Outside 405 Mile End Rd, London E3 4PB
My circular guided walk Vanished Without Trace: Mile End next runs on Sat 24th June at 11.00. The walk starts on the opposite side of the road to Mile End Station.
This walk is called Vanished Without Trace because if you look around you today you would not see the arts and crafts jewellery workshop, the boxing ring, the three cinemas, or the trade union HQ. German bombing in WW2 reduced once familiar landmarks to rubble. Here’s an evocative quote from Alan Grayson’s novel, Mile End: “The All Clear sounded as we sailed silently past the traffic light at Burdett Road [on a trolley bus], where of the old La Bohéme cinema only scarred and burned walls now remained – no roof, not even doors!”
I’ve done a huge amount of research using six different archives to unearth Mile End’s hidden past. There were some very talented people working around here; philanthropists, silversmiths, trade union leaders, and even gangsters – until the day they were rounded up. We’ll see two workhouses and I’ll explain the conditions people had to endure. For contrast we’ll be looking at middle class Georgian living on the north side of Mile End Road. The earliest (vanished) building on the walk was here in 1693.
Not much of the past survives on the streets here, but there are clues. I’ll be bringing out 100+ old maps, photos, and even the 1844 cab fares to show you. Join me on this exploration of Mile End’s fascinating past. The walk costs £10 per person, and lasts about two hours.