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Madge Darby, Historian of Wapping

July 1, 2012
by the gentle author

“People have always come here, either to convert us or to rip us off.”

No-one knows more about the history of Wapping than Madge Darby, a woman who has made it her life’s imperative to recount the story of her people. And when Madge speaks of Wapping – as she does frequently – she uses the word “us” or she simply says “we.” This is her natural prerogative, because there are records of her family beginning with an Elizabeth Darby, christened there in 1636, while on her mother’s side, her great-great-grandfather, Robert Petley, and his family were turned out of their home at the beginning of in the nineteenth century for the building of St Katherine’s Dock. Thus, the story of the Darbys is the story of the place and it is a narrative with a certain poignancy because, at eighty-five years old, after so many generations, Madge is now the last of the Darbys in Wapping.

Yet Madge is not a sentimentalist and she is very much alive, occupying a central position in the neighbourhood – culturally, as chairman of the History of Wapping Trust and topographically, residing in an old terrace at Wapping Pierhead, cheek by jowl amongst the celebrities and bankers who have come to Wapping in recent years. It was here I visited Madge last week, discovering her in the dining room surrounded by the paperwork from the latest edition of her history of Wapping, “Piety & Piracy.”

“People have always come here, either to convert us or to rip us off,” she declared to me in explanation of the title of her book. And her eyes sparkled with emotion as she waved an estate agent’s circular which revealed that a neighbouring house had just sold for millions, thereby offering evidence of the nature of piracy in contemporary Wapping. Born in 1927 in Old Gravel Lane, five minutes walk from where she lives today, Madge and her family were twice displaced from their home, once for a road widening that never happened and once as part of a slum clearance programme.

“I’m not in favour of the housing policy that has pushed most of the indigenous people out and broken up the community,” she admitted frankly, deeply disappointed that recent generations of her family have been unable to find homes in the neighbourhood. A situation that she ascribes to escalating property prices and a social housing programme which, for decades, made little provision for those without children, forcing them to seek homes elsewhere.

“We were lucky to find this before the prices went up,” she said, casting her eyes around her appealingly dishevelled terrace house that she moved into in 1975 with her brother and mother, both of whom she cared for there until they died. “These houses were built in 1811 for dock staff and when we came there was only one tap. It took us years to save up to get heating installed.” she recalled. As a child, Madge came for piano lessons with a Miss Edith Pack in one of the adjoining buildings, overlooking the entrance to the docks, and was commonly distracted by the ships passing the window. Apart from a brief period of evacuation to Whitchurch, Madge was in London for most of the war, attending Raine’s School which operated in Spital Square before moving up to Dalston where Madge took her school certificates, prior to entering Queen Mary College to study History in 1945. In Madge’s memory, the streets of Wapping always smelled of spices, while in Spitalfields the smell of cabbages from the market prevailed.

Madge explained that her approach to history is based upon the evidence of surviving documentation. “Our dear mother used to say to us,’You’ll have to burn all those old letters in my bureau when I’m gone.'” Madge told me with a twinkle in her eye, “And I always replied, ‘Why? Where are you going dear?'” After her mother’s death, Madge published these letters in five volumes, comprising correspondence and diaries that tell the intertwining histories of her family and Wapping from 1886 until the beginning of our own century. The final volume is Madge’s personal memoir, commencing, “As soon as I became aware of the world around me, I found that I lived in Wapping. Wapping seemed to me a wonderful place and I could never understand how anyone fortunate enough to have been born there could wish to move away.”

We left the house and walked out to take a stroll upon the lawn at the Pierhead, overlooking the Thames, and we sat together overlooking the water in the sunshine. But while I only saw an empty expanse, Madge could remember when the docks were working at capacity and the river was busy with traffic. Madge told me about the previous inhabitants of the Pierhead before the current residents from the world of celebrity chatshows and bankers’ bonuses. Then, searching further in her mind, she spoke with excitement of Captain Bligh and Judge Jefferies in Wapping, both of whom are subjects of her books. “Wapping only became part of London in the seventeenth century,” she informed me with a tinge of regret, “Stowe describes it as one of the suburbs.”

With her thick white hair cropped into nineteen-thirties-style bob and her lively blue eyes, Madge was the picture of animation.“We carry on, we do our best,” she reassured me, speaking both of herself and of Wapping.

Madge Darby

Madge’s house is one room deep, with windows facing onto the road and towards the river.

Madge in the rose garden at Wapping Pierhead outside the former Dockmaster’s House.

The house in Cable St where Madge’s father, Harry Darby, was born.

245 Responses leave one →
  1. July 1, 2012

    How fascinating and what a remarkable woman. I hope Madge doesn’t disapprove but I briefly (early 1980’s),squatted a flat in a brick built block of flats which had been emptied of it’s tenants. I don’t know where they were rehoused or what was been planned for the site. It was right by the river. We used to explore the empty flats which were still carpeted and noted the pride with which people had kept their homes. I recall it as a warm yet ghostly experience and I tried to imagine what it must have been like to grow up and live by the wonderful Thames. By the way, Madge has a splendid dresser and those pieces decorated with birds are magnificent.

  2. Ruth permalink
    July 2, 2012

    I love those Wapping Pierhead houses & have often dreamed of living in one and watching the river go by from my windows! I’m so glad that someone with roots deep in the area lives in at least one of them.

  3. July 5, 2012

    Great piece! I had heard that the term ‘what a whopper’ ( Wapper ) was from the time when pirates where hung to rot on Wapping Pierhead. The corpse would bloat up and people cried “What a whopper”!

  4. December 21, 2012

    i would like to let madge darby know that i remember her mum,brother & herself,i left
    wapping in 1974 went basingstoke ,overspill of londers,my freddie done decorating for
    your mum,and what a lovely lady,very sad to hear you lost your mum&brother,your books
    are full of memories for me.also been reading books by patrick hanshaw about wapping,which
    was very true to life in wapping.i was bred & born in wapping in st george,s in the east hospital
    baptized,confirmed & married in st peters also went to st peters school.
    went to st peters on st peters day this year and walked in the childrens possession,was surprised
    how the children acted after the service,made a remark to the vicar about this,he said the church was a village church not a museum,this has made me very sad ,it was so uncalled for .
    i hope you get this email.yours sincerely emily culley

  5. Phillip Harding permalink
    May 23, 2013

    I have just read the piece by Madge Darby, my Granddad owned The Gun Tavern at 75 Wapping High Street damaged in the war and is now a restaurant. Good luck Madge and keep the world remembering Wapping. Phillip

  6. July 5, 2013

    I was recently re-reading Madge Darby’s book on Captain Bligh and a Google search came up with this article. How good it is to hear of her and see her looking so well.

    It was back in the 1980s that I joined an evening walking/history class that explored this fascinating area of London. Madge Darby was one of the guides along with the very friendly and knowledgeable Ray Newton. How I looked forward to these evening outings and how much I learned!

    Although not born in London I do still remember Wapping Wall before the re-development began and when it was still very much an abandoned and derelict cobbled street. The Dockmaster’s House area where Madge lives has been enormously “improved” since those days, but still has the feel of the old London Dock.

    It is good that Madge and others in the area still keep the old tradition in the public eye. I send them all my very best wishes.

  7. Janet Ware permalink
    September 24, 2013

    I was born in 1945.I also went to St Peters school & church my mother used to clean for Father Fox. We moved to essex about 1952 or 53.Lived in riverside mansions.My father a docker Charles Dobson & my Mother Letitia. Hope you can get back to me.

  8. December 31, 2013

    How nice to read all the comments about Wapping, I was also born in Wapping and went to St.Peters School. I lived in Riverside Mansions and I remember Janet Dobson well.

  9. patrick green permalink
    March 25, 2014

    lovely I was born in wapping in 1945 I had twin terry I lived matlida houses my dad was docker

  10. Sheila Rogers (nee OBrien) permalink
    March 29, 2014

    I have only just read this article on Madge. I also was born in Wapping in 1948 and although I moved out when I married in 1967, my mum and dad lived in Jackman House until 2006 but they often talked of Madge who is well known by all Wapponites. My dad was also a docker as was most of my uncles.

  11. Trish permalink
    July 11, 2014

    I am looking for relatives who live in Wapping from the 1800s their surname were Heather and I believe my great great great grandmother was the post mistress there
    Regards Trish Howard

  12. Angela Ferris - nee WEBB permalink
    August 1, 2014

    I to recall the Darby’s.I was born in Wapping during the early 1950’s mum’s name Bobo Boorman – nee Webb, who lived in Wapping all her life. I went to StPeter’s church and St Peter’s school, with my sister’s June and Margaret. My mum worked in St Peter’S school. Spent many nights over at the Pier Head girls club the very large house which over looks the Thames. Recently took a nostalgic walk around Wapping how it’s changed. Had a lovely meal in the Town of Ramsgate, back in the 1960’s my friend parents ran the pub. Mrs Culley, I remember your daughters Christen and Carole,

  13. August 14, 2014

    As a penniless American college student, I stumbled upon Wapping one Sunday evening in 1985. It was love at first sight. The windows were missing from some of the warehouses along the High Street, and I could still smell the spices. There’s a magic about the place.

  14. Andrew Chapman permalink
    August 18, 2014

    I lived in Raines Mansions from my birth in 1952 until 1971 when we – my parents Ernest and Rose (nee Morris) and my sister Lynne – were moved out to allow demolition of Raines Mansions ( not that there was anything wrong the the flats themselves). I recall many of the names of the people above including Bobo Boorman who my mother knew well.

    I now live in Mile End but have only the fondest memories of growing up in Wapping.

    My email address is and happy to respond to any old Wappingers!


  15. Mrs Kathleen Jackson nee'Budd permalink
    November 7, 2014

    I have found these storys fascinating especially today as I found out by chance that my paternal great Grandmothers ,Grandfather George James Armstrong was born in 1793 in Old Gravel Lane and, baptised 5/5/1793 at St Johns Wapping. His Father George was a waterman His mother was named Mary. George James eventually became a coal merchant living in bridge Street Stepney in 1841 .where my two times Grandfather Martin Armstrong was born, He was married to a French woman Stephanie Charlotte Catherine Lemoine One of their Daughters Cicely Horcholle Armstrong married my Great G.father Henry Samuel Herbert Budd. Cicely was My Dads Grandmother, probably no interest to anyone else but to me very important to know my links to London My Maternal Grandfather was a porter at Billingsgate in the nineteen twenties for his brother Robert Gillards firm based at St Mary at Hill with stalls in the market ,selling his own cured I am very proud of my London Heritage.

  16. Jan permalink
    January 9, 2015

    I am very proud of being born in wapping 1950 , my father mother and their families all lived in wapping, going right back to 1840, as far as I can go sees my g/g/grandfather coming from Ireland and working in the docks as a coal tipper,in wapping. My uncle said they were called irish cockneys, what a lovely view from madge window looking over the river.

  17. john duncombe permalink
    March 2, 2015

    I too was born in Wapping in 1946 and certainly remember Madge and her brother Jeffrey when they lived in, I think, St Gabriel’s in Wapping Lane when we lived in Woodside Mansions.

    Our respective flats were separated by the Goodwins factory, who made canvas sheeting for lorries and tents etc.

    I and others who were in the St peters Scout troop still go back to the Town Of Ramsgate every year, which is right next door to Madges house, for a few beers and more than a few reminiscences. Most years Madge is in there having a quiet half, maybe this year Ill say hello…

  18. Cynthia Allen (nee Owen) permalink
    March 26, 2015

    I have only just found this site and what interesting reading.
    According to the family records I have, my Gt Grandfather Thomas Cousins Owen was born in No 2 Pierhead in 1838 and was baptised on 17th October 1838 in the parish of St Boltolph. His father my Gt Gt Grandfather was also a Thomas and he was shown in the 1841 census as Dockmaster of St Katherines Docks. He died in June 1846 aged 47 and he is buried in Nunhead Cemetary in Linden Grove.
    I came to London last year and went to the Maritime Museum in the hopes of finding out more about my family but sadly drew a blank, but while there I had a lovely wander round took many photos of St Katherines Dock and the Pierhead houses.
    Is there anyone who would have any info on this family I would be delighted to hear from them.
    Cynthia Allen

  19. Jill Lanham permalink
    April 14, 2015

    I was just trying to find out some more info about the Petley family when I came upon this site – very thrilling. Sophia Petley, Robert Petley (1776 – 1845)’s daughter is my great great grandmother. Her daughter Hannah, had my grandma Daisy (who was born in Wapping), and she had my Mum Dorian who is still alive at 92. She says her Mum learnt to walk on Wapping Flats and they all went to St Peter’s church and knew Father Pollock. Mum remembers Harry Darby. So Madge is my 2nd cousin 1 x removed! I am keen to find out more about my Watermen and Lightermen ancestors, the Petleys, the Evans, the Gorbetts etc. Maybe I need to get a copy of Madge’s books? Please get back to me.

  20. Jill Lanham permalink
    April 14, 2015

    I made a mistake above – it should be Wanstead Flats not Wapping Flats – please can you alter it. Thanks Jill

  21. Roy west permalink
    May 31, 2015

    very interesting seeing all the replys about Wapping,I also grew up in Wapping born in Exeter in 1941,we moved in to the dolls house(pearl street buildings) and had lots of good times in Wapping ,I wished I still lived there now and know the pear head as a young lad where we went there to (nitty Norhs),I went to St. Peter’s school also as a kid in Agatha street the infant school then round meeting house ally the secondary school,there I was head boy and won the pollock prize a missal/prayer book which I still have that was in July 1954,first job I had was in the yard of SUNTUGS Alexander’s,then worked in the gun wharf as a tea sampler then joined the PLA transport,Wapping was a wonderful community then full of hard working family’s and good people and marreid a Wapping girl from riverside mansions then Jeannie Barrett,we lived in the dolls house during the war and I can still remember being carried on my dads shoulder running to the shelters.

  22. Janet Ware permalink
    June 13, 2015

    hi Carol O’Reilly
    ,Can you get back to me.What number Riverside Mansions did you live? &care you on F/B.

  23. Gill permalink
    June 16, 2015

    Hi what a delight to come across this site having just found out that my grandfather lived in the but also owned/run his own bakery in wapping street/lane and apparently it is still a bakery. would love to know where I can get the history of the bakery his surname was dolder and he left the shop in the war to take his family to safety – sadly he did not return to the area

    look forward to hearing from you with any info on this or where I can purchase such info.

  24. Roy west permalink
    June 20, 2015

    Gill the bakery that was in Wapping lane 1949 and probably before then was called SHELVEYS, not 100% if that was the spelling but as a kid we used to go in there and ask for stale cakes,and on good Friday remember lining up for the lovely hot cross buns,the shop was opposite watemans (frenches ) the sweet shop.

  25. Gill permalink
    June 27, 2015

    Hi Roy

    thank you for your comments – I so need to come up to wapping – do you remember roughly the number of the shop? whether there could be any photo’s?

  26. Noybo permalink
    June 30, 2015

    The bakers on Wapping Lane is P&J. An ordinary traditional local bakers but the best bread anywhere in London. Here is a picture

  27. Gill permalink
    July 16, 2015

    hi guys

    my auntie seems to think it used to be in gravel lane (renamed since) and that the bakery is not far from a block of flats does this sound right?

    coming up at of July – very excited

  28. Roy west permalink
    August 11, 2015

    It was in gravel lane just past St Peters church on the left and just past the pub that was then called the three Swedish crowns and the block of flats if my memory serves me right was WELSH house and opposite was the estate that included jack an house above the parade of shops.

  29. Edna permalink
    August 15, 2015

    My Mum and Dad had Frenches sweetshop. I remember the west family, my brother Bob was friends with Kenny, he still lives in wapping. He turned 80 this year. I live in Hornchurch. I think Peter West lived there for a while. My grandparents lived in wapping, most people would know my grandmother as Aunt Beat or as the Insoles. I often think of wapping, best place in the world to have grown up.
    Nice to read and recognise some of the names of the wappingites

  30. James King permalink
    August 23, 2015

    I too lived in Wapping in Whitethorne House Prusom Street in the fifties. My Grandad Mat Wilson was the caretaker at Riverside Mansions in the early days. He went on to become caretaker at John Scurr House Ratcliffe. I wonder if any body can remember him.

  31. Maureen West permalink
    August 23, 2015

    Hi Edna,
    Just reading through this site. Nice to know that Bobby is still around. I am married to Kenny and it was us who lived in Elm Park, not Peter. I remember meeting you there one day. I only lived in Wapping when we got married, but it was a lovely, lovely place and as others have said, a nice community, more like a village. We now live in Herne Bay as do a lot of the West brothers. Please give our regards to Bobby.

  32. Roy west permalink
    September 9, 2015

    Hi Edna,are you married to John Howlett?Roy

  33. Jean Partleton permalink
    September 25, 2015

    Hi everyone.

    How lovely to read Madge’s web page and to see all the comments from people, some of who I remember.

    I lived in Wapping until I married in 1975 and then moved to Stepney. Hopefully people will remember me as Jean Mills. I went to St. Peter’s School (s) until the Secondary school closed and then went to Sir John Cass, just on the borders of the City. It was quite a thing in those day to have to travel to school!

    There are a lot of names I remember, Emily Culley (I remember your sisters and nieces and nephers who lived, as I did, in Old Tower Flats, Brewhouse Lane), also Carol Byatt, John Duncombe, Edna French (yes I remember your Dad and Mum’s lovely sweet shop) and a the mention of John Howlett (went to school with him) and Andrew Chapman (we must live quite near as I live quite near to Stepney Green Station). So many memories. If anyone would like to get in touch it would be great.

    Jean Partleton

  34. Roy west permalink
    October 3, 2015

    Hi jean,your dad was the sort of caretaker in old tower buildings,my aunts and uncles also lived there as did my brother and my old nan and granddad the Johnsons,John Howlett I also went to school with him,so I remember mr and Mrs Mills,you may not remember me after a lifetime almost .

  35. October 10, 2015

    My mum Kathleen Allan was born in Wapping in 1937 and her brother Peter was born in 1944. They lived in Jackman House and then moved to Lowder House. My nan was Maggie Allan (nee Duggan) and she owned Raines Cafe with her sister (my great aunt) Eileen. I can’t remember when it closed but I think it was the mid 1980’s. Their main custom was dockers, workers from the wharves and builders. It was a proper working mens’ cafe. Teas, cooked breakfast, sausage sandwiches and no messing about! I think they gave up the lease when Raines Mansions were sold off for Yuppy flats! My great grandmother was Lousise Duggan, married to Tim who lived for a while in Lowder House too. Well, all of my mum’s side of the family are from Wapping and I still have a 95 year old Aunt who still lives in Wapping. My aunty Eileen lives in Poplar. The rest have moved out or are no longer with us. My mum moved to ‘appy ‘ampstead when she married my dad but we went to Wapping every week to see my nan and grandfather Johnny Allan (he was a dock worker and previously drove the brewery horses for Whitbread) and she came to us every Saturday. I remember Weddings and funeral in St Patricks and going on outings with them to Walsingham. Also member Sister Theresa from St Patricks and Mary Morris doing the readings. She read at my nan’s funeral. I remember the swing bridge on Wapping High street opening every so often to let the big ships through to the docks. I guess that has gone now. I now live on the Isle of Lewis and the community here is in some ways quite like that in Wapping. Everyone knows everyone’s business, when someone has died, when someone is in trouble and who puts their washing out on Sunday! And…everyone has a knick-name.

  36. Jean Partleton permalink
    October 13, 2015

    Hi Roy, I’m sorry I can’t put a face to the name but the name is familiar. Yes my Dad was the caretaker for Old and New Tower Flats. Both the buildings are still standing but were not fully occupied a few years ago, still that may have changed now.

  37. Roy west permalink
    October 17, 2015

    Hi Jean,I do remember your mum and dad in old tower buildings,he was caretaker there when the HAMBERGURES lived there and Paul Streuss not sure about both spellings,as I said my old nan and grandad as well as my aunts and uncles lived there also the Johnsons and Toefields,long while ago so do have to struggle to remember all this but they were good times never to be forgotten.

  38. October 21, 2015

    What a surprise! I was pointed in the direction of this website by family members in Doncaster (The Ashurst family) who used to live in Raines Mansions so have been reading the comments with great interest and nostalgia. I am Peter Coxell, my wife is Brenda (nee Wood). We got married in St Peters London Docks 51 years ago and have lived in Somerset for 0ver 40 years now. We both went to St Peters Church and attended the church school. I was a choir boy and server for many years, then went to St Georges church over the bridge where I played the organ at services. I lived in Fenner House and Parry house, Brenda lived in Woodside Mansions right opposite the church until our marriage when we moved to Bishops Stortford. It was great to read your news Jean (nee Mills). If you remember I ran the 24th Stepney St Peters London Docks scout group with your brother, Eddie. We recall some names in this post and one has been mentioned, Paul Struce, with whom I sang in the choir. Obviously, I remember Madge and her brother Jeffrey when they lived in St Gabriels. Other familiar names are the Gillmans, Milligans, Tom Green, Ted & Lilly Hyde, Alf Roffey(sadly now deceased) and Helena Chilton who was a teacher when my mum worked at the infants school. My mum moved to Upper Clapton to be housekeeper to Fr Southgate but she too has sadly passed away. We have been talking now for some time of visiting Wapping to see how things have changed and now my son has a flat in West London which he uses during the week for business purposes, we may well be able to achieve our wish. Anyway, I have gone on long enough even though there are so many memories I could talk about. If you pick this up anyone who knows us please keep the post going as I am sure we would enjoy fond memories of Wapping – Thanks Madge.

  39. Angela WEBb permalink
    October 24, 2015

    Hi Jean Partleton, nee MILLS. Are you the same Jean that would be my old girl guide leader.I remember both your parents living in Old Tower buildings, what wonderful flats they were,. I spent many happy times playing on the bomb ruin by Old Tower building with friends, Culley’s and the Dunn’s and Pat Commons, we all went to the Guides in St.Peters School hall you and Mrs Andrews where the leaders, am I correct, did you also help the St. Peter’s nuns run the coral league. Can you remember passing on your ice skating boots to me Angela, I have two sisters June and Margaret., my mum was known as Bobo, a great aunt and uncle Lil and John Gillman had the shop between the laundry and library.

  40. Angela WEBb permalink
    October 24, 2015

    Peter Coxell, of 20 Parry House well hello,I and my family the Webb’s were your next door neighbours, three girls at 21 Parry House, can recall both you and your mum, can see you now in your alter boy dress, in fact one of my sisters may have a picture of you walking in the St.Peters procession, as did my mum who also worked in St.Peters school. Yes I agree Thanks Madge.

  41. October 25, 2015

    Hi Angela. Just returned from a weekend away with my son in Guildford and picked up your message. Imagine my surprise when I saw 20 Parry House! Yes, I remember your family very well as we lived right opposite of course. How are you all, and are you still living in London? Since this all started Brenda(my wife)and I have been reminiscing and piecing together our thoughts and memories of the names that have been mentioned. I remember John Duncombe as a member of the St.Peters scout group and in fact he lived in the same block as Brenda(Woodside Mansions)and his sister Pauline married my cousin Alan Ward. Over the weekend we have been telling my son about this forum and telling him about all the shops we remembered including French’s, the Post Office, green grocers,etc., and of course all the pubs! As yourself, I remember clearly playing on the bomb sites and often feel proud to tell friends about it down here in Somerset as to what a great community we had in Wapping. These posts have made us even more determined to go back to Wapping and we were only saying today it would be great if we could all meet up for a reunion!! Still waiting to hear back from Jean as I knew her very well from the church and her brother Eddie via the scouts. Anyway, keep in touch.

  42. john waldock permalink
    October 30, 2015


    My family lived in Riverside Mansions…did you know the Ryans?

  43. joanne permalink
    November 29, 2015

    Does anyone recall the Stock family of Wapping – may have lived in Imperial Mansions, or Riverside Mansions in the 1940’s ( when they were not yuppy flats!) My dad was Albert Stock, son of Thomas and Sarah Stock. Big family, Catholic family siblings included Tommy, Pat. Mary. Dad was an alter boy. Am trying to trace lost relatives. Bert. my dad died in 1950 – very young at 27, caught tb in the RAF camp during training… and he worked in the co-op office before he enlisted. Any clues? thanks so much, Joanne Scott (nee Stock)

  44. Mary Fletcher permalink
    December 3, 2015

    Was lawless.born in wrapping in 1950 went to st peters sch.had family living in flats by the school also my granddad sold fruit and veg he lived in Matilda house my aunt Liz green and husband john lived in the flat above.we moved out of jub building’s in 59 headed for dunstable now wirral.lost contact with family when my parents died.found memories of wapping and the market photos off school marches and two cousins in that school Roy .John lawless

  45. John waldock permalink
    December 31, 2015

    Hello all,
    Just thought id add some more to see if it stirred any memories.
    My mum was born a Ryan in Wapping to a large catholic family.
    Her dad was Michael Ryan. The family started off in Tench street just up from the Turks head pub.
    He was in the Wapping Band and a Docker.
    During the war the street was bombed out so the family relocated to Luton. My grandad married my nan Joan from Leytonstone and they lived for a time in River side Mansions. They had 3 children Anthony, Maureen and Sheila. My grandads final residence in wapping was Reardon house.
    There is a bench in the garden of the Turks Head dedicated to my uncle who sadly passed away.
    Wapping is a place he all ways loved to visit and where we have made a point of visiting a few times since.
    If anyone new the Ryan’s I would love to hear from you.
    Happy new year to all,
    John waldock

  46. Jan permalink
    February 3, 2016

    James King , you mentioned white thorn house in the 50s. Sao you remember the Callaghan family , I think number 12 but not sure, they lived right at the end of one of the balcony. In prusom street , they were my grandparents. My nan was nell Callaghan . Any info would be appreciated. I was born in colemans close called honeymoon court 1951 wapping.

  47. Jean Partleton permalink
    February 8, 2016

    Hello everyone, especially to Roy (West), Angela (Webb) and Peter (Coxell). What happy memories reading your comments.

    Hi Roy. Good you remember the Hambergers, the Struss’, Johnson’s and Tofields. I’m still in touch with John Seago, his aunt and uncle lived in Tower Flats, but John is now living south of the River with his wife.

    Hello Angela. Yes, I’m the horrible guider who helped Mrs. Andrews. Can’t remember much about the Coral League but of course remember the Sisters at St. Peters. Good to know you can remember about the ice skating boots – I can’t!! Yes I can still remember your Mum, Bobo and Johnny and Lil Gilman. I believe Paul (their son) still lived in Tower Flats, but that was some time ago.

    Hello Peter. Pleased you have joined the forum but I’m a bit rubbish at looking at it. How is Brenda, I hope she is well. My brother Eddie is well and living in a small village in Oxfordshire. His wife died in 2013 but he has two sons, one who lives with him, so he is looked after and both sons keep an eye on him. I’m still living in London. Just 20 minutes from Wapping in Stepney. It would be lovely if we could have a reunion and so good to see you all again.

  48. Eddie Mills permalink
    February 11, 2016

    Hello, my sister Jean Partleton (Mills) mentioned this site to me and Madge’s book in particular. To all who remember me “Hello” . Very quickly, evacuated to South Wales to my maternal grandmother’s. School was St. Peter’s, then Lewisham Technical, from there a carpentry & joiner apprenticeship near Victoria Park, Mile End. I was introduced to ice skating and specialised in dance. This became a lifelong passion and although not terribly good – this was the beginning of the John Curry & Chris and Jayne era and there was no one in their class. I became a judge in dance and have had many opportunities to travel within the UK and abroad, to judge and spectate. I married and moved to Teddington and our house was opposite the entrance to Bushy Park, walk through the park to Hampton Court. Teddington had a very tiny village church, it would fit inside St. Peter’s twice. I was sacristan there. My elder son Adrian still lives in Sunbury on Thames, and younger son lives in Wantage just a few miles away from me, he has a daughter. When our house became too large and on retirement Joy (my wife) and I decided to move to Stanford – just outside Wantage – and only 14 miles from Oxford. Unfortunately Joy passed away 2 years ago. Stanford has a village community spirit so familiar to Wapping.
    I have always been proud of my earlier life and upbringing in Wales and Wapping, the lush green Rhondda valleys with black faced miners and the desolate bomb sites of London. The churches, St. Peter’s and St. Patrick’s. the scout group and the camps we went to, many are the names that come to mind. Coincident – I was on Christmas Island (in the RAF) in the South Pacific, and talking to the padre one day he was a friend of Fr. Fox. from St. Peter’s, halfway round the world to meet friends.
    Just a final note before you become totally bored, Jean and I have been researching our family tree and before she passed away Joy wrote her life story which has been put as part of her life. I have also been doing like wise. Now of course we say “if only we had talked more” so get out your pens and paper to record your life for your family. My other great interest was photography, and I am gradually going through my negatives and slides and many were taken of scout camps so hopefully will be able to produce prints and send them to people involved.
    To see modern Wapping if you are unable to get there, use google earth to take a trip.
    Many thanks to Madge for the books and encouraging more of us communicate.

  49. james king permalink
    February 12, 2016

    Hi Jan,
    Sorry I don’t recall the Callaghan family in Whitethorn House, I do recall however family Rusgoe, and family Townsend both lived on the first floor.

  50. Jan permalink
    February 19, 2016

    Thanks for the reply James. If I recall my nan died in the early 50s and my grandad moved in with his daughter at riverside mansions.. Do you remember the place colemans close .it was named honeymoon court near the the pub top of prusom street.that was where I was born.

  51. Peter Coxell permalink
    February 26, 2016

    Very busy decorating at present but thought I would have a quick look at the forum. I am thrilled that you have got in touch again Jean, and what a great surprise to hear from Eddie after all these years! It was such a joy to read all your news Eddie but so sorry to hear about Joy, please accept my condolences, late though they may be. I have so much to tell you and share all our reminiscences of Wapping but must get on with the wallpapering so when I am finished, will sign on again and carry on where we left off. Briefly, Jean, my son has now bought himself a flat in Westminster as he works in London a great deal, so once he is settled in we are coming up for a long weekend and will definitely be going back for a look at Wapping as it is now. It would be great if we could meet up so nearer the time I will give you some dates to see if you are free. I know Brenda is very keen to come back and we will have so much to talk about I am sure.

  52. February 28, 2016

    Hi again Jean & Eddie(Ted). Have finished wallpapering so having a well deserved rest. At 74 years of age I really should be calling time at this sort of thing and after 3 falls from ladders Brenda is not too keen on me carrying on. Still, broken ribs heal pretty quite these days! Funny enough Eddie, whilst I was up in the loft before Christmas getting the decorations down I came across hundreds of colour slides going back many years. I got the projector down and we had a family slide show. I had several going back to the old Wapping days and there are some with the scout goup with Fr Foizey and John Seago. Do you remember those leather shorts you wore Eddie? I have the proof on film! I also had some of the advance party (You & Me) on our camp to Sidmouth. We had the job of digging the latrines before the lads arrived – those were the days, eat you heart out Bear Grylls. The nightly raids on the guides camp was a real laugh but I don’t suppose Jean would approve! Building zip wires at Midhurst was really fun but I bet Health & Safety would have a fit now. After our wedding Brenda & I moved to Bishops Stortford in Herts. and I joined the Westminster Bank in the City. After a short spell(about 7 years) I joined the Hertfordshire Police and did spells in uniform, CID and then started up the Fraud Squad. We decided to up sticks and move to Somerset & I got a position in the Somerset& Bath Police, working up again to the Fraud Squad in Bristol. This took me all over the country and even abroad so it was an very exciting time. I left the Avon & Somerset force as a Sergeant in Yeovil and joined a National retail company as a manager, working up to Regional Manager until the company was taken over (now Iceland). When I transferred to Somerset I joined the local Air Cadet Squadron as a civilian instructor, working my way up to Flight Lt. in charge. Much like going back to the Scouts I suppose but with plenty of activities and best of all, flying on all sorts of aircraft, including helicopters.My son, Graham, went to Cranwell mainly to fly but he did not make the grade as a pilot so eventually left to start of his own businesses. He has done extremely well owning several companies, including a stockbrokers, with an 82 foot yacht based in the Med and a big estate in Surrey. My daughter, Susan, lives locally, but does not enjoy good health and between the two we have 5 grandchildren. We celebrated our Golden Wedding 2 years ago and were going to have our wedding blessed at St Peters but never got the opportunity to get there. I see that you were in the RAF then – how long did you serve? Brenda & I keep very busy in retirement. Brenda goes to WI & MU and is very active at our local church. I an the coordinator for a surgery based charity who recruit volunteers to visit the elderly, lonely and vulnerable people at home, for a chat over a cup of tea,get shopping,take them out to community based activities,etc., I have a team of 14 lovely volunteers which keeps me busy when I am not playing bowls. My mum moved down to Weston Super Mare many years ago but unfortunately passed away 11 years ago now. Brendas mum lived with us here for 20 years but again, she passed away 5 years ago aged 91. We toured in a caravan for about 40 years but last year we gave up touring both abroad and in the UK and now have a static caravan on the edge of Dartmoor which we will be using on a regular basis in the Summer. Anyway, I have gone on for long enough so do keep in touch and let me know how you are and send any memorable thoughts of Wapping. Best Wishes, Peter.

  53. Janet Ware permalink
    March 13, 2016

    Hi Roy, I remember Jeannie Barratt.Her sis Rita my best friend.Who now lives in Canada.No internet apparently.She lost Husband Bobby sad to say.I am in touch with her Granddaughter Jemma also in Canada.but never really says much to me.

  54. Janet Ware permalink
    March 20, 2016

    No sorry never new the Ryan’s.x

  55. Roy west permalink
    April 9, 2016

    He Janet, I am in touch with Rita a couple of times a month, where did you live in wapping ?i lived in Penang house then when Jean and I got married in 1963 we moved into gravel street ( honeymoon cottages),good to see so many old wappingites remembering how good a place in wapping to be brought up,and sad to see how we all moved in different areas still all getting old now but still good to look back at better times.

  56. Jan permalink
    April 16, 2016

    Janet do you remember my nan Hannah Hurley she lived in Penang house her surname was Allen and she also lived in Malay house , I remember visiting her in the 60s honeymoon cottages were they at colemans close, if so I was born there 1951.

  57. Terry Patrick permalink
    April 21, 2016

    Just discovered this site! I was born at 10 Riversde Mansons in 1946, and lived in Jackman House untill we moved to Roehampton 1957. Went to St Patricks infant and then St Patricks boys school. What an incredable place to grow up! We were never safer then in Wapping. Does anyone know the name of the pup that was on the corner of Prusom and Garnet Streets?

  58. lisa jane murphy permalink
    April 21, 2016

    I recently embarked on a family search, and was smiling from ear to ear when I was to realise all my fathers side came from wapping, Shadwell and Stepney.. my great grand parent came out of n03 raine street. my grandfather was a stevedore.he worked in red lion street. the name of my granparents were taplin and my great nans maiden name was bond. my nan whos name was Elizabeth was their daughter. Elizabeth married an henry murphy who was my grand father. I have only just discovered all this as I was a 60s love child..

  59. Kathy permalink
    May 4, 2016

    I left Wapping when I was eight years old But I have many memories of growing up there
    We lived in Wainwright House. Our bedroom window looked out to The Jolly Sailor pub. My auntie lived in Garnet Street in a flat that looked at first appearance to be a terraced house with two front doors but was, in fact, an upstairs and downstairs flat They are no longer there.

    I can recall my Mum mentioning many of the surnames that I have seen on this site namely Duggan Hurley and Ryan. Mum lived in Riverside Mansions before she married. My paternal grandmother lived in Lowder house Both of my Grandmothers were of Irish descent
    (Murphy and Doyle were their maiden names) .

    I went to St Patricks and I too remember going to Walsingingham I also recall the nuns with their big skirts and canes !

  60. Jean Partleton permalink
    May 15, 2016

    Hi everyone

    Peter, glad to know the decorating is now finished. If you and Brenda are planning a visit to Wapping, let me know as it would be good to meet up again.

  61. May 17, 2016

    As someone who has just moved into Wapping (2016), these comments are so exciting to see! Lots of history and many fond memories from everyone.

    The bakery is P&J on Wapping Lane, I live in the block of flats next door, Welsh House.

  62. Janet Ware permalink
    May 20, 2016

    Hi Roy give Rita my love.Would love to be in contact with her.xx

  63. Janet Ware permalink
    May 20, 2016

    Roy I lived in Wapping riverside mansions from 1945 when I was born until 1952.At number 32.lived in Hsrold hill essex.Then married & Moved to Hornchurch.X

  64. Roy west permalink
    May 23, 2016

    Hi Janet, I will mention you to Rita I was recently talking to Rita on Skype in Canada,it is great to read comments from all the people who remember the good times in Wapping,plenty of good people and memories of some of them from all the past years spent in Wapping,Riverside always holds a special memory because my lovely wife Jean lived there but sadly passed away last year a good old Wapping girl through and through.

  65. Melanie permalink
    May 26, 2016

    Hi Joanne, only just found this site, Sarah Stock was my great grandmother. I lived in Whitethorn House until 1971.

  66. Amjad permalink
    June 1, 2016

    Hi. It’s a shame that you all left wapping it’s such a amazing place to be, and being raised here I feel proud, the community here is amazing we all look out for one another and we stick together and work well together. Love the area and the people been here since 1986. Amjad

  67. Jo Woodvine (nee O'Brien) permalink
    June 20, 2016

    Both my parents were born and bred in Wapping and I have many happy memories of visiting my nan – who lived in Watts Street Buildings.
    I have a wonderful poem written by George Ransome “The Bard of Wapping” that I would like to reproduce as it completely describes the old Wapping Processions and days gone by.

    I walked in Wapping Procession myself as my grandfather was “Old Tim O’Brien” the Band Leader. I hope you will love this poem as I do:

    “Now if you were born in Stepney in the East End long ago
    If you lived in Wapping or Watney Street or worked in Butchers Row
    It’s ten to one you had relations that were living in Stepney Green
    And four of the finest parish bands the End End’s ever seen.

    How I wish the old processions would take place here once again
    To see St Patrick’s band from Wapping marching down Old Gravel Lane
    To hear St Mary’s and St Michael’s playing along Commercial Road
    And Our Lady’s Band from Limehouse forming up in Island Row.

    How we loved the Pipers in their kilts that came from Tower Hill
    Those processions we had in Stepney – how I wish we had them still.
    The drums and fifes and the sound of the pipes was the music we loved to hear
    As we chatted to our neighbours who we hadn’t seen for a year.

    They whitewashed the kerbs the night before on the route the procession went
    And to dress their children at their best – poor people spent their rent.
    For these were special occasions and nothing was too dear
    It was the Big Day for each parish and it came just once a year.

    You met Auntie Kate and cousin Ted and shook hands with your Uncle Mike
    All the relations got together for a Knees Up on the night.
    It was always the happiest day of the year for dear old Mum and Dad
    So proud of their sons and daughters and the Band that the parish had.

    The Tower Hill Pipers marched along to The Wearing of the Green
    And then came the Band from Wapping playing Down by the Old Mill stream.
    With Limehouse following close behind playing Jigs and Reels
    Commercial Road were striking up with a tune close behind on their heels.

    At night they blessed the Altars with the local parish priests
    With flags and bunting flying from windows and all along the streets.
    All the local pubs were crowded out and everyone would sing
    In the days of Father Higley, Canon Reardon and Canon Ring.

    And Tim O’Brien – he trained the sons of the men who went to war
    To play The Wearing of the Green and The Hat Me Father Wore.
    With statues of Our Lady and Our Lord held shoulder high
    The East End pavements were lined with crowds who watched them walking by.

    School children holding banners with the Infants holding the strings
    And when the Bands began to play – the parishioners sang the hymns.
    Sweet little girls dressed in silk with flowers in their hair
    Little angels walking with their hands joined up to God in silent prayer.

    The boys all wore grey flannels and their shirts and shoes were white
    And the Guards and Maids of Honour always were a lovely sight.
    Pipe Bands marched here from The Borough and from dear old Canning Town
    With the Drums and Fifes from Custom House – they never let us down.

    St Joseph’s came from Rotherhithe and the Band came from Dockhead
    And whenever a Band stopped playing, then another played instead.
    The last procession of them all each year took place at Saffron Hill
    And coming home – all the Bands massed up – I can remember still.

    Wapping, Limehouse and Commercial Road together with three Drum and Fifes
    And the drums carried on when the flutes stopped playing with a five pace roll for the Fifes.
    As they marched back home from Clerkenwell – the music sweet and loud
    Those good old bands from Stepney – they always did us proud.

    They marched together to Aldgate East then went their different ways
    How we miss those old processions now way back in the Good Old Days.
    If I had my life to live over I would love those days again
    Without those old processions now the East End’s not the same.

    It always brings back memories when those Church Bells start to ring
    Of those days of Father Higley, Canon Reardon and Canon Ring
    With plumes of Ostrich feathers on the cap of the Band Leader’s head
    With the Mace in his hand, he led the Band – and now enough has been said

    To remind the East End people living in Stepney years ago
    That they were some of the finest days that we will ever know.”

  68. Jan permalink
    June 24, 2016

    Joanne. Do you remember the Callaghan family who lived in white thorn house

  69. Peter Coxell permalink
    June 28, 2016

    Hi again Jean. Been so busy visiting Devon over the past month or so and have only just picked up your last post. Brenda & I have penciled in October as a good time to come down to Wapping. We will be staying in our son’s flat for a few days, probably with two of our grandchildren who are very keen to see London and in particular Wapping where “Nan & Grandad” grew up. We have not worked out the exact dates at present but will probably be half term week (last week in October down here in Somerset. As you say, it would be great to meet up and if anyone else can make it also what a reunion that would be! (take note Angela!!!). I will let you know the dates and see if we can arrange something.
    By the way Jo, enjoyed reading your piece – great stuff!

  70. July 10, 2016

    Hi again Jean/Angela and anyone who remembers me & Brenda(nee Wood). We have just arranged to come down to London on 26th October for 3/4 days so if anyone can make it can we meet up in Wapping sometime convenient? I suggest meeting outside St Peters as that is where I think most people will know. Anyway, if you pick this up and can make it look forward to seeing you then.

  71. September 23, 2016

    My family were the Gillmans. Great Great Grandfather was St. Leger Joseph Gillman. Would love to hear from anyone who knew this family. Also the Gabbedey family.

  72. Greta Kelly permalink
    October 11, 2016

    Enjoying reading about all the people who live/lived in Wapping. I am what we call in Ireland a Blow In, a newcomer. I would love to join a local history group. Can’t seem to find one??? My husband’s company, an Irish company have an office here in the city. We love Wapping, the corner coffee shop on Cinnemon Street. The bakery. Breakfast at the Turkshead. I wonder what those small metal doors on the wall at the back of the bakery are/were for. I have come across two cannons used as bollards. I would love to know more about the street names. It makes me sad to see the lifebuoys thrown into Shadwell basin. It would be poetic justice, if those who threw them in were ever in need of rescuing.
    Greta Kelly (Clonakilty, Co Cork)

  73. Christine Ashby /Colley permalink
    October 12, 2016

    I lived at 10 Wapping Pierhead from 1963 to 1968, next door to Eddie Duggan and his wife, two doors up fromThe Town Of Ramsgate. They were police houses and Dad was in the PLA. Wonderful days. I think Helen Mirren lives there now. Anyone else live on The Pierhead at that time?

  74. Ann Parkyn(formerly Insole) permalink
    October 29, 2016

    Hello All,

    Just found this site and memories flood back. Born in 1944 (Mum evacuated to Herts because of the war) lived in Wapping from birth until age 5 and then moved to The Highway. Went to St. Patrick’s school until age 11. My Great Uncle Jack Insole ran the fruit and veg shop in Wapping for years, until it was taken over by my Aunt Liz and Uncle Sid. My Dad and eldest brother (both called Jim Insole) were dockers. Such happy memories of those years and the outdoor processions in May. Tommy Leek (I think) on the big drum in Wapping’s band. When I moved to the Highway still went to school in Wapping and had to pass over the bridge morning and evening, sometimes it was closed to let ships by. Playing in Wapping Park after school. Anyone remember my family. I remember when Father Reardon died and the children were filed by his body at St Patrick’s Church. Also remember Miss Hanley and Mrs Whitcombe teachers at the primary school. Happy days.

  75. Jan permalink
    October 29, 2016

    Hi Ann I have left quite a few messages on here , don’t get a answere, so I don’t know if they are being printed anyway, my father Tim Callaghan was a lighter man,all the callaghans were working in the docks . I was born at colemans close 1951, which they called honeymoon court. I remember my father mentioning mr ridge, and my mother mentioned canon rear don. I remember the processions they were lovely. Any info would be appreciated.

  76. Ann Parkyn permalink
    November 1, 2016

    Hi Jan,

    The name Callaghan rings a bell. The whole of my paternal family lived in and around Wapping. Fruit and veg shop was run by my family for many years. I think Insole was a well known family. My Gran lived in flats opposite a pub called The Cuckoo I think. I have been back to Wappjng in recent years and found it sad to see the old communities gone, but I suppose we have to accept progress. I am going to visit my oldest brother Jim tomorrow. He spent all his childhood up to about age 21 in Wapping working in the docks. I will talk to him and see if he remembers Tim, your Dad.

  77. Jan permalink
    November 3, 2016

    Thanks Ann for replying, yes the cuckoo was always being mentioned when I spoke to my mum. Kit Callaghan formerly Hurley .yes I am sure Jim your brother will remember the callaghans loads of them all worked in the docks both nans lived in prusom street. I think Malay house and white thorn house. Any info will be appreciated. They also went to a pub called Stewart’s.

  78. Terry Hennessey permalink
    November 12, 2016

    My mum Kathleen Hennessey born Ryan 13 February 1913 father Edward Timothy Hennessey born 4 November 1913. Both lived in Tench Street dad’s mother died when he was young had brother Bill sister Kellie. Not known much about Hennessey side of family as dad joined Royal Navy in the 1930s Bill joined army Military Police. Kellie married moving to Windsor. After war lived in Limehouse. Would be nice to know if Hennessey family history.

  79. Peter Coxell permalink
    November 20, 2016

    Hi Ann Parkyn (Nee Insole). As I have posted on here previously we did go back to Wapping 4 weeks ago and took my son and two grand daughters along to show them where we were brought up. Yes, Wapping has really changed but I do remember “Insoles” as we used to call it! My son took a photograph of myself & Brenda on the steps of St Peters Church where we were married 52 years ago. It was very emotional walking round the church which has hardly changed inside and a long tour round the area most certainly brought back memories. We were disappointed at the parade of shops which had obviously changed and we thought not for the better but there again, I suppose that would be expected when we had such fond memories of the place. Anyway, lovely to see your post and I hope we can all keep it going as we have every intention not to leave it so long next time. We now live in the West Country (Somerset) which is a lot different from our childhood in Wapping but the happy memories linger on

  80. Cynthia permalink
    November 25, 2016

    Currently conducting family history research on Brookes, Albert Edward Henry and Shields, Joseph William who resided at 5, 11 Raines Mansions, Old Gravel Lane around 1928-1932. I wonder if these names ring a bell or at least the surnames? Albert born abt. 1877, Bethnal Green and Joseph Shields born abt. 1907. Albert married Florence (Flora) Ann Rattenbury born abt. 1876, Bethnal Green. I was fascinated by Madge’s story and the letters/emails that poured in after the article was written. Marvelous to read about this neighbourhood. Sad to see neighbourhoods disappear in this manner — thank goodness for memories, photographs and thoughtful citizens who find a way to keep in touch.

    Ontario, Canada

  81. Jean Partleton permalink
    January 11, 2017

    Hi Peter (Coxell)

    Just been catching up on the e-mails on this site. So sorry I didn’t make it on the 26th October but even if I had seen you e-mail, I couldn’t have made it as I had to have some day surgery at the Royal London. Anyway if you are coming up to London again in 2017 I would really love to meet up and see you and Brenda again.

    Best wishes.

    Jean (Partleton nee Mills)

  82. Jean Partleton permalink
    January 11, 2017

    Hi Ann (Parkyn)

    I remember your Great Uncle Jack (Insole). My mum always bought her fruit and veg from his shop and I remember your Uncle Sid and Aunt Lizzie (lived in Old Tower Flats) where my Dad was caretaker. I remember they had a daughter (can’t remember her name) and a son (Martin). I hope I’m right here, if not it’s the memory playing tricks. Would be great to hear from you.

    Jean Partleton (nee Mills)

  83. Jean Partleton permalink
    January 11, 2017

    Hi Eleanor (Roberts)

    You mention that your family were the Gillmans. Is this the same family of Gillmans that had the grocery shop on Wapping Lane, along by the Library? Owners that I remember were John and Lil (sons Paul and Michael)?

    Would be good to hear from you.

    Jean Partleton (nee Mills)

  84. Peter Coxell permalink
    January 15, 2017

    Hi again Jean(Partleton). Happy New Year to you and yours. I thought after the Christmas and new year rush I would catch up with the forum and there you were just four days ago. Yes, we had a very emotional return to Wapping with my son and two grand daughters. They have had a very privileged upbringing and were visibly surprised at the area we were brought up in and were interested in the stories we had to tell. My son actually wrote to us saying that it was the highlight of his year having gone to Wapping with us which was nice. I think they were all very impressed with the community spirit that existed in Wapping which is sadly missing these days. We walked a lot round the area but intend to return again very soon to see places that we did not have time to visit. We actually stayed at my sons flat in Westminster which was very handy for the Westminster Pier ferry service to the Tower of London. We then retraced our route from there to Wapping just as we did when Brenda & I worked in the City. What a change! Warehouses converted into luxury flats at extortionate prices, Parks where the bombsites used to be and Wapping station completely new with trains going to many more destinations. Anyway, I will let you know when we are coming up again and maybe we could meet up. Hope the surgery went ok.

    Peter Coxell

  85. Jean Partleton permalink
    January 31, 2017

    Hi Peter

    Lovely to hear your visit went well and hoped you and Brenda weren’t too shocked at the changes.

    It would be great to catch up with both of you, so I look forward to knowing when your next visit to London will be.

    My surgery went well and there were no complications, still get the odd twinge but that’s to be expected.

    Keep well and warm.

    Best wishes


  86. Peter Coxell permalink
    February 1, 2017

    Hi Jean

    thanks for your reply. We had a very memorable visit to Wapping but did not visit all the places we wanted to so we are coming up again on Thursday 16th February. Our train gets into Paddington around 12.45pm and our plan is to drop our luggage at our sons flat in Westminster and travel either by train or ferry to Wapping/Tower pier and get to Wapping hopefully by 2.30/3.00pm. If you are free that day it would be nice to meet up and suggest we exchange mobile numbers or agree on a time/location to meet up. St Peters church is probably the most central and familiar place. Anyway, I will wait to hear from you again to see what you think.

    Best wishes, Peter & Brenda.

  87. Jean Partleton permalink
    February 24, 2017

    Hi Peter and Brenda

    So sorry to have missed your e-mail again. I hope your visit went well. If you are coming up to London again I will definitely try and meet up with you both – third time lucky. It is my fault, I hadn’t looked at the messages until today – sorry.

    Best wishes.


  88. Peter Coxell permalink
    February 25, 2017

    Hi Jean,

    yes we had a lovely time thanks. On this visit we were on our own so we were able to see a lot more of Wapping than before. On our walk down Wapping Lane we called into the Town of Ramsgate for a drink and asked the young lady behind the bar if she knew Madge Darby. She told us she did indeed know her and she sometimes went into the pub with friends. We were astounded when she told us Madge lived next door! As we were so close, we knocked on her door and to cut a long story short, spent half an hour or so with her talking about the “good old days” and Wapping people we knew. She cannot get to St Peters any more but has her communion at home from the retired Bishop who helps out at St Peters on occasions. We were in London for 5 days and walked for miles around the West End and the usual City haunts where we used to work. Could not believe the changes that have taken place, so much building, traffic, and people! Quite honestly Jean, we love our visits up there but are pleased to get home to the clean air of Somerset and our beloved Dartmoor where we have our holiday home. As our son bought me a birthday present to a London show we will definitely be coming back in the not too distant future, date to be arranged, so will get in touch again nearer the day.

    Best wishes

    Peter & Brenda

  89. Carol Culley permalink
    February 25, 2017

    Hi Angela, I’m Carol Culley responding to your comments which I have just viewed. Please let me know if you receive this email so that we can then correspond.
    Best regards
    Carol (with sister Christine)

  90. Peter Coxell permalink
    February 26, 2017

    Hi Angela Webb.

    I don’t know if you are keeping up with this forum and if so you will see that my wife and I have been down to Wapping twice recently to have a look round and recall what we consider to be “the best days of our life with fond memories. Last week we spent quite a time walking round and even managed to fit a pint in at The Town of Ramsgate! What I wanted to tell you was that we had a close look at Parry House where we lived opposite you. We were astounded to see that quite a few of the flats had iron bars up at the windows and where we used to be at the end of the landing there was a locked cast iron gate. Do you know if there is a lot of crime in Wapping now which is a far cry from when we lived there when you could leave your door unlocked just in case the neighbour wanted to borrow a cup of sugar, whatever? If so, it is a shame that the old community spirit has gone but I suppose that is a sign of the times. Anyway, hope all is well with you and yours. Best wishes, Peter

  91. Angela Webb permalink
    February 28, 2017

    Hi Carol and Christine, firstly what a surprise when I came across this web site by chance,then spotted comments from Emily Culley. Kept hoping either you or Christine would read my comments, been checking since 2014, then yesterday my sister Margaret called to inform me that you had left a message. Thank you.
    We all left Wapping when we married, but we have on occasion made a nostalgic visits. Old Tower buildings the bomb site next to where you lived, where we all played during the school holidays, which is now a gated property, very posh.
    We have old photo’s of us all attending St Peter’s procession with the enormous blue bows worn in our hair.Also visited St Peters church,how different that is. Can understand your mum comments.
    Wapping is now a completely changed community. Can you recall Pat Commons, who lived in Old Tower, Pat still lives in Wapping. Carol I expect June will correspond soon. Regards Angela.

  92. Angela Webb permalink
    March 2, 2017

    Hi Peter. I read that you would be visiting Wapping during October last year,unfortunately I went down on the Tuesday, a colleague was interested in me showing him around Wapping it was a shame I missed you by just one day. Yes it is quite a sort after place to live, I think the gate thing is more of a fashion rather than keeping the undesirables out, I have not seen any up at windows though, perhaps when I have visited not noticed them. Glad you enjoyed a pint in the Town of Ramsgate, did you have a look around at Pier Head, an Irish chat show host lives in one of these house,which during my childhood where owned by the PLA police,and the house that was the local clinic back in the 50’s and 60’s is owned by a Gent who started off as an East Ham car sales man, he now does a lot for charity.
    If you are planning another visit let me know. I often look at the site for any up dates. Best wishes till next time, Angela.

  93. Jonathan Webster permalink
    March 30, 2017

    I am delighted to have stumbled upon this website which has evoked so many memories of my childhood. As I read through names; people I remember, it takes me back to the 1940’s and 1950’s when I lived in Wapping. I was born in 1941 and left in 1958.

    I am John Webster although I have been known as ‘Jonathan’ for over 40 years – a pet name which caught on that very few, if any, now call me John.

    My mother and I lived in Monza Street in one of the small terraced houses facing Riverside Mansions. Those houses were demolished years ago and were replaced by a large car park and luxury flats.

    Peter (Coxell) – you have written so many interesting facts and memories – a delight to read – we were in the same class at St Peter’s School and in the scouts and I remember Brenda too.

    Jean Partleton (Mills) – of course I remember you well and your family. Your mother always catered for the scouts and cubs in the Wainwright Hall. I am sure there are others here who I will discover were known to me.

    Aileen and I lived in Sunbury on Thames until 2009 and now our home is in Teignmouth, South Devon, on the cliff top with our nearest neighbours to the south being in France! That is where our daughter, Margaret, son in law and three grandchildren live near to Cognac.

    I am enjoying your memories and recollections – Thank you.

  94. Peter Coxell permalink
    March 31, 2017

    Good Lord John, your ears must have been burning! When Brenda and I went to Wapping recently we widened our search which took in Riverside Mansions and the street where you and mum lived. I actually mentioned to Brenda that I remembered you living there and how we went to school together, serving at the altar at St.Peters and being in the same scout troop,etc., I was searching through some drawers recently and found several photos of you and I at school and processing the streets on St Peters Day. What fond memories, and I really treasure the upbringing we had at St. Peters church and school, and not least the community spirit that existed in Wapping which is sadly lacking in most places these days. I was interested to read that you are now living in Teignmouth. We have a holiday home on the edge of Dartmoor, just 4 miles from Tavistock, a town which we have taken to our hearts where we have made many friends. In fact we returned home yesterday after 2 weeks staying there and experienced all four seasons, rain, sun, gales and even snow on the moor itself! We know Teignmouth very well and have visited several times. Co-incidentally, when we had our touring caravan we toured the continent right down to Lake Garda in Italy, but most of our time was spent visiting most of France which we really love, including Cognac where your daughter lives.
    Anyway, having been back to Wapping twice recently we are keen to go back again and relive the memories again. It is particularly emotional to go into St Peters where we were married 53 years ago. We now have 2 children and 5 grandchildren. Our son actually has a flat just yards from Lambeth Bridge which is a very convenient place to stay when we go up to London. Nice to hear from you on this forum John, glad you found it. Kind regards Peter.

  95. April 5, 2017

    To Melanie:
    just checked this site … am now living in Penzance, Cornwall. I am in the phone book.
    Could you pls email me?
    I would love to find out more about my “lost ” family.
    So pleased that a relative of Sarah Stock has responded, and sorry for the delay.
    My email add:
    I will keep my fingers crossed that you read this! x

  96. April 5, 2017

    Melanie : this is Joanne (Scott)
    my address is now 8 Alma Terrace, Penzance, Cornwall TR18 2BY.
    Would be so good to be in touch. Jo xx

  97. Nick Hyde permalink
    April 8, 2017

    Hello all, I was born in Woodside mansions in 1959 and recognise a few names on this site so some may remember our family. Ted and Lily Hyde (Dad and Mum) moved to Essex in 1965 with myself and my elder brother Steve. Sadly Dad passed away in 2014 and Mum this February but myself and Steve have many happy memories of Wapping and St Peters Church and School around which our early lives were centred. St Peters day processions and the St Peters Christmas Bazaar where Dad ran “The wheel” on stage are particularly vivid in our memories.

  98. Peter Coxell permalink
    April 22, 2017

    Hi Nicholas(Nick). Fantastic hearing from you, welcome to the forum. I remember you and your brother Stephen very well. I was sorry to hear that your parents had passed away as I knew them so well. You may remember that my mum, Alf Roffey and I used to come up to your flat in Woodside after church every Sunday to have a cup of tea. Your dad “Ted” used to be a bank employee if I remember rightly and he used to bring home American magazines which had fantastic pictures of Chevrolets, Cadillacs, etc., I recall Woodside Mansions very well for another reason of course as I married Brenda Wood who lived in the flat below yours some 53 years ago. She still reminds me after all these years that she did not have a wedding car as all she had to do was walk across the road to St Peters from the flat! How is your brother Steve anyway and where do you both live now? As you may have read here we have been back to Wapping twice recently and it has certainly changed but St Peters is very much unchanged. Have you been back at all? We loved our time in Wapping but to be honest we would not want to move back to London. Somerset is busy enough for us and we love our holiday home near Dartmoor which we visit on a frequent basis. Now our son has a flat in Westminster it is very convenient to stay there when we do go up and it is great visiting all the sights once more. Anyway, lovely to hear from you, let us know what you have been doing all these years, family,etc., and best wishes from Brenda & me.

  99. April 23, 2017

    Hello, can anyone else with links to Wapping help? My dad was a Wapping boy, Albert Stock. An altar boy, he worked for the Co-op in their Leman Street office, where he met my mum, Joan.
    Bert’s parents were Sarah and Thomas Stock. He had brothers and sisters: Tommy, Pat, Mary are the names I know. They lived in ?? Mansions in Wapping …. during and after the war. Bert died in 1950, at only 27 years old – from tb contracted during airforce training. Anyone remember the Stock family? would love to reclaim some of my “lost” relatives. Thanks so much. Am now Joanne Scott, live in 8 Alma Terrace, Penzance, Cornwall. will find me.

  100. Gill permalink
    April 26, 2017

    Hi Everyone

    Well finally been to Wapping (gravel lane) and visited the bakery where it all started for my granddad sometime in the 30s. I now understand that he rented two more shops the between here and bigland street. would anyone have any memories of the bakers in bigland street in particular (as I am not sure exactly where the other was [although I believe it may have been in watney street] apparently my granddad and family were there until the air raids in 40-42 and then he moved the family out). I also need help with finding out information about the wedding cake he made for the lord mayor’s daughter’s wedding and he apparently used to make pies one day a week and the people used to line the street to buy them. any memories/assistance on getting any information pictures would be very much appreciated.

  101. Gill permalink
    April 26, 2017

    Sorry forgot to mention he family name was Dolder and he and Andersen, Tubby Isaacs and may be one or two more proprietors went to prison re a protest against the rates?

  102. Alan Adams permalink
    July 29, 2017

    My Gt Grandfather x3 Jonathan Adams was a waterman operating from Wapping New Stairs from 1790 till 1832 when he retired and died in1842. He was also a retained fireman for London Assurance. He lived in Knight’s Court which was behind St John’s Church in Wapping. He was also the brother of John Adams mutineer on HMS Bounty.
    Would like to share information with anyone that is interested.

  103. Sandra Gales permalink
    August 4, 2017

    Hi I have just come across this site about Wapping, I was born there I had two brothers Terry and Paul, we all went to St. Peter’s school and church, we lived in Fenner House, those were the days, I recognise some many names on here,
    I remember frenches sweet shop, also the sweet shop opposite St. Peter’s church we used to go in straight from school. My mum worked in the tin bashers by Wapping station. My dad was a lorry driver who worked in spiterfields market.
    I remember johnny duncombe, Peter Stevens, teddy warman, we all used to play run outs together, if anyone recognises me please get in touch would love to hear from you.

  104. Peter Coxell permalink
    August 12, 2017

    Hi Sandra, and welcome to the forum. Was “Gales” your maiden name as I don’t recognise it? As you are aware I and many others on here were brought up in St Peters Church and school so our paths might have crossed at some point. I also lived for a time at No 4 Fenner House, before moving to Jackman, and finally to Parry House before moving away from Wapping. As you probably read I have been back to Wapping twice recently and it brought back very fond memories. It certainly surprised my grand daughters who have had a very privileged upbringing and could not believe that this is where myself and wife Brenda(Wood) were raised. It is so sad that the community spirit that existed in Wapping is sadly lacking in society today.
    Anyway, lovely to hear from you, please reply if you have any memories to share.

  105. Sandra Gales permalink
    August 12, 2017

    Dear Peter, I lived at no 8 Fenner House I’ve moved away about 1958. I also recently went back to Wapping it was very nostalgic, but Oh how it has changed, our old flat is now worth a lot of money. We had 2 bedrooms/living room/scullery and outside toilet. Both my brothers and myself went to St. Peter’s school which is now a health centre.
    I remember Father Fox at St. Peter’s church also my headmistress was called Miss Butcher, she lived opposite St. Peter’s church. We used to play on the bombed out ruins.

    Yes my maiden name was Gales, I now live in Kent.

    Would like to keep in touch just by chance someone recognises my name.

  106. Peter Coxell permalink
    August 13, 2017

    How lovely to hear from you Sandra. We must have crossed each others paths sometime especially living in Fenner house. Brenda lived in Woodside Mansions also, a floor above Miss Butcher, and when we got married she just had to walk across the road to the church. We were married by Father Nixon who was my godfather and Fr Foisey also officiated at the ceremony. You probably don’t remember but I sang in the choir and always did the solo on Palm Sunday processing round the church as well as serving at the altar. I am proud to say that we have been married now for 53 years and often think of the happy years we spent in Wapping. We now live In North Somerset between Bristol & Weston super Mare where we moved some 43 years ago. We love it down here,such a contrast to London which we found had changed so much. Anyway, keep your memories coming, it is so nice to be in contact with another “Wappingite”.

  107. Sandra Gales permalink
    August 15, 2017

    Hi Peter, I am sure our paths must have crossed at some time. I can’t remember you by name but I can remember some people that lived in Jackman house and Fenner house. Johnny Dumcome, Robert Willets, Johnny and Ronnie Orton, Christine and Lillian Parker, to name but a few, we used to all play in the grounds of the flats. We used to go to Bertie Tarrs sweetshop, and Frenchies. We always went to the park in Tench street where the old fire station was,.
    We used to roller skate down Tench street because it was asphalted I can still remember it, it was wonderful. I loved Wapping so proud to have been born and bred there. I will keep in touch.

  108. Cathy malone permalink
    September 12, 2017

    It’s so nice to see everyone’s memories of wapping, my name is Cathy Malone my father was Albert Lilley who worked tirelessly for Wapping and Shadwell giving up his time freely for all the locals together with my mother Eileen who was a Duggan. my Nan Alice and grandfather Jack together with all the family lived on the pier head next to the Town of Ramsgate pub and very sadly recently my aunt Peggy died and she continued to live on the pier head but on the other side next to what was the convent,the last of the large Duggan family with 14 brothers and sisters. During the war their story was told in the American magazine the New Yorker she walked around Wapping with my grandfather and she wrote “it seemed like every child I met called him either granddad or dad such was the size of the very proud family”. Most of the family went to St Patrick’s school and were christened in the church. Memories flood back whenever I go back. It still has that village feel and without fail someone will say “are you a Duggan. My dad has a street named after him Lilley Close and a blue plaque

  109. Tricia Bing (nee Wyeth) permalink
    September 13, 2017

    Hello Peter Coxall,
    I remember you and your Mum well mainly from when you were at St George’s. Used to come to your flat with Janice Gover (pie shop fame) and Philip Butt in the early 60’s although a couple of years younger that you. My Mum and Dad were Churchwardens at St George’s although I went to St Peters school. I live in Upminster now although still go to St G and am a deputy warden. My Mum, Edith, would be pleased. Lovely to read of your trips to Wapping. I went into St Peters in June and it had hardly changed. My email address is if anyone knows me.

  110. Peter Coxell permalink
    September 28, 2017

    Hello again everyone. Nice to see you joining the forum Cathy and I was very interested to read your memories of Wapping and in particular the Duggan family which Brenda & I recall very well. We are going back to my son’s flat in November and will without doubt visit Wapping again. Must look out for Lilley Close and the plaque you mentioned. Have you read my previous posts about our recent visits to Wapping? If so, you will have noted that we actually visited Madge Darby in her flat on Pier Head and had a beer in the Town of Ramsgate which has hardly changed and has a country pub atmosphere about it.
    Pat Wyeth!! My word that name brings back fond memories of you and your family, Fr Solomon of course, and St George’s where I was proud to serve and play the organ. It is so nice to hear from you and give my love to your mum when you see her. I see that you now live in Upminster but still go to St Georges, well done on such loyalty and congratulations on being a deputy warden. I most certainly remember Phillip Butt as he and I used to go out on the Police launches with his dad who was a station sergeant at Wapping. I joined the Police myself in the Hertfordshire force but transferred down to the West Country with the Avon & Somerset Police some 40 years or so ago. We now have a static holiday home in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor where we spend most of the summer so from our roots in Wapping we are now well and truly country bumpkins! Having said that we still have very fond memories of Wapping and would not have wanted a better start in life even though times were hard. As I have just said to Cathy we are returning in November and no doubt will visit Wapping again – can’t keep away! I see that you are married, do you have any children/grandchildren? We are now in our 54th year and have 5 grandchildren. Anyway, lovely to hear from you and as I have said before it would be great to keep this forum going and hear from existing posters as well as any new ones who can share their memories with us. BFN, love to you and your family.

  111. Lee Pratt (Mrs) permalink
    October 14, 2017

    My grandmother was born at The Three Swedish Crowns pub in 1898, the daughter of William Thomas Jennings and Alice Maria Jennings (Freeman). I have been trying to find a photo of the old pub – all I can see is the more modern front. Such an interesting page.

  112. Jean Partleton permalink
    October 14, 2017

    Hi everyone, it’s been sometime since I sent in any blogs.

    Peter, I see you’re hoping to visit Wapping again in November? If you do come, please let me know ( as I would love to see you and Brenda again.

    Tricia (Bing), you probably won’t remember me, but I remember your Mum so well. My dad was Churchwarden at St. Peter’s London Dock for over 20 years and I was friends with Pet Ellis who used to attend St. George’s, do you remember her?

    Lee (Pratt) I see you’re trying to find an old photo of The Three Swedish Crowns. The only suggestion I can make is to contact Bancroft Road Library where they hold a lot of photos, papers etc. regarding local history, so you might strike lucky. The library is quite close to where I live, so I could always call in for you. Otherwise you could try East London History Society. Philip Mernick runs this and he is always very helpful. (I am a member of this and would be willing to ask Philip). Let me know how you get on.

  113. Peter Coxell permalink
    October 24, 2017

    Hi again Jean. We are going to London on Thursday 9th November to stay with my son again and together with our grand daughters will be attending a show, a birthday present. No idea of our detailed plans but will be returning home again on Monday 13th so may be able to get to Wapping at some stage. We will see what my son has planned for us and when I know for certain I will email you.
    Hi again Tricia(Pat).Hope you got my reply to your post, it was lovely to hear from you after all these years and would love to get all your news.

  114. John Webster permalink
    October 29, 2017

    For Peter Coxell
    Dear Peter
    Would you contact me on email
    Best wishes

  115. Peter Coxell permalink
    November 5, 2017

    Hi Jean & John. I will contact you on the emails you provided but briefly I injured my spine last Sunday and have been more or less housebound since then only leaving the house when Brenda drove me to the osteopath. On the practitioners advice I just cannot attempt to travel to London and sit through a show so completely devastated. Hopefully we will be able to get back again at some time in the future.

  116. Frances Was lassman permalink
    November 12, 2017

    Does anyone remember Jewish Anne Errol and Ashley1950schancellor house. I rememberRene Leonard Gwen raycroft Christine Perry the Bateman Cobber crabbMills family Bertie tarrs his. Niece Marion Gadd I’m 78now! Happy days

  117. Peter Coxell permalink
    November 23, 2017

    Hi everyone. Just watching the new series on BBC2 at 9pm. I can commend watching this as it covers the bombing of the East End and for the “youngsters” like myself (75) who remember the trips to the air raid shelters and the subsequent playtime on the bombed sites. The phrase “community spirit” I strongly believe was created in the East End and it is a pity there is little of that these days. Frances, my wife Brenda nee Wood remembers Bertie Tarrs well a she lived in Woodside Mansions and they got a lot of their shopping in “Tarrs”. Marion Gadd was a good friend of Brenda’s also. Best wishes to you all and have a Happy Christmas.

  118. Peter Coxell permalink
    November 23, 2017

    Message to John Webster. I sent you an email on the address you gave me, did you receive it? Regards Peter.

  119. Sandra Gales permalink
    December 1, 2017

    Dear Frances, I remember Anne Lassman from wapping I was only a child in the fifties, I was born in 1947, I lived in Fenner house, my mum was Beryl Gales.

  120. Peter Coxell permalink
    January 11, 2018

    Hi, a belated Happy New Year to all on this forum. Hope to have see some more fond memories on Wapping here in 2018. Best wishes, Peter.

  121. Miriam Glendenning permalink
    February 11, 2018

    Dear all, this is a message to anyone who might be able to help but perhaps especially to Cathy Malone who posted on Sep 12th 2017. I’m an English teacher in London and my Uncle is an author living in Poplar and mostly writing about London. He recently told me the story about the Dead End Kids who Patsie Duggan was the leader and also included Maureen Duggan, his younger sister.

    For anyone reading this who doesn’t know, and please correct me if any detail is incorrect as I only have limited research, the Dead End Kids as they named themselves, gathered themselves together in the Blitz and saved lives night after night. Two of them died in their efforts. They were invited to Downing Strret as their efforts were being recognised however one of them ’passed wind’ and a mild interaction occurred between the lad and a dignatory. After this they were side lined, even though they continued to rescue people.

    I’ve been teaching my students using this story and they have been inspired by it to write to the Home Office to nominate the Dead End Kids for the George Cross.

    I’d really like to actually send the letters but before that I’d like to ask any of Dead End Kids their permission.

    If anyone can help in this quest I’d be most grateful.

    Miriam Glendenning

  122. Cathy Malone permalink
    May 12, 2018

    Hi Miriam I am sorry but I’ve just seen your post from February, you are right the dead end kids was a group of youngster who were led by my uncle. Patsy Duggan and it did indeed include his sister, my aunt Maureen also family friend Eddie Chusonis who later became my aunt Peggy’s husband, sadly they have all now passed away, Peggy only last year. The youngest of the Duggan clan Terry also died last year and he was a mine of information happily his wife Jean is still alive I’m sure she might be able to help you, she would have heard the stories in great detail, she also was one of the Morris’ from Wapping, I believe uncle Pats started the gang because he had a glass eye from a child so could’nt join up but he wanted to “do his bit”

  123. Miriam Glendenning permalink
    June 26, 2018

    Hi Cathy

    I’ve only just seen this message so I hope I haven’t lost you! It was very exciting to read but also sad that there are no Duggan siblings or Dead End Kids alive. I’d very much like to speak with Jean if she would be happy to. My Uncle lives in Poplar and my elderly mum and I will be visiting him in July – so I’ll be nearby. Would it be ok to meet? If she’d rather I write or email then please just let me know. Thank you again for replying.


  124. Gwen Hajichambis (was Raycroft permalink
    July 4, 2018

    I couldn’t believe it when I saw this site, I was good friends with Frances Lassman. We lived in Chancellor House with my brother Mike Raycroft and sister Mary.The last time I saw Frances we were about 18 years old . Seeing those names Rene Leonard, Christine Perry, Marian Gadd took me back to Wapping. It has been fascinating reading about the processions with St. Patricks band and we all used to follow the band to whatever procession was on that Sunday. I took a group on a London History Walk to Wapping in April and so much has changed but the old Wapping is still there but not that wonderful community.

  125. Peter Coxell permalink
    August 12, 2018

    Hi Miriam & Gwen and welcome to the forum. Have not posted for some time as we spend most of the summer down in our static caravan in Devon. It was interesting to read about the Dead End Kids Miriam but sorry to say I had not come across them before although my wide Brenda had. Where do you teach in London Miriam, still in the East End? I agree Gwen, the old Wapping has changed as has a lot of London. We found this out on recent visits last year. It is,however,very nostalgic to walk around and see some of the old familiar places. In particular we were very pleased to see the old St Peters school where we held our wedding reception, some 54 years ago this coming September. Jean(Partleton), if you pick this up we are planning to come up again to London probably in November and stay with my son for a few days. If you are now ok health wise perhaps we could arrange a meet, it would be great to talk about old times,places and of course, faces. Anyway, let me know. Best wished to all.

  126. Gwen Hajichambis (was Raycroft permalink
    August 22, 2018

    Thanks for reply Peter. I would love to meet up and talk about Wapping, I had my first job in the office at Morocco Wharf. Seems to be part of the Police Station now. Do let me know if you arrange anything. So many familiar names. I can even remember the Powells who had a lovely old fashioned drapers shop I think on the corner of Raines Mansions in Wapping Lane. Reading all the comments took me back all those years. For such a small area there is so much history as I found out doing research for my walk. I now live in a village near Tunbridge Wells.

  127. Jean Partleton permalink
    September 1, 2018

    Hi everyone, I’ve been keeping an eye on the forum during the hot summer but not posted anything..

    Went down to Wapping in July for the new incumbent’s induction at St. Peter’s. To be back in the Church again brought back so many memories.

    Peter, a meet up in November would be great, let me know when and time. Anyone else interested?

    Best wishes

  128. Carole Dougall (nee Lane) permalink
    September 7, 2018

    Message for Peter Coxell. I came upon this site by accident while looking for information about Wapping. I wonder if you are the Peter Coxell I once knew when I came to Wapping during the 1950s to stay with my cousin, Mary Stewart in Riverside Mansions, or my grandmother who lived in Watts Street buildings.
    Both my parents, Fred Lane & Ivy Stewart, were born & grew up in Wapping & so many of the memories mentioned in these comments remind me of their life there. My cousin, Ian Stewart, still lives in Wapping. This September would have seen my mother’s 100 birthday & to mark this my sister & I, with our husbands, will be making a visit to Wapping – especially St Peter’s Church & to walk down the streets that we remembered as children.
    Do you have any recollection of any of this, Peter? I shall watch with interest any comments.

    Best wishes

  129. Caroline permalink
    September 15, 2018

    Would anyone happen to know why and when St. Patrick’s School was closed down?

    Thanks in advance!

  130. Sandra Gales permalink
    September 16, 2018

    I went to school with Ian Stewart, my name was Sandra Gales I don’t know if he would remember me. I think he was friends with Colin Samson.

  131. Sandy Constable permalink
    September 27, 2018

    Hi Everyone,
    I came across this site as I was searching for any information regarding my family roots which I am so pleased to say are embedded in Wapping and the surrounding area. Unfortunately I can only trace my ancestry back to Wapping from 1850. My family names are: Hobbs, O’Brien, Freeman, Sheehan, Butcher, Blewitt, Manley, Marston.
    The Hobbs family lived at various addresses, Jubilee Buildings, Queens Head Alley, Rutland Street, and a property called The Gatehouse. (would love to know where this was).
    The O’brien family lived in Great Hermitage St. My Great Grandfather Michael O’Brien worked for Thomas Allen and Emdund Tanton on Wapping High Street. The O’Brien family had a connection with the Sullivan family but I can’t establish how. I understand the O’Brien family was a large family, but sadly the information was not passed on.
    My grandmother and grandfather were mixed demonination marriage, ie RC and CofE which she told me was frowned upon in the 20’s!
    My father and his father died at a very young age and to me its important that I record their story and pass it on to my grandchildren.
    If anyone is connected to any of the above families or lived near by I would love to hear from you.
    Sandy Constable

  132. Peter Coxell permalink
    October 13, 2018

    Hi Carole(Dougall). Apologies for the late reply, life has been very hectic lately and we have spent a lot of the summer in our holiday retreat in Devon. Your post most certainly brought back fond memories, particularly with regard to Mary Stewart, a very close friend of mine in our school days.We spent some memorable time together and I often wonder what happened to Mary and her family who owned the grocery store. Have you any up to date news on Mary and I note that Ian still lives in Wapping?
    Jean, we would love to meet up sometime as you know. Being down in the West Country we will have to make arrangements with my son who as you are aware has a flat in Westminster, to stay over for a couple of days. We are staying over with him in his Guildford home the first weekend in November and the 3rd/4th week in November would appear to be a possibility to visit London again. I will try and make some plans and let you know asap if we are able to come down. Obviously, if any other posters to this forum would be able to make it, it would be fantastic to get together and talk about those very nostalgic days in Wapping. Carole, if you read this please post a reply and let us know if you could join us also.
    In the meantime thanks everyone for keeping the magic of our early days in Wapping so much alive. They were hard times but I think we all grew up better for it and will treasure those memories for ever.

  133. Peter Coxell permalink
    October 13, 2018

    Hi Gwen (nee Raycroft). If you have picked up my last post you will see that more “Wappingites” have picked up our threads and would like to meet up if possible. I see that you now live in Tunbridge Wells but said you would like to join us if possible to talk about old times. That would be fantastic and if I can arrange a trip in late November I will, of course, keep you posted. It would be great to see you. Hopefully, our latest posts will be picked up and interested parties reply in the near future.
    Best wishes, Peter

  134. Peter Coxell permalink
    October 13, 2018

    Hi again. We have managed to arrange a stay at our sons from Friday 22nd until Tuesday 26th November. Jean, Gwen, Carole and anyone else interested in meeting up can you let me know and we can discuss a convenient location to have a chat.
    Look forward to hearing from you.

  135. Peter Coxell permalink
    October 16, 2018

    Hi Sandy, nice to see someone new on this forum with memories of Wapping. I recall some of the names you mentioned but after all these years it is difficult to remember them all without talking to someone who was close family, and ideally, has photos as well. The one name I did know well is Marston, if I have the right one wasn’t his name Walter(fondly known as Wally)? He was a Church Warden at St Peters and I am sure that I have a photo of him leading the St Peters procession one year. I have also done some research into The Gatehouse in Wapping and the only one I can find is the New Crane Wharf in Wapping High Street, which was converted into apartments and is called The Gatehouse.
    As you will have noticed, I am trying to get a few people together for a reunion of Wapping exiles in late November and if you are able to join us that would be great. As we are travelling up from the West Country Sunday 24th November seems to be a suitable date as Brenda & I would like to go to St Peters for mass at 10am first to remember our wedding there 54 years ago.

  136. Peter Coxell permalink
    October 16, 2018

    Me again Jean! Just to say did you know that Madge passed away in September aged 91? Glad that Brenda & I were able to call in on her last year and have a chat about Wapping which she was very passionate about.

  137. Carole Dougall (nee Lane) permalink
    October 25, 2018

    Hello Peter. (Coxell)
    Thank you for your reply – it was a great surprise. As those memories were so long ago I wasn’t sure you would remember. Yes, Ian still lives in Wapping, as did my uncle Harry & Aunty May until their death. They continued to own the shop for all their working life. Mary & I are still in contact & we meet up often. She has had a most interesting life.
    We spent an interesting day in Wapping at the end of September, to mark my mum’s 100th birthdate. Riverside Stores looks just the same – the present owners knew Harry Stewart & told us that he used to shop there until his death. We visited St Peter’s Church too – it still looked the same as I remembered. We meet the Parish Priest and showed him photos & other memorabilia I have, from my parents collection, which go back to their life in Wapping before the war.Naturally he found them of great interest. It was him who told us of the death of Madge Darby, as her funeral had taken place earlier that week. I would have loved to have met her.
    I hope your reunion meeting is successful. I will not make it but thanks for asking me. Although I have discovered family connections going back to the late 1800s – mostly in the Jolly Sailor Pub (now replaced by apartments on the corner of Gravel Lane) – on both my father’s side & my mother’s side, I’m not a true Wapping person like the rest of you. I will mention it to Ian however and will tell Mary of our conversations on this site, which I shall continue to visit.

  138. Jean Partleton permalink
    October 29, 2018

    Hi Peter and Everyone

    I heard the sad news of Madge’s death via my local History Newsletter and I would have attended her funeral but I was away, however I shall visit her grave when I’m next over the East London Cemetery.

    Reading through the posts above, I too have fond memories of ‘Wally’ Marson, a great fund raiser for St. Peter’s Church!! Sandy (Constable) you have mentioned a few names that ring distant bells, Blewitt, Manley and Marston. I seem to remember being at St. Peter’s School with a lad, surname of Blewitt, and I also remember a very elderly lady, surname of Manley, I believe she was a relation of the Bennetts who lived in Welsh House? Sandra (Gales) I also remember Ian Stewart and his sister Mary, and Colin Samson, from my school days.

    I have tried to do some research on the closure of both St. Peter’s and St. Patrick’s Secondary Schools but haven’t had any luck yet. I believe St. Peter’s closed around the mid-1950’s and I’m planning a visit to our local History library to see what I can find there. Will keep those who are interested up to date.

    Peter, I have put the dates on my calendar that you and Brenda are in London, and I will try and get to St. Peter’s on the Sunday.

    Jean Partleton

  139. Peter Coxell permalink
    October 29, 2018

    Hi Jean. Thanks for your reply which I have just picked up in Devon. We are closing down for the winter season and returning home tomorrow which is just as well as the weather has turned very cold with snow on Dartmoor. Our plans have changed slightly as we cannot make the Sunday but we will definitely be going down to Wapping on Monday utilising the ferry from Westminster pier to the Tower of Lonon and walking along the High Street as we dud so many times in the past. Hope you can make it so do let me know.
    Regards, Peter

  140. Peter Coxell permalink
    October 29, 2018

    Hello again Caroline and thanks for the uplate. Sorry you cannot make it in November maybe some other time but keep in touch. Glad to see you still meet up with Mary, do remember me to her and tell me a bit more about her”interesting life” I would be pleased to see how she has got on after all this time.
    Anyway, best wishe’s and take care.


  141. Jean Partleton permalink
    November 2, 2018

    Hi Peter

    25th November should be fine for me for a meet up. Let me know where? Look forward to meeting up again with you both.

    Best wishes.


  142. Peter Coxell permalink
    November 2, 2018

    Hi Jean.

    Lovely to hear from you again. So glad you can make it on 25th. I have been researching the ferry timetables and we can probably be at the Tower pier by around 11am. followed by walk along to Wapping. I would imagine St Peters church would be a suitable place to meet up initially as we would like to see around it again and possibly meet up with the new incumbent if he is around. We could go for some lunch somewhere later. If you are agreeable to the above can I firm up times,etc., in a few days as we are just off to Guildford to my sons and a trip to Gatwick to collect our grandaughter on Tuesday.

    Look forward to hearing from you.



  143. Peter Coxell permalink
    November 2, 2018

    Hi again Jean.

    Just realised you mentioned the 25th (Sunday). I don’t know if you read my last post to say we cannot make it on Sunday but that Monday 26th is an absolute certainty. Hopefully, you will still be able to meet up on Monday so perhaps you could confirm in due course.



  144. Jean Partleton permalink
    November 4, 2018

    Hi Peter,

    Sorry for the confusion, I did mean the Monday 26th!!! Let me know what time you will be at St. Peter’s and I’ll meet you both there. Looking forward to it.

    Best wishes.


  145. Peter Coxell permalink
    November 4, 2018

    Hi Jean. That’s great look forward to seeing you. We will get the ferry times when we get home and firm up our eta at St. Peter’s. Do you have a mobile? Can I suggest we exchange numbers so that we can keep in touch on the day in case of any delays,etc., my number is 07952 722504.
    Best wishes

  146. Peter Coxell permalink
    November 8, 2018

    Hi Jean. There is a ferry from Westminster Pier at 10.12 which arrives at the Tower Pier 10.35 all being well. We will walk to Wapping from there so should be at St Peters Church around 11 o’clock. Will meet you there if that’s ok with you and anyone else who has been on this forum and would like to meet up, i.e. Tricia, Angela,Carole, etc..,I am searching the archives for some photographs so if you have any we can look at that would be great.

  147. Jean Partleton permalink
    November 16, 2018

    Hi Peter

    Sorry to have been so long in replying. My mobile is 07754 474454. I’ll get down to Wapping around 11 a.m. and look forward to meeting you both again after such a long time.

    Best wishes.


  148. Peter Coxell permalink
    November 16, 2018

    Hi Jean. Really looking forward to seeing you.

    Regards, Peter.

  149. Pat Adams permalink
    November 25, 2018

    Hi Jean. St Patrick’s school closed a few years ago and the children of Wapping now attend either Tower Hill or St Mary’s and St Michael’s. St Peter’s school has been on the site of the old gas works debris for a lot of years now. Sorry l can’t be more precise with dates or years. hi

  150. Peter Coxell permalink
    January 10, 2019

    Hi everyone. Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a happy New year. Jean joined us in Wapping recently and we had a good time talking about the old days and seeing how things had changed. We were very fortunate to be invited into the social group after mass at St Peter’s and it was lovely speaking to church members some if whom knew our families and friends. I had Madge Darby’s history of Wapping given to me for Christmas and can thoroughly recommend it if you are interested on the area’s past. We really enjoy our trips back and are planning another visit in March if anyone would like to meet up.

  151. Fiona Lilley permalink
    January 25, 2019

    This is a lovely story. This house used to belong to my Great Grandmother, Madge and her family bought it from our family. It is now up for sale!

  152. Tricia Bing (Wyeth) permalink
    January 31, 2019

    Hi Peter Coxall
    I just came across this again by accident so spent ages reading all comments. I still have a drive round Wapping sometimes after I come out of St Georges Sunday Mass. Sadly my Mum, Edith Wyeth died in 2011. See quite a few old Wappingites on Facebook too.
    All the best, they were certainly the good old days

  153. Kevin Flight permalink
    February 13, 2019

    My name is Kevin Flight. The Wapping side of my family are Walsh. My mother used to live at Number 6 Pierhead with her mum and 4 sisters and they had a tobacconist in Wapping High St. Graham Norton now lives at number 6. My Grandfather was a corner street bookie in Wapping. So much to tell you about the history there. Still love Wapping and go back quite regularly.
    All the best.

  154. Peter Coxell permalink
    February 26, 2019

    Hi everyone who is keeping up with the forum gossip. We are going down to Wapping again on Monday 18th March and meeting up with Jean again. If anyone is interested, we would love to see you for a chat and reminisce over the “good old days”. Meeting at St Peters Church around 1030/11am.

  155. Lesley Spencer permalink
    June 19, 2019

    Fascinating. Hope this is ok to post. Does anyone have any knowledge re The Chinese man that ran the laundry and restaurant in I believe Linehouse. My great grandmother lived with him. He brought up her two boys, one my grandad, I never knew him tho, he was a wanderer! I would love to know more. Thanks

  156. Sandy Constable nee Hobbs permalink
    July 24, 2019

    Peter Coxell,

    I am so sorry that I did not reply to your comment on this site. Unfortunately my daughter is undergoing hospital treatment and I have been supporting her and my young grandaughter. I looked back in horror and realised that it was 2018 that I posted my thread! You mentioned Marston as being the only name you recognised. My grandmother Mary O’Brien married a Daniel Marston after my grandfather,Thomas Henry Walter Hobbs died. My Gt Grandfather Michael O’Brien lived for many years in Wapping, in Great Hermitage St. He was a carter and worked for Edmund Taynton? Such a shame I missed you, but hope you will understand.

  157. Janice Ann Birks permalink
    November 7, 2019

    Does anyone know my lovely neighbour, Mr Albert Mentessi? Albert was born in 1935, and lived in Wapping during the Blitz. His little brother drowned at the age of 5 or 6 by the shore, and his mum and dad had the cafe at 7 Wapping High Street until it got bombed, and they moved to Fleet St.
    Albert went to St Patrick’s school with his older brother, Peppe – both boys excelled at football.
    Despite the atrocities of the war, Albert has very fond memories of living in Wapping, and he enjoyed the “community spirit.”

  158. John Miller permalink
    April 11, 2020

    Just found this website and have been absolutely fascinated reading abut the place where I was born and lived till the age of 9. Born December 1945 and lived in Reardon House. My parents were Millie and John Miller and my grandparents on my mother’s side were Fred and Lillie (nee Underwood) Spearing. They lived in Riverside Mansions. On my fathers side the grandparents were Mary (nee Cody) and Frederick Miller. I can remember my Mary living in Gold Street up until she passed away.
    I went to St Patrick’s Infants School and Boys School and attended St Patrick’s Church. I was an altar boy (from what I can remember).
    I found this site looking for the fact where my parents lived when I was born which I think was over a business called Sullivan’s before they got the fact in Reardon House.
    I am working on my family history and would love to hear from anybody who has information.

  159. Joan may (hawley) permalink
    April 29, 2020

    I was born in wapping 1953 in jubilee buildings, horrible place not that we knew any different, and as my mum used to say after the war jubilee buildings was better than nothing.
    I went st Patricks school and church. Onto Bishop Challenor. We moved eventually from jubilee bldgs to no 7 Parry House. Then they moved us to Hilliard house in prusom street.

    While at Parry, i lost my young brother to the Thames he was 8yrs old. Mum was alone as she had split from the husband (a whole other story) and had been previously married to Joe Chusonis, peggy duggans brother in law. I miss it very much more so as i’ve gotten older!

  160. Pauline Ireland New Lawless permalink
    May 22, 2020

    My family came from Wapping but moved out to Kent and the Wirral. The family originally lived in Jubilee Buildings.

  161. May 31, 2020

    Hi everyone. Some time since I last posted and was wondering if anyone had been visiting this forum. I have visited Wapping a few times when up in London, meeting up with Jean when we can. Obviously with all this pandemic going on we have been unable to come down which is a great shame. Hope all of you are managing to keep well and coping with the restrictions. Let’s hope it’s not too long before things get back to normal. Angela(Webb). If you are still interested perhaps we could arrange a meet when we can get down. And Jean, will be on touch soon. Love and best wishes to all our friends from Wapping, keep safe xxx

  162. Christine Ashby (was Colley) permalink
    July 30, 2020

    I lived at 10 Wapping Pierhead between 1963 and 1968. My Dad Ted worked for the PLA, we moved over to the Isle of Dogs , but I have great memories of Wapping and our lovely neighbours on The Pierhead. They were Police houses, and the big building on the opposite side of the Pierhead was Police flats. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me. x

  163. Sandra Harper(nee Gales) permalink
    August 22, 2020

    Hi everyone. Myself and my two brothers and sister took a trip down to WApping on the 17th August, it was a very nostalgic trip we were all born in Wapping but haven’t been back for years. Had a lovely lunch in the Town of Ramsgate, walked all around wapping it has changed so much. If anybody remembers us please get in touch. Sandra/Terry/Paul/Deborah Gales. We lived in Fenner house.

  164. Tricia Bing (Wyeth) permalink
    August 27, 2020

    Hi Peter Coxell,
    Every so often something sends me back to this thread. Have you managed to get back to Wapping this year with Covid etc. I actually went up yesterday on the train to a church thing. Didn’t get the chance to pop into St Peter’s but I will do soon. Hope you’re keeping well.
    If anyone else remembers me my email is

  165. Martin Power permalink
    September 17, 2020

    Hi all my name is Martin Power born at 26 Jackman house in June 1955,my sister Patricia now 70 remembers a lot of those names, my dad Ted was born in red lion st,i remember the duggans well, went to st Patrick’s with Stephen.The insols are related to my maternal grandmother Sally King. Hope this jogs a few memories.

  166. John Insole permalink
    November 19, 2020

    Hello everyone my name is John Insole . I have enjoyed reading your posts. It looks as though I am related to a good many of you! I was born in 1931 in hermatage, in the days of the old wapping, thanks to this site I have realiased I have many cousin’s I didn’t know I had!

  167. Peter Coxell permalink
    December 6, 2020

    Hi again everyone. Posts are getting a bit threadbare now which is a shame as it is obvious there are many of you that have fond memories of Wapping like myself. Travel around as we do but memories come flooding back and I will never forget the great community spirit there was which is sadly lacking these days. Due to the covid we have been unable to get down to London as much as we would like but we do keep in touch with Jean (nee Mills) and meet up when we get to Wapping. With Christmas approaching I love playing Carol’s and reminiscing on my days in St Peters choir when I sang the solo for Once in Royal David’s city. Unfortunately this year we will be celebrating on our own as tier 3 is keeping us housebound with only occasional shopping trips for essentials.
    Oh dear, getting emotional now just thinking if the great times and friends we had. If there are any of you who have posted before or newcomers, please get in touch on this forum and let us know how you are and what you are doing these days. It would be lovely if you could share your memories with us.
    Happy Christmas to you all.?

  168. Peter Coxell permalink
    December 6, 2020

    Me again! Sorry John, I meant to reply to your post but got carried away. It was fantastic hearing from you as the name Insole is a Wapping legend. If I have got it right wasn’t it your family that had the sweet shop come general supplies in Wapping High Street? If so, I remember it well and you probably remember my mum Rose Coxell, nee Slater. She used to give me a few pennies to spend in the shop, my favourites were sherbet flying saucers. ?
    Are you still living in Wapping or in the Stepney area as so many still are, can’t drag them away it has so many good memories!
    We left the area when we got married and bought a flat in Bishops Stortford, Herts. as London was too expensive. Moved to the West Country 40 odd years ago now so right country folk. Never lost the cockney accent though and many people say “your from London ain’t you?.”
    Anyway, thanks for posting, try to keep in touch and Happy Christmas to you.

  169. Bo Elderton permalink
    January 30, 2021

    Hello – would anyone be able to tell me what building currently stands on the site of the Prusom Street Buildings, which stood at the end of the 1920s/30s?

  170. John Insole permalink
    February 1, 2021

    Hello Peter .Before I ģo y further ihàdbetter

  171. John Insole permalink
    February 2, 2021

    Hello PETER before I add another word I had better me etion that I am no great
    Shakes with technology
    At a few months to 90 it’s a case of old dogs and new Tricks. I think that I was left far
    Behind a million years ago!…Thank you for your comment about the insoles. Not o y in
    Wapping incident ly Not surprising I suppose considering that grt grandad John. William and grt grandma Caroline begat 10 males 9 survived and 4 girl ‘s. No one with any sense dared to annot any one of them . Sorry for mistakes.I did warn you.I would love
    To chat o n.Perhaps on zero one fourfourzero seven zero five four three four and anyone
    Else terested
    I have Completed my rather massive memoir 1931….1946…7. Hermitage.Jack man house
    Etc The evacuation from brewhouse lane school 1940. .FAMILY blitz stories .a nd on and
    On….Ì would love to chat more now The book is close to hopefully there
    There will be much to talk about then It is very Comprehensive ! Covering pretty well
    E very aspect of Wapping society. The wonderful world of Wapping kids (and the men)
    The environment
    Ebough for now.I wI’ll postrich again asoon soon as I hAve recovered my failing wit’s
    I tHINK . a cup of tea beckonsJohn

  172. John Insole permalink
    February 4, 2021

    HELLO everyonE I have just reread my previous posting.I Think I am recovering from the
    Shock. However I can claid some comfort from the fact that being close to 90 anda confirmed techno phobic there is really no hope for me .My 9 grandchildren and most of
    My 13 great grandchildren Think I am still in the Stone age I do feel as if I have been lef behind by at least ten thousand years…The problem is that I am too set in my habits with
    My trusted old manual typewriter Do you remember them my family Thi k it is
    Hilarious ?.Incidentally I was not born ln Hermitage , ut before my first birthday moved
    Inot 74 Hermitage Wall until the house was de oilseed just before the war I loved every
    Minute of it
    FULL OF character,and character Wo derful memories

  173. peter james dunn permalink
    February 4, 2021

    my name is Peter Dunn son of Robert Dunn and Gladys ( nee Jeffs) . Lived in Old Tower Buildings with my sisters Pauline, Christine and Pamela. Went to St peters school and served on the altar at st Peters church with father Foizey. Knocked around with Edward and Lee Staley, Dave Reggie and Mark Andrews, Peter Hearn, Peter Milligan , Ian Mckay, Robert Pilch. I remember the Culley family, Christine and Carole and their mum and dad, Fred and Emily, and Mr & Mrs Mills
    Also related to the Insoles, my mum’s mum.

  174. John insole permalink
    February 7, 2021

    Hello Peter D lts great to get your reply. FIRSTLY to know that somewhere down the line
    Presumably it was your maternal grandma had been an Insole I expect that we could trace her Li niage Back to the days of the fiirest Insoles in Wapping We have an extensive
    Record of the family tree It’s faicinching
    You mentioned that you lived in old tower buildings You may well remember my sister
    lily nee ln sole married to jack Ward out of Jubilled Buildings And my two nieces Janet
    And Linda both Lily and Bro have sadly been missed The ranks are thinin out
    Rapidly lately I’m sorry.My memore for names is almost non existent now sometimes I
    Have difficult in recallING my own Fortunately I do have a strong and clear recall of events a d places many of them as far back as 1932 many of those early memories of those
    Precuous years living in Hermitage and then later in Jack man House with gramps better
    Known locally as Aunt Beat an uncle Jack both of whom remain in my being as IIcons of
    A wapping that ño longer exsists except as a vibrant memory of better times long may it
    Continue.. keep in touch In future I shall identify you as Peter.D……John Insole

  175. Martine permalink
    February 7, 2021

    Just found this site. Really fascinating. I would love to learn more about my grandfather (Pop) Arthur Clark who lived in Parry House for years until he died in the early 90’s. He lived there with his wife Ellen and sister in law Flo. He had many brothers and sisters! My Dad was Roy Clark who died last year, his brother is Alan and my other uncle is John Lawless! (I’ve seen his name mentioned!). I was after some photos of the 70’s if anyone has any? Many thanks for any info! Mx

  176. peter james dunn permalink
    February 8, 2021

    john Insole.

    I do remember Jack Ward, i think they lived on what we called the second block, numbers 21 to 40.
    My daughter is in the process of looking into our family tree, so I might tap you up for some more information.
    Mum was born in 1920, so she would have been posted abroad when the school was evacuated.
    Keep in touch
    Peter D

  177. Peter Coxell permalink
    February 28, 2021

    Hi Martine. Nice to see you posting on this forum. What a co-oincidence! I lived with my mum in 20 Parry House for around 9/10 years. I may be mistaken but I think our next door neighbour was called Flo. Do you know what her surname was? When we go back to Wapping we always walk past Parry, it brings back so many wonderful memories. With some sign of the lockdown in sight we are hoping to get down there again later this year. With advancing years it may well be our last visit but we will never forget the wonderful community spirit that existed. Best wishes to you and yours. Peter

  178. Lee Staley permalink
    April 30, 2021

    My name is Lee Staley brother to Edward and Ruth. Parents Beryl and Ed. Just been advised about this site and recognised a few surnames. Hello Peter! I was born in New Tower buildings, Wapping high street. Near the river police station and park. Pals from the 60’s – 70’s include Peter Dunn, Barry Thornton, Paul Butcher, Gary Altringham, David and Gary Marsh, Gary and Grant Chalk. Attended St Peters, to leave in 1968. Still make visits and see all the pubs are gone.With a quick guess it’s only the cuckoo – the prospect- town of ramsgate left.

  179. peter james dunn permalink
    May 25, 2021

    Lee, great to hear from you via this web site. Been a long time. Hope everyone is keeping well.
    We live in Huntingdon near Cambridge so don’t get to Wapping very often, but our daughter Lindsey lives in Haggerston and Spencer lives in Tooting Bec. Our eldest son Edward lives in York, so we do have to travel quite a bit. If I remember you moved to Kent, but where does Edward and Ruth live now? Me and Elaine are both retired and my sister Christine moved to here from Barking a few years ago. Pauline and Pam still live in south London.
    Recently read a fiction book called “The Wapping Conspiracy” by Tom Wareham, available on Amazon. Well worth reading.
    Anyway, keep in touch.

  180. Lee Staley permalink
    June 7, 2021

    Good to catch up Peter. Sure has been a while. Left Wapping to move to Bethnal Green with Sue then on to Hawley, Dartford. Our son Lee is thirty five in July. He lives at Elephant and Castle. Ruth moved on to Cornwall then Bristol and now back in Cornwall. Sorry to say it but we lost Ed in 2017. He stayed in Wapping for most of his days moving to Frobisher House near the Old Star pub in Watts street. He sold the flat for a pretty penny and moved to Sidcup. Not retired yet, we’re both working. Say hi to Elaine.

  181. peter james dunn permalink
    June 10, 2021

    So sad to hear about Edward, my oldest friend. Only six months between us. It was a big move to Sidcup; any reason he choose that part of London? I used to knock around there in the late 70’s. Did Ross, Gemma or Kirsten live nearby?
    Nice to think about my time in Wapping, even after we moved to south London. I still remember meeting you on thursday nights at the pub near Stepney Green station (the globe?) and then we switched to the pub at Surrey Docks station. Seems a lifetime ago.
    Hope Sue is doing well. Elaine has recently broke her knee and is slowly recovering.
    Keep in touch

  182. Lee Staley permalink
    June 18, 2021

    Those pub visits are hard to recollect, but saying that, I do remember venturing south to New Cross Gate to meet in or at the Rose opposite the station. When I drive to work I pass it. I can’t recall much of those times. Keep me posted for memory updates!
    Regarding Ed’s children, Gemma is forty-three and has four, Alex 22, Amelia 19, Cerys 16 and Nick 12. She moved to Bexleyheath and now Canterbury. Ross is thirty-nine and has Amber-Mae who is two. He went to Crayford and now Erith. Kirsten is thirty-five with Elsie nine and Reggie five. She went to Romford and now Witham. (Thanks Ruth!)
    Was it Charlton or near there you moved to? You were just a lad still I reckon. Ed and I used to pop over now and again. Yeah, the Wapping days were good with knowing most people by sight at least. Always a comfortable atmosphere when you think back,but none the wiser of it as a child. Thinking of Elaine, I thought when we got to our ages, you would get a new one. That’s it for now ? Laters

  183. peter james dunn permalink
    June 22, 2021

    Just read that The Cuckoo has been re-named as The Dockers Inn. Why?

  184. Lee Staley permalink
    June 22, 2021

    White Swan, The Cuckoo and now The Dockers Inn? News to me. Seems like it’s a better name for the tourist to see.

  185. Lee Staley permalink
    June 28, 2021

    Bumped into David Andrews in a pub in Poplar one night. Must be about twenty-five years ago. I think he was a firefighter. And his hair was a bit shorter!

  186. peter james dunn permalink
    July 1, 2021

    yes he ended up being a chief fire officer. must be well retired by now.
    my daughter was looking at renting in Wapping and the two that came to light was Old Tower Buildings was £750.00 per month and New Tower was £1000.00 to £1200.00 per month. Also Olivers Wharf was £11500.00 per month. mental money

  187. Lee Staley permalink
    July 4, 2021

    I remember Mr Mills coming round to collect rent and see dad give him two quid. The good old days as they say. Have passed by Old and New Tower in recent years and there’s not a lot change on the outside. I think our old three bedroom is a one bedroom now. Studio flats included according to plans. New Tower has a gated entrance these days.

  188. Angela Ferris (nee WEBB) permalink
    July 9, 2021

    Just recently re-visited this forum noticing a few names that I recall from the 50’s 60’s. Hi my name is Angela Webb lived in Parry House, with sisters June and Margaret. We 3 lived in Wapping until we all married and I visit Wapping fairly regularly.
    Hello Peter Dunn and Lee Staley. Spent many happy times with your sister Christine Peter and recall along with the rest of the old tower building kids babysitting your sister Ruth Lee. Nice to see some of the boys recalling their Wapping days.
    I recently visited St. Peter’s church where back in the 60’s when mum passed away, and as she was a regular parishioner of St.Peters dad felt it would be nice to commemorate her life by purchasing a chair in her name in St Peter’s on one visit I noticed that it was slightly damaged. My recent visit found it gone. The now vicar felt it not safe so had it destroyed along with other damaged chairs, shame he was not familiar with this Forum.
    Nice to read your comments boys.

  189. Lee Staley permalink
    July 18, 2021

    Hi Angela, very nice of you to say hello. After all these years who would of thought it! I did spot your earlier comments with Carol Culley, another childhood friend and nearly said hello then. We visit
    a friend living in Wapping Wall and have eaten in the Italian by the river park and the Chinese at the end of Wapping High St. by Garnet Street – converted warehouse. I’ve driven through Wapping a few times and apart from the dock conversions, not too much has changed as far as I can tell. From Wapping High St up to the Highway or Matilda House across to Glamys Rd it looks much the same, give or take.

  190. peter james dunn permalink
    July 25, 2021

    nice to hear from you Angela, as I do remember you and your sisters from Parry House. Spoke to Christine today, as she has now moved out of London and lives down the road in Huntingdon.
    We both remember your mum and can’t remember why all of our family called your mum Bobo, obviously a name before our time. Came across a book by Pat Hanshaw who lived next door to us in Old Tower Buildings called, “All My Yesterdays”. Well worth reading as it covers our period of time in Wapping. You might try Amazon to find it.
    Do you remember Dave, Reggie and Mark Andrews who lived in the park keepers house at he bottom of Tench Street? I think its a cafe now.
    keep in touch

  191. Lee Staley permalink
    August 4, 2021

    Just finished ‘Wapping Conspiracy’ a good read. It was like home from home in some parts with Wapping High St, Town of Ramsgate, up and down Old and New stairs, river police. All in a stones throw of Tower Bldgs. Have tried getting the Hanshaw books, but not available these days. There was one offer but was overpriced.

  192. peter james dunn permalink
    August 17, 2021

    Lee, sister Pam was in Wapping recently and noticed that Old Tower Buildings was empty, so I phoned the letting agency and they said the whole lot was being refurbished and will be available in a couple of months at £750.00 per month.
    Was trying to work out where we kept the tin bath when we lived at number 12 and Chris thinks it was hung on the wall in the scullery. Where was your tin bath hung?

  193. Angela Webb permalink
    August 17, 2021

    Hi Lee and Peter, nice to hear your comments. Yes I read the Hanshaw book many years ago the 3 siblings Patrick John and Betty lived at No.19. Must say what nice neighbours we had back then. Another blogger to this Forum was a neighbour in Parry house was Peter Coxal. Yes I do recall the Andrew boys and their parents their mum was the Girl guide leader. They first lived in Willoughby House when they first arrived in Wapping. Where my family moved to when Parry house was up for modernisation, no more baths in the kitchen, Willoughby House we had a bathroom so luxurious, no tin baths for us, but we only had a bath once a week on Friday nights and the 3 of us used the same water, just topping it up with extra hot water.
    Peter nice to know Christine is doing well, the last time I saw her was many years ago at Grange road cemetery at Christmas time she had’t changed at all. My sister June moved out of London years ago she lives near Reading, the three of us see one another quite regularly.
    My mums name was Florence her nik name Bobo was given to her before I was born and never found out how it came about.
    If you recall neighbours of yours who lived in Old Tower buildings Pat and Phyllis Commons who still live in Wapping and Pat is often found on a Wapping Facebook.
    I have the book Nothing is Forever, it is a great read. It’s so nice to hear from you both recalling memories. Regards.

  194. peter james dunn permalink
    August 20, 2021

    This is a similar web site I came across about Wapping. Not sure if I remember Keith Houghton who lived in New Tower Buildings, but I seem to recall David Houghton. Check it out.

  195. peter james dunn permalink
    August 20, 2021

    Came across this on the internet;

    “Perhaps rather fittingly, there was one pub (The Turks Head Inn, now a café) that was permitted to serve the last quart of ale to condemned pirates on their final journey from the prison to the docks. For some of those convicted this may have helped to proverbially “take the edge off”.

    This was for condemned pirates who were taken to execution dock, probably The Town of Ramsgate pub.

  196. peter james dunn permalink
    August 20, 2021

    Came across this as well

  197. Lee permalink
    August 20, 2021

    Tin bath!! We all crossed the road and had ours in the Thames! We were on first name terms with the river police. Actually, our one hung in the loo somehow. Old Tower £750 a month? I’m coming home.

    Good to hear Pat and Phyllis are still in Wapping. Did say hello at St. Peter’s church for Ed.
    As for the Turks Head, it is a cafe now. We’ve had a breakfast there. ?

  198. Lee permalink
    August 21, 2021

    Keith Houghton lived above us on top floor. Even when he moved I still saw him here and there. I’m pretty sure him and David were cousins. David was still in Wapping in my teens at least. He was pals with Jim Brown (Parry I think) and Lenny Rands.

  199. peter james dunn permalink
    August 22, 2021

    a few other names to remember; barry thornton; david goddard; the duncombe family;
    father foizey; the gillmans (shop keepers); bertie tarr (shop keeper); wally marston: the culleys:
    lester and keith piggott: the pilch family; ian mackay; john sawyer;
    anthony pearson clarke (teacher); miss chilton (teacher); peter hearn; peter milligan:
    betty arundel; franice struce; susan smith;
    just to name a few.

  200. Lee Staley permalink
    August 27, 2021

    We had mum’s 60th do up the Highway. I think all Old Tower turned up from the past. Robert Hamberger and family, who I hadn’t seen since he left, the Struces, the Culley’s and more. Regards old names, Peter Hearn became a successful accountant, offices in trendy Wapping Wall. Forgot about the Pilch’s-Robert and Alan? Did bump into Barry some time back, Bonzo to me and you.

  201. peter james dunn permalink
    September 12, 2021

    From your last posting, I found Peter Hearns email address and sent him a message. Regretfully he did not respond. Life goes on.
    Something came up on twitter. Do you remember Johnny Ayris who played for West ham , a year older than me; 68.

  202. Jean permalink
    October 2, 2021

    I am related to the Insole family.
    My Mum was from Wapping. Her name was Bessie Bentley. Became Bessie Aust when she married.
    My aunt, Lil Bentley was the postmistress for a long time. My other aunt, Carrie, also had a shop in Wapping.
    My last address in Wapping was in Prusom Street. I left Wapping in 1962 when I got married.
    Anyone know of the Bentley family?

  203. Lee Staley permalink
    October 14, 2021

    Hi there, just did a cruise around Wapping and paused in Brewhouse Lane seeing your kitchen window and my front door. The ruins inbetween are now lawned. You would have thought the ruins next door to me would be a good piece of land to build on. Got up to Matilda House and who walked past me? It was Peter Hearn would you believe. Spun round and caught up and had a chat. Did old time name dropping and you were mentioned and I said you tried to make contact but with no luck. He said if not on his list it would go junk so he’ll check. It’s only been fifty years give or take! Still can’t believe the luck or timing of it with our recent words.
    Do remember J Ayris. Chopper Harris helped finish his career early if what you read is true.

  204. peter james dunn permalink
    November 10, 2021

    Just saw on the internet that they had a big unveiling of a new pub sign at Turners Old Star pub.
    I remember going there with Reggie Andrews for our first pint.(hated the taste). I was about 13 years old and Reggie was a year older. Landlord must have been desperate for customers.
    Glad to see you bumped into Peter Hearn. Do you know if he lives in Wapping?
    Regarding the lawns and the land next door to New Tower buildings, I saw an artist impression of a new block of flats that were due to be constructed there, but that was sometime ago. Makes sense to lay the lawns rather than waste the land. That was the site of the old primary school. My mum went to school there.

  205. Jean Mary Partleton permalink
    November 11, 2021

    After a long time, I have just read 2021 comments on the site. So many memories and so many names which I recalled. I expect you will all remember my Mum and Dad, Mr. and Mrs. Mills??? They would have nightmares over the rents being charged for New and Old Tower Buildings. I try to get to Wapping as often as I can, I only live in Stepney, but what with the lock downs etc. and the trains, travelling hasn’t been easy. My last visit was back in September and I have some photos if anyone is interested, of Wapping Lane, including the renamed White Swan, Old and New Tower flats. Why the White Swan is now The Dockers Inn is anyone’s guess. Usually visit the Turk’s Head for a coffee and on my last visit, took a friend with me who was very interested to see Wapping. Most of you will remember my brother, Eddie. I’m off to see him soon (first time for almost two years because of Covid). He moved to Oxfordshire some time ago, and keeps fairly well. The http://www.mernick web site belongs to Philip Mernick who runs the East London History Society, hopefully meetings will start again soon and the magazine which is published is available on-line and worth a read.

    Good to see you are all well. Keep the information coming.


  206. Michelle permalink
    March 8, 2022

    Hello all, So great to see this page of such a remarkable historian filling with people connecting and reminiscing! What a great legacy.

    I am also ex Wapping (Garnet Street) but later than most of you. I wondered if anyone was in Wapping during the Print Strike 86/87? I would love to hear from anyone that lived here and may have memories or pictures to share, I am trying to collect information about how the dispute affected the residents – all the official records seem to omit the experience of being under siege (or not). Thanks!

  207. Reginald Andrew permalink
    April 24, 2022

    Hi All
    I’m one of Andrew Family David Reg and Mark .
    We lived in The Turks Head Dad Dave was the park keeper Mum Milly also worked at Saint Peters
    School, Great place to grow up in.
    So many names from living there .
    Webb family lovely girl’s Peter Dunn, Peter Hearn, Peter Milligan ,Glenda Munns ,all our friends
    at St PETERS church
    Regards Reg

  208. Cormac Mac Eochaidh permalink
    April 28, 2022

    Hello Michelle, I’m also trying to collect information on how the strikes affected locals for a news article. Have you managed to find anything?

  209. peter james dunn permalink
    May 3, 2022


    Great to see you on this forum. How are Dave and Mark doing, also Pat and Pat? Don’t know Mark’s wife name. Was in touch with Lee Staley for a while, so hope to hear from him again.
    Me and Elaine live in Huntingdon, near Cambridge, so don’t venture into Wapping anymore. Too much hassle trying to park. Still miss Wapping.
    Keep in touch

  210. Lee Staley permalink
    May 9, 2022

    It’s been a while but here we go again. Hope all is well at your end Pete, as it is here. You asked where Peter lived and he’s at Wapping High St. (Matilda end) and Blackheath. Go on to YouTube and enter Wapping E1 and you should get parts 1 to 6. Part 3 shows a pic in St. Peter’s school with father Foizey and Deryck Webber along with a young Mark Andrews in full dress! Along with that site,
    ‘London Districts’ may show up, which includes Wapping, all memory lane stuff. ?

  211. peter james dunn permalink
    May 14, 2022

    Interesting to see the You Tube clip. I’ve been collecting old photos from Wapping for years, so i had seen quite a few before and some that I have.
    Came across a site called Britain From Above which are aerial photo’s taken over Wapping in 1922. There are quite few to look at. see the link below

  212. Michelle permalink
    May 29, 2022

    Hi Cormac MacEochaidh – yes and no,lots kof people have moved on and sadly died out, and a few others just dont see it as a big deal due to the other things happening at the time although the unions are really helpful. Happy to help you with any of my research to date, do you think you could help me. I am hitting a brick wall with the police – any traction there for you? Obviously they were day to day on the street and also on the sat protests, but there is very little in the archive and some really interesting areas I would like to develop regarding female riot officers at the time. I have some thoughts and links and research I would be happy to talk to you about, but would love access to some ex policemen. Do you have any links in that direction?

  213. Ray Chusonis permalink
    November 26, 2022

    I am looking for information regarding Eddie Chusonis (Dead end Kids) and family or friends please!

    I am his Nephew, Ray, my father is his brother Joseph, who’s sadly passed away in 1974, when I was 8yrs old, so was never able to get to know more about his side of the family, as contact was not what it is these days, and some family members moved abroad, and as I was young, and wasn’t in a position to maintain contact etc, and as years went by names changed, due to marriage etc!
    My mother Gladys (nee Vincent) was the youngest of 11, so a lot of her family were removed from me, age wise, and again contact was lost over the years, she too is now deceased, having passed away in 2014.

    So, I wonder, if anyone can give me any information about the Chusonis family, many years ago, in the east end, or indeed anyone who knows themselves to be related to those mentioned!?

    Any information, however minor, or seemingly of little interest would be gratefully received, and many thanks in advance!

    Ray Chusonis.

  214. Ray Chusonis permalink
    November 26, 2022

    To clarify my previous request regarding information about Eddie Chusonis.

    I omitted to say that I am aware of Joan Mays
    omment of April 29th 2020, as we became aware of our links approx 6 years ago, after Joan “found” me online, and that we are in fact half siblings, Joan was my father’s daughter, born to his first wife Ellen Hawley.
    She also mentioned my aunt, Peggy Duggan, and as Joan rightly says, all of that is a “whole other story!”

    Thank again, Ray.

  215. peter james dunn permalink
    January 31, 2023

    Trying to find some information. Wapping Lane in the 60’s and 70’s had various shops including Harry French, John Gillman and Bertie Tarr, among others. What shop was between the chip shop and the bakers?

  216. Lee Staley permalink
    January 31, 2023

    Hi there. Wilson’s the butcher

  217. Lee Staley permalink
    January 31, 2023

    That was the 60’s and I think it changed in 70’s

  218. peter james dunn permalink
    February 1, 2023

    was there two butchers in Wapping? I can remember the one a couple of shops up from Harry French?

  219. peter james dunn permalink
    February 2, 2023

    Lee, you are right. Sister Christine just phoned to confirm your answer

  220. Lee Staley permalink
    February 7, 2023

    The other butcher is Hussey which is still there

  221. pete dunn permalink
    February 8, 2023

    Try this site. You will be amazed at how many pubs there were in Wapping.
    Some pub crawl!!!!

  222. peter james dunn permalink
    February 12, 2023

    Lee, do you remember the cafe at the top of brewhouse lane with the mad dog?

  223. Lee Staley permalink
    February 17, 2023

    Yep, it was a big horrible black thing that growled and barked at passers by i.e. our little mob! The bloke who had it seemed grumpy all the time. It was a coach cafe I think, but it felt like a pub where you had to be an adult to get in! Can’t remember venturing up those stairs.

  224. peter james dunn permalink
    March 30, 2023

    Cafe at Brewhouse Lane and Tower buildings

  225. Lee Staley permalink
    April 7, 2023

    Just realised now seeing Brewhouse Lane pic, that the coach cafe I spoke of was placed at the river park. (I think!) along Reardon Path. Correct if wrong

  226. peter james dunn permalink
    April 8, 2023

    yes, it was Reardon Path. Italian restaurant now.

  227. Stephen Donovan permalink
    April 22, 2023

    I was born in Shadwell Gardens in 1952, to Wapping parents [“Dunuvans” and Barretts].
    Baptised at St Patricks, we moved closer to the border [the Highway] in Solander Gardens in 1956.
    And though I went to SMSM school, I was a frequent visitor to Wapping to see relations – which sometimes meant standing outside the Cuckoo with a lemonade.

    I played football against boys like Johnny Ayris and “Bootsy” Mills, but something has bugged me for more than half a century, which I would like to get off my chest – and also plead for absolution from those who of you that are left.

    Every year during the first week of November .. mea culpa .. we used to nick your wood.

  228. peter james dunn permalink
    April 22, 2023

    often wondered where all that firewood went. we used to have a bonfire at old tower buildings, but always managed to have enough firewood.

  229. Stephen Donovan permalink
    April 22, 2023

    Tower Buildings, too deep into enemy territory .. with a chance of our raiding party being ambushed on the way back.
    Riverside, on the other hand ..
    in fact I remember a pitched battle taking place on the waste ground by Ring House, when an unruly ‘mob’ – that’s the only way to describe ’em – came marching up New Gravel Lane to retake the spoils.
    Among others there were Ransoms, Exleys, Burns’ etc, as stones, bricks and bottles were propelled across the divide. I started using Old Gravel after that.
    Being 7 or 8, that would have been around 1960.

  230. peter james dunn permalink
    May 25, 2023

    Being plagued with kids knocking on the door and running away, (did the same when we were kids in Wapping). We called it “knock down ginger”. Did anyone else call it the same?

  231. Anita Quirk (nee Platt) permalink
    May 25, 2023

    I’ll not be a lot of use to people asking questions but my roots are in Wapping. My Great Grandmother Mrs Platt was the caretaker at Raines Mansions – a formidable character who kept order from what I understand – around the 1920s when my nan met my grandad at Lyons Tea Shop in their Sunday best. He kept putting his hot teaspoon on her hand and she said if he did it again she’d tip the tea over his head. He did so she did. He came round later for her to apologise to him!
    They ended up getting married and lived in Raines Mansions until the late 50s or so after which they moved to the Isle of Wight. He was the son of the caretaker, Mrs Platt – he was Harold Platt and my nan was Annie Florence Lillian Willis born 1901 and 1902 respectively. My nan was very poor and her dad was an Irishman who worked in the iron foundry and spent all the wages on beer unless my nan accosted him on the way to the pub and got it off him. He used to call my nan ‘Mick’. She told me stories of being ‘shown an orange Christmas’ – so rare getting to see one was the treat not that she got to eat it. Piercing her ears whilst looking at her reflection in a piece of glass with a needle she sterilised in the fire. How her mum had triplets and twins all of whom died in infancy and how she stayed off school to nurse them. She died in her 80s with the scar from where they’d done a tracheotomy to save her life when she contracted diptheria. She recalls not being let into school on account of not having any shoes and being jealous of the Barnardoes boys who had got shoes. She was illiterate and Grandad had to teach her to sign her name so she could sign the marriage certificate. Grandad Harold Platt was a foreman in the Spice Wharves I think. He was in the Home Guard during WWII as he was too old to serve and/or had medical reasons. Nannie’s surviving siblings were Edith, Kit, Charlie. Charlie was the eldest and is buried in France – died in WWI. Grandad had siblings too but I don’t remember names – Percy Platt was one. Nan and grandad had two boys Reggie and Brian. Brian was my dad and was always getting into trouble. Was going to parachute off the top of Raines Mansion using a sheet as an example. They both got into Raines School (Grammer). Reggie married Jeannie Fredericks (both born in the 30s) – I think the Fredericks lived in Stepney but Jeannie and Reggie moved in with my Nan and Grandad in Raines Mansions when they were first married, moving out to Herts – Cuffley in 1958. Jeannie and Reggie became my legal guardian in 1967 when my parents’ marriage broke up. Jeannine is the last survivor of 13. Her sisters used to live in Tower Hamlets with her parents til they died. Another sister lived in Stepney until the 90s. Another in Rotherhithe. I know I must have had relatives in the area but Reggie died in ’76 when I was 14 and I didn’t ask enough questions obviously! Anyway if any of these names ring a bell with anyone I’m glad I put my pennyworth in and if not I hope you enjoyed some of the stories.

  232. Michelle permalink
    June 3, 2023

    Hi All. I am working on an academic study (University of Birmingham history) into Wapping 1960s to 1990s and really keen to talk to people around at the time. It is looking at how the massive changes that gripped the country played out in this geographical space.

    I am a former Wapping resident and was really keen for people’s memories to be captured as there seems to be so much written about Wapping and the docklands by people who have never been.

    My email is

    It would be amazing to hear from you. Especially as I am REALLY struggling with tracking some of the changes as places were demolished and rebuilt.

  233. peter james dunn permalink
    July 8, 2023

    Lee, this is the sketch I came across with the construction of new flats between Old and New Tower buildings
    To be called Wapping Rose Garden.
    Looks well cramped!Aunpa3mwXkiahjM1wHsxT03-kNRm?e=d2cgob

  234. Lee Staley permalink
    July 12, 2023

    Looks like it will right angle from your block through the garages, if still there, and might stop in our yard if not before. Does seem a bit of a squeeze, unless the park boundary gets shoved back. Speaking of parks, there are some good pics that you sent along as well, showing the area before the park was built. All flat and concrete
    We are now grandparents! Becky and Lee had a boy in August and all’s well with them.

  235. peter james dunn permalink
    July 13, 2023

    I have been in touch via email with Michelle, (noted further up this page), as she is doing an academic study, and she wants to discuss Wapping in the 60’s. We are going to undertake a “zoom” call. I’ll let you know how we get on.

    Glad you liked the pictures.

    Congratulations on becoming grand parents, and glad to hear they are all doing well.

  236. Lee Staley permalink
    August 25, 2023

    Going back to bonfire wood raiding, the main culprit was Jimmy Flint and co. After Old Tower kept getting raided, we even used the New Tower yard for safekeeping, but that got done as well. Even if any of us were in or around the yard, they turned up, you’d get a nod from them as we all knew each other and off they went with the wood.

  237. B Marston permalink
    October 29, 2023

    My Family are the Marstons lived near Wapping old stars they were 7 brothers and sisters Charlie worked security on the docks and from what i know my grandfather was a watchmen i know its a long shot but looking for a bit of info if possible or anyone remembers

  238. peter james dunn permalink
    December 17, 2023

    i knew Wally Marston in the 60’s, he used to serve on the altar at st peters church. not sure if he was part of your family. think he had a son called alan

  239. Sarah Crawford nee Gillman permalink
    January 20, 2024

    Hello to so many of you. I’ve literally come across this and it’s 2am so will make it short and post more tomorrow.

    My grandparents Lil & John Gillman owned the grocers. Omg I had such a wonderful time there as a little girl. I used to fill the window with warm bread, stand on the edge and fill up the cigarettes. Grandad boiled his own ham, ground coffee, you can imagine the smell.

    My dad Michael was the eldest and Paul was my uncle. Sadly he became an alcoholic and was well known.

    I am desperate to find photos of the shop as ours were lost over time.

    Lilly my “grandmother” which I couldn’t say when I was young, so called her Marma, everyone called her her Marma from then on.
    I used to play knock down ginger, fun times.

    My grandparents lived in Welsh House on the corner by the bread shop and moved to 15 Jackman House on 12th October 1969 because they had a toilet and a bathroom. My mum and dad were helping and my mum went into labour ! I was Christened in St Peter’s.

    I remember the man that used to sharpen knives, fish man selling shrimps and prawns by the pint. The man that walked around pretending to read but his book was upside down.

    Paddling in the shallow pool in the park, wheeling Marma around in her wheel chair.

    We lived in Kent nr Rochester. Dad worked in the docks.

    I remember all the old dears coming into the shop. They often gave me a penny.

    The chap the owns Wapping Wines has a photo of the shop but won’t let me get a copy for some reason.

    My dad had a friend Brian. When got home from school his mum and dad had moved and forgot to tell him.

    My happiest memories are spending time with Marma.

    I’d love to hear from anyone that knew my grandparents.

    She used to organise the Old Boys Dinners, it was a relationship between Radley College and Wapping’s Cricketers/St Peter’s

    Marma was the 11th of 11 children. Her maiden name was Boorman.

    Ok I must get some sleep. Type again hopefully tomorrow.

  240. peter james dunn permalink
    January 20, 2024

    my mother used to work part time in Gillmans shop, and I do remember her having a friend called Bobo Boorman, her real name being Florence.

  241. Kathy Anstey (nee Doran) permalink
    January 27, 2024

    Responding to Sandy Constable – only 3 years late!

    My grandmother was Maud Hobbs. She was born in 1899 in Poplar but quickly moved with her family to Wapping. At the time my father was born in 1920 she was living at The Gatehouse Queen’s Head Alley with her father Walter James Hobbs. She was Maud Doran by now.

    My Dad lived there for 5 or 6 years. The properties were demolished to make way for the LCC flats which are on Reardon Path now. My maternal grandmother and great aunt later lived in Willoughby House. Maud and her husband and children moved to Beechey House.

    My Dad told a tale of a tunnel from the Gatehouse which he liked to believe went to the Tower of London! I found an old map showing Queen’s Head Alley in this article

    I was born in 1956 and for my first 3 years we lived in Watts Street buildings. We then moved to Essex and later to Merseyside where I still live

    Like your family my grandparents were mixed rc and cofe. My grandfather Maud’s husband was James Doran (inexplicably known as Bob). Maud’s sister Clara became Blewett on marriage and my Dad was fond of his Blewett cousins.

    The other name you mention is O’Brien. My mother was born Kathleen Nicholls. Her grandmother was Jane Walker who had a sister Margaret who became Margaret O’Brien on marriage. Old Aunt Mag as we knew her also lived in Watts Street Buildings in the 50’s/60’s.

    Happy to share any other information if helpful

  242. Angela Webb permalink
    March 12, 2024

    Hi Sarah Crawford nee Gillman, Your grandmother was my mums aunt, my mum’s name before marriage was Boorman, which I think was your nan’s single name, my mums name wasFlorence but was know as Bobo. I too remember aunty Lil and uncle John because I lived in Wapping until 1973. I also remember your dad Michael and Paul my mum went to Michael’s wedding, and Paul often had a pint with my dad in the cuckoo. Unfortunately don’t have any pics of the shop but recall the set out of it. One of Lils nephew’s Bert named after his dad Albert Boorman once went to the old boys dinner in St.Peters school.
    Shame I left it so late to look back at this forum., but hope you read theses comment re the Boorman’s.

  243. Claire Barnes permalink
    March 29, 2024

    My Grandmother Joyce Hailstone (nee Platt) had relations that lived inRaines mansions. Berry I believe was the surname. She now lives in Rochester Kent at the grand age of 98.

  244. Cathy malone permalink
    April 1, 2024

    This is a reply for Ray Chusonis asking for information on the Chusonis family. My aunt was Percy Duggan (my mum was Eileen Duggan) who was married to Eddie Chusonis, I remember his family his aunts Margaret, Winney and Lil and his dad Joe also his Nan and grandad the families had lots of parties together at my nans house where Peggy and Eddie lived next to the Town of Ramsgate, I live near Tunbridge Wells now and his aunt Winney ‘s family who married John Bullman live down here too, his aunt Margaret moved with her husband Ted to America many years ago. I also remember Joan Mays brother Kenny who drowned down the shore where Smiths restaurant is now.built. (It used to be open because it was a bomb site then) Sister Mary one be of the Nuns from St Patricks took our class to see poor Kenny’s body and I remember his poor mother sitting there. Imagine taking 8,9 and 10 years olds to do that now

  245. peter james dunn permalink
    April 14, 2024

    Lee. I knew that Old and New Tower buildings were grade 2 listed but I just found out that that the streetlight at the top of Brewhouse Lane was also grade 2 listed

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