Take a Butcher’s down the old Frog ‘n’ Toad. See how it’s changed over the past century. Would you Adam ‘n’ Eve it?
Enough of the cockney rhyming slang, tell me about the history…
By the turn of the twentieth century the population of Bethnal Green numbered 130,000; today it has fallen to around 25,000. In his semi-fictional ‘A Child of the Jago’, Arthur Morrison depicts the real-life stench, violence and overcrowding in the Old Nichol rookery during late Victorian times. The Old Nichol was swept away through slum clearance, to be replaced by the world’s first council housing in the shape of Boundary Estate. Road widening, under an 1872 Act of Parliament, meant Bethnal Green Road became a main thoroughfare to the City.
The landscape may have changed, but what about the shops? The 1915 Post office Directory reveals Isambard’s Cycle at 145 Bethnal Green Road was a former purveyor of stewed eels; close neighbours included coffee rooms, a wardrobe dealer, milk can maker, surgeon, and birch broom seller alongside various cabinet makers, plumbers, confectioners, butchers, dentists, corset retailers and army clothiers. Many people needed many shops and coffee houses; the dense population of old Bethnal Green liked to sit and chat over a drink as much as the new.
Between Brick Lane and Shacklewell Street, there’s a well-preserved section of Bethnal Green road shops, set in mid-nineteenth century Italianate terrace. I take a look at what’s there today.
Buy rare vinyl at Flashback Records. Turn your gaze to the exhibitions at artists-run gallery Espacio. Skilled with a needle? Visit the beautiful London Fabric Shop at 141, with its exotic selection of tweeds, cottons, silks and velvets. Owner Ciara Jennings is “excited about the new life being breathed into this stretch of road”.
A Victorian Cockney might not know what to make of all this change. But what’s clear, me old China, is that there’s still fun to be had… with a Score, Pony or Monkey in your pocket.
Espacio Gallery is on 159 Bethnal Green Rd, E2 7DG
This article can be found in the East2 Insider’s Guide to Bethnal Green Magazine 2015. – See more at: http://issuu.com/walkeast/docs/east_2_2015_issuu_2
– By Emma Coleman
On Saturday 22nd August, Tower Hamlets residents are invited to a free family festival of a world of fantasy and fairytale! The ‘Happy Ever After’ family festival will transform Weavers Field Pocket Park with amazing street performances, mystical storytelling, exciting crown-making workshops and badly-behaved goblins, yummy spit-chicken and deliciously inviting banqueting tables.
Unique in its concept, this fairytale fantasy festival was cooked up by a dedicated group of young local people aged 16-25, who, with the help of professional festival producers at Kazzum, wanted to reignite the borough’s tradition of offering fantastic free family festivals. Kazzum, a Tower Hamlets based arts organization, provides opportunities for young people to access creative careers by offering training programs in Event Management and Outdoor Performance. So, for all arts and creative enthusiasts out there, get in touch with Kazzum and go take part!
Kazzum’s team of young festival producers thus humbly invites you all to come and enjoy their ‘Happy Ever After’. And we, at Oxford House, second this motion! What with their fantastic lineup of professional performances, workshops, music and food, we think it’s safe to say that missing this spectacular fairytale event would be a downright shame!
‘Happy Ever After’ Family Festival
Saturday 22nd August 11am – 4pm
Weavers Field, Derbyshire Street Pocket Park, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG
FREE FOR ALL!
– By Khaleda Khatun
To continue looking at the Kray Twins and their relationship to Bethnal Green we start again on Cheshire Street at the Carpenters Arms. This was the last pub that the twins owned and it was where Reggie Kray had a few drinks to settle his nerves before murdering Jack “the hat” in 1966. It was this murder that was the last straw before the Government decided the Krays were gaining too much power and influence in the East-End. A special Scotland Yard Team was assigned to the case and they managed to convict the twins for murder at the Old Bailey in March 1969. Today the Carpenters Arms is a friendly local but heritage of the twins remains as in the pub hangs a painting of the two local boys; Ronnie and Reggie.
After serving over 25 years in Broadmoor Prison Ronnie Kray died of a heart attack on the 17th March 1995. His funeral was held at St Matthews Church in Bethnal Green. Thousands of spectators and mourners lined the streets to pay their respects. 20 years later, the story of the Kray Family and their relationship with Bethnal Green lives on, as some of the Kray family still remain in Bethnal Green to this day.
The Carpenters Arms is on 73 Cheshire Street, E2 6EG
St Matthews Church is on St Matthew’s Row, London E2 6DT
– By Jack Anderson
A few weeks ago, I was in the well-known Pellici’s Café in Bethnal Green during which Nevio (a member of the Pellici family that runs the café) was eager to show me the trailer for the upcoming film Legend. This was because his grade-II listed caff features in the trailer which you can watch via the link below. The film tells the story of the infamous identical twin gangsters; Ronald and Reginald Kray (both played by Tom Hardy) and their exploits which led them to become the most famous organised-crime bosses in the UK. Nevio also informed me that the Krays were genuinely regulars at the café and that they came almost every day.
The Kray Twins have strong links to Bethnal Green and first moved there in 1937 where they were brought up by their mother Violet Lee. During the Second World War the twins evacuated to Suffolk at which time the boys became accomplished at boxing after being trained by their elder brother Charles. Both the twins would later become professional boxers and regularly frequented the Repton Boxing Club on Cheshire Street. The famous Repton Boxing Club has recently been refurbished and is the oldest established boxing club in the UK. In the Club’s history it has produced champions on a national and international level and has an excellent reputation across the world.
Repton Boxing Club is on Cheshire Street, Bethnal Green, E2 6EG
Legend is released on September 11th 2015 in UK Cinemas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOlzq9ciFdo
– By Jack Anderson
Bethnal Green Businesses are set to play a big role in London Beer City Week 2015 which takes place from the 7th-16th of August. This is a week of celebrating the great beer that is available across London while offering opportunities such as food and beer pairing sessions, brewery tours, history walks and home-brewing sessions. Mother Kelly’s Taproom on Paradise Row will be one of the centrepoints of the week and will host the opening and closing parties. Mother Kelly’s is a fitting hub for the occasion as it has one of the best beer selections in London. Every day it has 20 different beers on tap as well as an amazing variety of bottled beers that can be drunk inside or taken away.
Later in the week on Saturday 15th August, Redchurch Brewery will be launching their burgundy-barrel-aged farmhouse saison as well as their new farmhouse ale. There will also be live music and a barbeque available. Redchurch Brewery makes a distinctive range of craft beers as well as limited edition experimental beer in the railway arches of Poyser Street. Their taproom is open every week on Thursday and Friday from 6pm-12.30am and on Saturday from 12pm-12.30am and sometimes on other days of the week for music events.
Lastly as part of the week there will be the 3rd London Craft Beer Festival held at Bethnal Green venue Oval Space between the 13th and the 16th of August. A ticket to the event includes a free beer from every stand (100+ beers in total), access to the various brewing teams, as well as a free souvenir glass.
Mother Kelly’s Taproom is on 251 Paradise Row, Bethnal Green, E2 9LE.
Oval Space is on 29-32 The Oval, London, E2 9DT.
For more information about London Beer City Week go to: http://www.londonbeercity.com/