The Little Book of the East End - Dee Gordon
PUBLISHED: 12:07 02 January 2011
DID you know the first, and possibly the only, goat to twice circumnavigate the globe died in Mile End in 1772?
Did you know that Millwall FC was originally Millwall Rovers, a team of mostly Scottish men employed by the Isle of Dogs jam factory Morton’s in the late 19th century?
You didn’t? Then you need The Little Book of the East End (£9.99, The History Press).
Dee Gordon’s compendium of facts and strange trivia is perfect for anyone with an interest in the East End.
So we have Charles I chasing a stag from Wanstead to Wapping in 1629; the story of the “penny gaffs” – early music hall shows in Whitechapel and Mile End roads which charged less than a penny or sometimes two ginger beer bottles as admission – and Joseph Malin opening England’s first fish and chip shop in Cleveland Street, Mile End in 1860.
The country’s first Asian Tory MP was elected to the Bethnal Green North East seat in 1895 and there were still 40 cowsheds in Stepney as late as 1905.
A particularly interesting chapter tells how areas got their names. It seems Spitalfields is a contraction of Hospital Fields, while Poplar was named after the large number of trees which once thrived there. And the 13th century St Mary Matfelon Church gave its name to Whitechapel. The church was demolished after being damaged in World War Two.