Author Topic: Territorial Newham  (Read 154 times)

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Offline MickG

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Territorial Newham
« on: 25 October, 2017, 12:41:56 PM »
The name of Newham as a place is something of a broad-brush which tends to hide the many different areas within the borough. Newham is a not particularly large spot on the map of the UK, but it has so many varied areas that are completely different to each other, either now or in the past. If one wanders around say the new shopping complex at Stratford, it would be hard to visualise that not too far away used to be one of the busiest shipping areas in the country. Walk across Wanstead Flats and again it is difficult to visualise the other end of the borough is heavy industry.

I suppose to a degree we are all a bit territorial, knowing those parts of the borough where we lived or worked with perhaps other areas of the borough being completely alien to us if we have never had occasion to visit them. Newham was originally a collection of small and scattered hamlets which grew and merged into each other, but in a way, those hamlets still remain and are quite identifiable. Among the original hamlets are places like West Ham and Plaistow with newer ones like Custom House appearing as Newham grew.

To the individual, even these smaller areas of the borough would have seemed large as children where our home beat tended to be the few streets around where we lived and our horizons gradually expanding as we grew older. In these even smaller areas distinctive communities developed where frequently a common theme ran through the community, be it things like the local church, dock work, railways or perhaps other industrial related work like sugar. Over time communities became displaced through either modern housing development or industrial change but new communities have always emerged to take their place.

I am thinking that this might possibly be a good thread for contributors to share with us their local knowledge of their 'bit' of Newham as opposed to the more grandiose spread of Newham as a whole.


Offline Graham Starling

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Re: Territorial Newham
« Reply #1 on: 25 October, 2017, 01:25:24 PM »
Hello Mick,

That’s a thought provoking topic that you’ve started.

Yes, as you say, the present borough of Newham is made up of many parts all of which have their own individual identity and history.  Without wishing to sound too parochial, I have to say that I cannot relate to most of them as being part of my upbringing.  I can only feel an affinity with the areas of Stratford and West Ham.  I suppose the central vein that runs through my area of interest would start at Plaistow Station and then run through Plaistow Road, Church Street, West Ham Lane up to Stratford and then continue through the Broadway and then High Street up to the sewer bank.

That’s why I was particularly interested in a picture of High Street, Stratford that you recently posted captioned,

‘This group of shops were located on High Street, Stratford between Livingstone Road, (now demolished), immediately to the left of the shops, and The Greenway, (Sewer Bank) which ran parallel to the flank wall of No. 189, Simkins & Son. This is directly opposite the Yardley building. The current site appears to be a derelict container yard.’

Livingstone Road is where my mother was born and raised.

On the other side of the junction with Livingstone Road and on the corner is shown the Two Brewers public house and to the left of that were a few more shops.  To the left of those shops and just out of camera shot is where my maternal grandmother lived after most of Livingstone Road became uninhabitable courtesy of the Luftwaffe.  A little further to the left and even further out of camera shot, at the junction with what was Union Street, was Christ Church which is where my parents were married.  That whole area in High Street between what was the Sewer Bank and Union Street is now just a levelled area of tarmac.

You posted other pictures of buildings that were in High Street, Stratford which are long since disappeared.  High Street, Stratford is where my paternal grandfather had his fruit and veg stall.  Do you remember the stalls that used to be there?  All that history is gone.  All that history that is personal to me is gone.

It is of course irrational to expect that buildings that were part of my upbringing should be preserved forever.  Nevertheless, it still saddens me to think that they have just been erased from the face of the earth and unless one studied say an Alan Godfrey map then no one would ever know that they had ever been there.  Let’s hope that the Newham Local History Archive properly preserves the records of the borough’s past.

It seems to me that as far as employment, population, retails outlets, public houses etc. are concerned then the heyday of High Street/Broadway Stratford and its immediate surroundings was in the inter war years.  After WW2, a steady decline seems to have set in.  I don’t know what your opinions are on this particular subject.

I don’t know how Stratford is faring in the post Olympics era.  I was last there in 2015 when I visited the Newham Local History Archive for some researches.  I accept that the visit was too limited to appreciate any significant changes that may have taken place in that short time.

As always, it’s been great chatting with you.

All the best,

Graham

Offline MickG

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Re: Territorial Newham
« Reply #2 on: 25 October, 2017, 03:33:37 PM »
Graham, Strangely enough I have never lived in Newham but spent the greater part of my working and social life there. I was born in Dulwich Village just after the war and though that sounds a salubrious location now, at that time it was still a case of gas lighting, coal cooking range, outside toilet and tin bath hung on the wall. I moved to East London when I was 5 via Leyton and Walthamstow and started my working career as a telegram boy at Poplar for a year before graduating to the motorbike service at Forest Gate. The area covered was the whole of Newham and well beyond its boundaries. It was a great way of getting to learn the area very well. I then became a member of the West Ham Fire Brigade and was posted to Plaistow Fire Station in Prince regent Lane. Sadly to me my old station has now been replaced by a newer one, but the old station does hold so many memories for me.

Not only did I know the area well geographically when I went to Plaistow, but I soon got to learn a lot of the local communities too. One thing a firefighter has to learn by heart is not only the road layout of his fireground, but topographical knowledge of what it contains too. Considering this is an area along the railway line from Upton Park station to the River Lea and everything south of it to the River Thames, that is quite a large area to gain a lot of intimate knowledge.

As we know, nothing lasts forever and the march of modernity has completely change much of the face of Newham that older people might have known. However it is fair to say that what we consider our knowledge of Newham is still comparatively recent in a historical sense as much of the area prior to about 1850 was still a mixture of market garden farmland and marshes.

It is difficult to forecast how Newham will develop in the future. There are still large areas of terraced housing, most of which was rented at one time but now in private hands. On the theme of nothing lasting forever it does not require a crystal ball to see that the older terraced housing cannot last forever either. Whatever happens, children growing up in whatever the future environment may be will still consider the surrounding streets to their home, their bit of Newham.


Offline MickG

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Re: Territorial Newham
« Reply #3 on: 25 October, 2017, 04:21:45 PM »
Graham, these are another two pictures I have that are supposedly High Street, Stratford. I am however unable to place exactly where they were located but you may have better luck with your local knowledge.

90 Church Street, West Ham



‘225 to 243 High Street, Stratford

« Last Edit: 25 October, 2017, 11:04:17 PM by MickG »

Offline biff

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Re: Territorial Newham
« Reply #4 on: 25 October, 2017, 08:07:59 PM »
As a Forest Gate boy I knew the roads between Green St and West Ham Lane very well even as a lad aged 10 or 11.
We were able to ride our bikes  or walk the streets safely at quite a young age and cars were comparatively rare in
those days. One of our favourite rides was through the back doubles to Bakers Row or Road then over the footbridge
across the railway at Stratford Market, into Abbey Lane then up to Stratford High St and back along the canal bank
over a couple of bridges and along the sewer bank to either PRL or Balaam St then through the back doubles to
Upton Lane. It was probably about an hours steady ride but with time taken to throw stones in the canal, play
Knock Down Ginger put chains back on etc it took us most of a morning. Great Fun

Offline Graham Starling

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Re: Territorial Newham
« Reply #5 on: 25 October, 2017, 08:11:14 PM »
Hello Mick,

The top picture that you posted is not of High Street, Stratford. I have it in my collection as 90 Church Street, West Ham and taken in 1923.  You’ll notice that on the left of the picture the road curves to the right.  That is an extension of Church Street and eventually leads into Plaistow Road.  There’s a three level building on the left hand edge of the picture.  I believe that’s the Telegraph public house.  The part of Church Street that disappears into the bottom right hand corner of the picture leads to All Saints Church, West Ham.

I also have the lower picture in my collection.  It is captioned, ‘225 to 243 High Street at the corner of Union Street showing the Greengate public house and Charles Deason & Sons, timber merchants’.

All the best,

Graham

Offline mogsey

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Re: Territorial Newham
« Reply #6 on: 25 October, 2017, 08:46:12 PM »
Graham, Strangely enough I have never lived in Newham but spent the greater part of my working and social life there. I was born in Dulwich Village just after the war and though that sounds a salubrious location now, at that time it was still a case of gas lighting, coal cooking range, outside toilet and tin bath hung on the wall. I moved to East London when I was 5 via Leyton and Walthamstow and started my working career as a telegram boy at Poplar for a year before graduating to the motorbike service at Forest Gate. The area covered was the whole of Newham and well beyond its boundaries. It was a great way of getting to learn the area very well. I then became a member of the West Ham Fire Brigade and was posted to Plaistow Fire Station in Prince regent Lane. Sadly to me my old station has now been replaced by a newer one, but the old station does hold so many memories for me.

Not only did I know the area well geographically when I went to Plaistow, but I soon got to learn a lot of the local communities too. One thing a firefighter has to learn by heart is not only the road layout of his fireground, but topographical knowledge of what it contains too. Considering this is an area along the railway line from Upton Park station to the River Lea and everything south of it to the River Thames, that is quite a large area to gain a lot of intimate knowledge.

As we know, nothing lasts forever and the march of modernity has completely change much of the face of Newham that older people might have known. However it is fair to say that what we consider our knowledge of Newham is still comparatively recent in a historical sense as much of the area prior to about 1850 was still a mixture of market garden farmland and marshes.

It is difficult to forecast how Newham will develop in the future. There are still large areas of terraced housing, most of which was rented at one time but now in private hands. On the theme of nothing lasting forever it does not require a crystal ball to see that the older terraced housing cannot last forever either. Whatever happens, children growing up in whatever the future environment may be will still consider the surrounding streets to their home, their bit of Newham.


Hi Graham.
I remember the market stalls very well,as a small kid me and the other kids used to pick up speccy apples from the floor,and sometimes the stall holder would take pity and give us a half decent one.I worked in Woolworths in 1956 and from the works canteen looked down on the stalls,it was especially good in winter when the stallholders had the oil lamps on and the smell of hot chestnuts wafted up ,then Christmas! lovely times.My dad used to drink in the Builders Arms.

Offline MickG

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Re: Territorial Newham
« Reply #7 on: 25 October, 2017, 11:06:44 PM »
Graham, Many thanks for the information on the two pictures which I have now correctly captioned. I had my doubts about the location of the first picture due to the curving tram lines but could not work out where it was.