gas wars’ that intermittently flared across London as Victorian businessmen sought, Klondike-style, to stake their claim in a business that would pay off for generations to come. But even as the gaslights flickered on … Continue reading

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Dash for water in 19th century East End of London

Over the last two weeks we looked at the dash to power the growing East End of the 19th century. But even more than heat and light, the one thing the new homes, factories, warehouses and docks needed was a … Continue reading

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Thomas Neale: the man who invented Shadwell

THOMAS NEALE was very much a man of the late 1600s. A master of a dozen fields, who could move effortlessly between jobs, he was an MP for 30 years, the Master of the Mint, and set up the first … Continue reading

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Charles I’s pirate – John Mucknell

WHEN TODD STEVENS set off for a shallow shore dive off Scilly one winter’s day, he had high hopes. Previous expeditions had yielded gold coins, 17th century guns and an anchor. It was all a legacy of the Scilly Isles … Continue reading

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Execution Dock, Wapping

DURING MOST of London’s history, murderers, thieves and other miscreants received swift justice. An open-topped cart to Tyburn, and a swift drop from the gallows was the judicial response to a bewildering variety of crimes, some of them minor to … Continue reading

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Dock deaths and the Poplar Hospital

THE NAME of the infirmary was tellingly blunt. The ‘Poplar Hospital for Accidents’ suggested that the East End of the 1800s was a dangerous place where bad things happened. And though it would become a refuge for East Enders suffering … Continue reading

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How Cubitt moved the East End to the West End

The Cubitts were the family of master builders who reconstructed much of London in the first half of the 18th century. Eldest brother Thomas built part of Buckingham Palace, large chunks of Belgravia, Bloomsbury and Camden Town. He eventually became … Continue reading

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Isambard Kingdom Brunel

The 200th anniversary of the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel this week (9 April 2006)* marks one of the real pioneers of British industrial design. A multi-skilled engineer who built tunnels, bridges, steamships, railway trains and railway stations. As well … Continue reading

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Brunel and the Great Eastern

Tens of thousands of people flocked to the Isle of Dogs to see the biggest ship in the world being built. She was the pride of Britain until, just before completion in the 1850s things began to go horribly wrong. … Continue reading

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Tower Hill Beach

Tower Hill Beach by John Rennie Summer’s here, and that means East Enders will be preparing for their summer holidays. Ibiza, Florida, the West Indies, there’s no limit to the travel destinations these days, as people take advantage of cheap … Continue reading

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