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In Old Stepney

October 12, 2019
by the gentle author

Albert Gardens

In spite of the bombing, the slum clearances and redevelopments, the East End is still with us. In Stepney, there is an entire quarter of early nineteenth century terraces and squares that have survived the changes of the twentieth century. They are magnificent examples of the human quality of streetscape cherished by East Enders and also plangent reminders of what has been lost.

The Peacock, Aylward St

Corner of Antil Terrace and Senrab St

Corner of Antil Terrace and Dunelm St

Corner of Dunelm St


Senrab St

Who will rescue The Royal Duke, 474 Commercial Rd, designed by W.E. Williams, 1879?

Shepherd Boy in Albert Gardens, dated 1903, “Fonderies d’art du Val D’Orne, Paris”

In Albert Gardens

South East corner of Albert Gardens

North West corner of Albert Gardens

South East corner of Arbour Sq

In Arbour Sq Gardens

South West corner of Arbour Sq

North West corner of Arbour Sq

Terrace in East Arbour St

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Fred Wright, Head Messenger

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The Lost Squares Of Stepney

15 Responses leave one →
  1. Jim McDermott permalink
    October 12, 2019

    Ah, to have bought one of those beautiful houses in Albert Gardens or Arbour Square back in the 70s, when the then-unfashionable postcode made them relatively affordable.

  2. October 12, 2019

    Great that these beautiful buildings have not been destroyed in the name of progress, but I wonder how many are inhabited by Stepney people rather than wealthy incomers!

  3. Andrew Sinclair permalink
    October 12, 2019

    Beautiful buildings – good to see that not all of the old East End has disappeared….

  4. Jillian Foley permalink
    October 12, 2019

    What beautiful photos of such lovely houses . They remind me of my grandmother’s house in Union Square, Islington, and my other grandmother’s house in Alwyne Villas, Canonbury. My sister and myself used to stay with them in the 50’s when we lived in Palmers Green. How I wish I was that Lottery winner last week – I would save the Royal Duke – wishful thinking!

  5. Tanya reynolds permalink
    October 12, 2019

    Lovely images Gentle Author.
    My family lived in and ran the Royal Duke pub during the late 70s and early 80s.
    My aunt was the publican. Sadly it was converted to a shap shortly after she left and the beautiful fittings were stripped out and skipped!

  6. October 12, 2019

    Those terraces, surrounding the spacious Albert Gardens, look lovely. Was it a wealthy part of Old Stepney back in the day? Were Arbour Sq Gardens locked to all outsiders, with only residents having a key?

  7. October 12, 2019

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, what a charming area of London Albert Gardens in Stepney is! Just wondering, are these “terrace” units owned individually? Must be high rent, eh?

    Also had to look up “plangent” as in “plangent reminders of what has been lost.” Defined as a “deep, low sound expressing sadness.”

    Great pics of the neighborhood also …

  8. Paul Loften permalink
    October 12, 2019

    Thank you for the photos! What great work to have captured those familiar streets and squares in Autumn whilst the fallen golden leaves give the scene a sense of timeless tranquility and beauty . Sadly I think there is little hope for the Royal Duke as I cannot see another pub opening there.

  9. Jill Wilson permalink
    October 12, 2019

    I remember having an “Oh Wow!” moment the first time I came across Albert Gardens – what a lovely example of a classic London Square!

  10. Terry Musk permalink
    October 12, 2019

    Beautiful photographs. So much lovely architecture was lost in the sixties and seventies.
    The character of some areas was taken away replaced with faceless high rise blocks of flats.
    It is great to see how with thought Stepney can look

  11. Saba permalink
    October 12, 2019

    I enjoy the TV show named “Call the Midwife.” Can anyone tell me where — in what section — the street scenes are filmed?

  12. Laurent Beaulieu permalink
    October 12, 2019

    An area of London I do not know very well. thank you for the photos.

  13. Ally permalink
    October 12, 2019

    I used to live on Senrab Street for 3 happy years. Good memories of that area!

  14. October 14, 2019

    “Senrab” is an odd name for a street; I wonder if it was built by a Mr Barnes.

  15. Margaret Mcdermott permalink
    November 2, 2019

    One of my best friends came from Stepney.His dad was a docker ie someone who unloaded freight from the ships.They used a big metal hook to grab the bales.When his dad died my friend kept it.His granddaughter has it now.It’s not only the rich who have heirlooms.

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