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Chris Miles’ East End

August 10, 2022
by the gentle author

Tickets are available for my tour from next Saturday



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

22 Responses leave one →
  1. Barry E J Smith permalink
    August 10, 2022

    J. Galley & sons was in Roman Road

  2. Cherub permalink
    August 10, 2022

    It looks as if lots of redevelopment was coming at the time these photos were taken, the number of premises closed or boarded up. Progress as they say. My husband was an undergraduate at Queen Mary College, Mile End in the 70s and might remember East London looking like this. I went to college there much later in the early 90s and the landscape had changed with modern college faculties, newer housing etc.

  3. August 10, 2022

    Each of the small shops once represented “the whole world” for the owner. The reasons why they went bankrupt are different. History repeats itself today: an infinite number of special little shops are going down because of the so-called “pandemic”…

    Love & Peace

  4. Sue permalink
    August 10, 2022

    What a wonderful selection of photographs. So many cafes back then.

  5. Kim Rennie permalink
    August 10, 2022

    Peter Pan is Barking Road, East Ham. G. Kelly is Roman Road, Bow.

  6. Linda Granfield permalink
    August 10, 2022

    The Tate has a “J. Galley” photo from the 1940s–they don’t know the street, either.

    Thanks to Barry Smith above for giving the Roman Road location. I checked out ‘Henry Freund & Co’ wholesales retail ironmongers & manufacturers agents in the 1891 Kelly’s Post Office London Directory. Found on page 977. There were five locations and none were numbered 415.
    BUT Barry has Roman Road–and there was a branch at 235 Roman Road in 1891.
    Perhaps street re-numbering? Or Galley found a new RRd location when he took over the business in 1901?
    Great photos that lead to sleuthing early on a Canadian morning. (Vancouver Island–beautiful place, Chris. Lucky you!)

  7. Andy permalink
    August 10, 2022

    Enough to make you cry.
    It is of a world where you could go in for a good chat and they were like family.

    Often on the tick.
    I shall never forget the Jewish printer who rang his toll, gave me a shilling, told me to get a bag of chips, and think about getting a job in an office and see th3bold Social Security to get me one,and write my poems on the side.

    Where are those kind of people now?

  8. paul loften permalink
    August 10, 2022

    Thank you and Chris for these wonderful photos. I know the area so well. I used to wait at the bus stop near the bridge at the Cambridge Heath end of Hackney Road for the bus home from school in the 60’s. Sadly I can’t help you identify any of the precise locations . It has changed so much.
    all I can say with certainty is that the photo showing the “Common Market NO” sign wasn’t taken in Brussels

  9. Mark permalink
    August 10, 2022

    Smashing pics!
    Proper eateries selling fair priced proper grub.
    These places didn’t go out of business because of a pandemic, then or now, it’s the cost of living crisis, perpetuated by consecutive Tory governments. Vote conservative! We don’t care!

  10. Kim Rennie permalink
    August 10, 2022

    Rochetti’s cafe: 6 London Road SE1. J Kelly, N Berg, J Galley – all Roman Road E2 or E3.

  11. August 10, 2022

    John Pelican. What an elegant sign! And I love the name… I’d like to use it in a story.

    Had to laugh about Paul Loften’s comment above, regarding ‘Common Market NO.’ But the photo makes me feel melancholy… those were once lovely, proud little houses. I suppose there’s an ugly tower block there today.

  12. simon davies-hall permalink
    August 10, 2022

    this is a hell of a find. wonderful. cheers to you both.

  13. simon davies-hall permalink
    August 10, 2022

    a photo of j kelly by tony bock in 1973 states bethnal green road.

  14. simon davies-hall permalink
    August 10, 2022

    the n berg building is still there for all to see on googlemaps. as stated, bow / roman road

  15. simon davies-hall permalink
    August 10, 2022

    G Kelly. That is not the one on roman roman road. this one is on bethnal green road

  16. August 10, 2022

    It’s great to see these images posted here. I took them in the mid 70s when I was living at 195 Grove Road, next door to what would temporarily become Rachel Whiteread’s famous House sculpture.

    The J. Galley and Sons property was at 415 Roman Road which is now the site of the Best Food Centre. If you look carefully on Google street view at the facade above the new frontage you can match some of the architectural details.

    It’s great to have people’s recollections and input about the locations and significance of the buildings, particularly since I took no notes at the time myself!! If you search the Spitalfields Life blog site for my name you will find some previous occasions when these images have been posted and there is a wealth of information in the comments section of those posts.

    Cafe Royal Books published a small photozine of these images a few years ago and I believe there are still copies available. If it’s ok to post the link then here it is

    Thanks as always to the fantastic Gentle Author for the vision and work involved in creating this wonderful archive of East End culture.


  17. Gee permalink
    August 10, 2022

    I love the old fashioned saw sign hanging on the front of Henry Freund & Son ….. probably from when it was first established in the early 1800s and most people couldn’t read. Great photos Chris.

  18. Lulu mckenzie permalink
    August 11, 2022

    The first photo of Peter Pans store and The Pie and Mash shop is in East Indua Dock Road in Poplar .I remember them well .

  19. John Campbell permalink
    August 11, 2022

    Thanks to Chris for making these available. Amazing images of streets I remember well.

  20. simon davies-hall permalink
    August 11, 2022

    ‘fish bar’ confirmed as globe road by a lady who used to use it

  21. Diane permalink
    August 12, 2022

    Fabulous photos – thank you.

  22. Marcia Howard permalink
    August 23, 2022

    More evocative images. Loved ’em

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