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Chris Miles’ East End

August 19, 2019
by the gentle author

Chris Miles contacted me from Vancouver Island, where he describes himself as a Londoner in exile. ‘In the early seventies, I lived as a recently-graduated student in the East End, firstly on Grove Rd and then on Lauriston Rd above a supermarket,’ he explained and sent me his splendid photographs. Most were taken around Bethnal Green, Roman Rd and Mile End, and Chris & I welcome identification of precise locations from eagle-eyed readers.

George Davis is Innocent, Mile End Rd

Linda ‘n Laura

Getting a loaf, Stepney Green

S Kornbloom, Newsagent & Confectioner, Jubilee St

Corner Shop Groceries & Provisions, Stepney Way

Ronchetti’s Cafe, Piano’s & Kitchen Chairs Wanted

Snacks & Grills

The Bell Dining Rooms, Lot 63 Buildings at back

Leslies Restaurant, Fresh Up with your Meal

Harry’s Cafe, Teas & Snacks, Breakfasts & Dinners

Valente’s Cafe, Hackney Rd

Cafe Restaurant


Station Cafe

Fish Bar

J Kelly, No Prams or Trollie’s, Please

G Kelly

Charlie & Mick’s Cafe

Menu at Charlie & Mick’s Cafe

John Pelican

Joe’s Saloon – ‘We cater for long and short hair styles’

M Evans & Sons, Garn Dairy

Marion’s, Blouses, Trouser Suits, Smock Dresses, Ect.

Sunset Stores

N Berg, Watch & Clock Repairs

S Grant, High Class Tailor, Seamens Outfitter

Littlewood Brothers Ltd, Domestic Stores, Grocery & Hardware

J Galley & Sons, Established 1901

Henry Freund & Son, Established 1837

Rito for Better Roof Repairs

Common Market NO

Alan Enterprises Ltd, L & R Ostroff Ltd, Brick Lane

Photographs copyright © Chris Miles

You may also like to take a look at

John Claridge’s Cafe Society

Tony Hall at the Shops

Alan Dein’s Shopfronts

24 Responses leave one →
  1. Colin Lock permalink
    August 19, 2019

    Love the photos of the old cafes which are a rarity these days.

  2. Jill Wilson permalink
    August 19, 2019

    More characterful shops and cafes!

    And these photos bear witness to Robert Elms’s memory of London in the early seventies as being a city still patched with corrugated iron panels everywhere.

  3. August 19, 2019

    J Galley & Sons was in Roman Road.

  4. Eve McBride permalink
    August 19, 2019

    Love these photos of the area that I grew up in. G Kelly’s Pie and Mash shop was in Roman Road Market. I had a Saturday job working for Lou Marks whose haberdashery and fabric stall stood directly outside on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Lou came from Mile End and was a kind, gentle man who had his stall for many years right up to his death in 1991/2. I remember the aromas of the cooking wafting out on to the pavement and the constant stream of customers. Happy days!

  5. August 19, 2019

    Wonderful photos of time passed.
    G Davis is innocent is outside Stepney Green Tube Station.
    ‘No to Common Market’ is I think Ernest Street. The MP Mick Makardo’s aunt
    lived in the house to the right before it was demolished.

  6. Chris Dixon permalink
    August 19, 2019

    M. Evans ‘Garn Dairy’ was situated in Globe Road, Bethnal Green, between Roman Road and Kirkwall Place. We used the shop regularly when we lived in nearby Hartley Street. The building was still there when I last visited the area a couple of years ago.

    J. Galley and Sons hardware shop was in Roman Road, not far from the junction with Grove Road. I still have a manhole cover bearing the shop’s name which my parents brought from our house in Bethnal Green as a ‘souvenir’ when we moved from there in 1973. The manhole cover has been blackleaded and is currently displayed in my fireplace!

  7. Ken Perkins permalink
    August 19, 2019

    The photo George Davis is Innocent, Mile End Rd I would guess was taken just outside Stepney Green Station.

  8. Philip Marriage permalink
    August 19, 2019

    What wonderful shop signage typography – a lovely record – more please.

  9. August 19, 2019

    The three girls in the second photograph are so very “seventies”, the hair, the platform shoes. I suddenly saw myself at eighteen… Great pictures, please tell Chris Miles.

  10. Bernie permalink
    August 19, 2019

    The Valente’s cafe frontage is in an Art Deco style seemingly shared with many other, similar establishments. Did one particular shopfitter offer this format? I wonder who it was.

    The Jubilee St image prompts this question: Does any reader have an image of similar houses around the corner in Smithy or Lindley streets (where my ancestors lived until 1937)?


  11. Pamela Traves permalink
    August 19, 2019

    These Pictures are a Sweet Treat. I wonder if any of them are still standing?

  12. Gary Arber permalink
    August 19, 2019

    N. Berg was a watch repairer at 385 Roman Road, E3. When he was open he could be seen in the right hand window at his work bench repairing watches, the bench was in the window so that he had maximum light. The shop door was locked and Mrs Berg would open the door to deal with customers. Mr berg was an expert , this was in the days of wind-up watches, he repaired two watches for me and they kept on working perfectly.
    J. Galley & Sons was at 415 Roman Road, a few doors past Mr. Berg. The original business was started by Henry Freund in 1837, the shop was taken over by J.Galley in 1901, when he died his children Ebeneza and Ethel took over the shop, Tools sold by Galleys were always top quality,, I still have many tools bought there in use in my workshop at home.

  13. Paul Loften permalink
    August 19, 2019

    I miss my pay packet with the crisp new five pound notes inside the envelope with the LV’s . There was a fair old trade going on in Luncheon Vouchers and they were taken as regular currency in some places. You could buy a holiday and furnish your home with LV’s and a thousand books of Green Shied Stamps ! Only the very hungry used them for lunch at the cafe.

  14. DAVID LAWSON permalink
    August 19, 2019

    These photos are wonderfully evocative – How different from Vancouver Island!

    If Chris has any more I would love to see them.

  15. Amanda permalink
    August 19, 2019

    Very nostalgic photos and equally enjoyable are everyones’s detailed anecdotes about them.
    My favourite cosy café front is VALENTE – I imagine going in for roast lunch and not wanting to return to work.

    l liked seeing the old style taxi cab’s bottom peeping out of the arch next to SNACKS & GRILLS while the driver had lunch.

    J KELLY had such an expensive, ritzy silvery + mosaic façade, no wonder he discouraged prams & trollies.

    MARION was keeping up with 70s fashion with her sign boards progressing from smock tops to the later tunic tops.

    Likewise JOE in his saloon indicated he wasn’t averse to tackling the newer longer heads of hair.

    Most curious was DINKI’E with an apostrophe. Just maybe the owner had written DINKIE’S on a piece of paper for the signwriter. Or in another lingo it is perfectly in order.

    Thanks GA, Chris Miles and all the readers’ recollections of the shopkeepers, the use of LVs and souvenir manhole covers.
    A great start to any day.

  16. Peter Wheeler permalink
    August 19, 2019

    Shades of “Goodnight Sweetheart”
    Oh and by the way, George Davis wasn’t innocent was he?

  17. Patrick permalink
    August 19, 2019

    ‘Corner Shop, Groceries And Provisions’ in Stepney Way was on the corner with Jubilee St, opposite Tadmans. We all knew the shop as ‘Sadie’s’ after the lady who ran it.

  18. Patrick permalink
    August 19, 2019

    As can be seen from the picture of ‘S Kornbloom’, that part of Jubilee St was derelict at the time, and the Council sold off the ruined houses for, I think, a couple of hundred pounds each. I saw today that one of those houses is currently for sale for £1.6 million.

  19. August 20, 2019

    Thanks so much to everyone that has added details and recollections to these pictures. They become so much more when they are given a context and some of my memories of taking them are frankly a bit hazy now!

    I wish there were a lot more and I’m slowly sorting through boxes of old negatives but this is certainly the core of the cafes project. I have another collection of Notting Hill Carnival photographs from around the same period and they can be found in the People and Places section of my website at

    If anyone would like a digital copy of any one of the images please send me an email and I’d be happy to send a file.

    Special thanks as always to The Gentle Author for all that this site does to make connections and enhance community.


  20. August 20, 2019

    The J Kelly pie and mash shop was on Roman Road near the corner of Usk Street. We used to stay with my nan during the school holidays and have vivid memories of being taken there for lunch by her. “Pie and mash twelve times, please!”

  21. Kim Rennie permalink
    August 20, 2019

    J Kelly’s was 150 Roman Road

  22. Justin permalink
    August 20, 2019

    L & R Ostroff were furniture makers at 28 Columbia Rd. They incorporated in 1943 and were listed as being in compulsory liquidation in 1993. The site is now an estate.

  23. Richard permalink
    August 21, 2019

    Is the Davies shop a Welsh Dairy? Garn is a Welsh word but I don’t know how the meaning fits.

  24. Paul New permalink
    July 12, 2020

    Our family once owned the Littlewood bros Ltd hardware stores in London from approx 1850-1980s. The last family member with the Littlewood surname passed away in May 2020. We have come across a number of journals and accounts from 1908 and a few photos of other stores in London. During the 1970-1980s business took a turn for the worse With bigger name DIY stores cropping up and the remaining 6 or so Littlewood stores were sold to Robert Dyas Ltd.

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