Suburb, existing until now

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Suburb · Ratcliff · E1W ·

Ratcliff (or Ratcliffe) is a former locality now split between the modern day districts of Limehouse, Stepney and Shadwell after being absorbed into them.

The name Ratcliffe derives from a small red sandstone cliff that stood above the surrounding marshes. Located at the western end of Narrow Street it was by the eighteenth century made up of lodging houses, bars, brothels and opium dens. It acquired an unsavoury reputation with a large transient population. In 1794 approximately half of the hamlet was destroyed in a fire but, even so, it continued as a notorious slum well into the nineteenth century.

Ratcliffe was originally known for shipbuilding but from the fourteenth century more for fitting and provisioning ships. By the early seventeenth century it had the largest population of any village in Stepney, with 3500 residents.

A number of sailing warships were built for the Royal Navy here, including one of the earliest frigates, the Constant Warwick in 1645.

From the late sixteenth century Ratcliffe and surrounding areas were notable areas for non-conformist Christianity. The parish church of Ratcliffe, St James in Butcher Row, was built in 1838 and served the area until 1951 when the parish was merged with St Paul, Shadwell.

In late 1811 seven murders took place in Ratcliffe Highway (St George’s Street), allegedly committed by a sailor named Williams, who committed suicide after being captured.

By the latter half of the nineteenth century, the condition of the area had improved somewhat - the 1868 ’National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland’ describes Ratcliffe as inhabited by persons connected with shipping and having extensive warehouses, with the area ’well paved, lighted with gas, and supplied with water from the reservoir at Old Ford’.

Main source: Wikipedia
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Added: 27 Apr 2021 12:05 GMT   

St George in the East Church
This Church was opened in 1729, designed by Hawksmore. Inside destroyed by incendrie bomb 16th April 1941. Rebuilt inside and finished in 1964. The building remained open most of the time in a temporary prefab.

Born here
colin Passfield   
Added: 1 Jan 2021 15:28 GMT   

Dora Street, E14
My grandmother was born in 1904 at 34 Dora Street

Born here
Beverly Sand   
Added: 3 Apr 2021 17:19 GMT   

Havering Street, E1
My mother was born at 48 Havering Street. That house no longer exists. It disappeared from the map by 1950. Family name Schneider, mother Ray and father Joe. Joe’s parents lived just up the road at 311 Cable Street

Boo Horton    
Added: 31 May 2021 13:39 GMT   

Angel & Trumpet, Stepney Green
The Angel & Trumpet Public House in Stepney Green was run by my ancestors in the 1930’s. Unfortunately, it was a victim on WWII and was badly damaged and subsequently demolished. I have one photograph that I believe to bethe pub, but it doesn’t show much more that my Great Aunt cleaning the steps.


Added: 28 Jun 2021 00:48 GMT   

Tower Bridge Business Complex, S
need for my coursework

Source: university

Lived here
Kim Johnson   
Added: 24 Jun 2021 19:17 GMT   

Limehouse Causeway (1908)
My great grandparents were the first to live in 15 Tomlins Terrace, then my grandparents and parents after marriage. I spent the first two years of my life there. My nan and her family lived at number 13 Tomlins Terrace. My maternal grandmother lived in Maroon house, Blount Street with my uncle. Nan, my mum and her brothers were bombed out three times during the war.

Lived here
Added: 18 Feb 2021 22:03 GMT   

Pereira Street, E1
My grandfather Charles Suett lived in Periera Street & married a widowed neighbour there. They later moved to 33 Bullen House, Collingwood Street where my father was born.

Born here
Carolyn Hirst   
Added: 16 Jul 2022 15:21 GMT   

Henry James Hirst
My second great grandfather Henry James Hirst was born at 18 New Road on 11 February 1861. He was the eighth of the eleven children of Rowland and Isabella Hirst. I think that this part of New Road was also known at the time as Gloucester Terrace.


Lived here
Katharina Logan   
Added: 9 Aug 2022 19:01 GMT   

Ely place existed in name in 1857
On 7th July 1857 John James Chase and Mary Ann Weekes were married at St John the Baptist Hoxton, he of full age and she a minor. Both parties list their place of residence as Ely Place, yet according to other information, this street was not named until 1861. He was a bricklayer, she had no occupation listed, but both were literate and able to sign their names on their marriage certificate.

Source: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSF7-Q9Y7?cc=3734475

Reginald John Gregory   
Added: 8 Aug 2022 14:07 GMT   

Worked in the vicinity of my ancestor’s house,
Between the years 1982-1998 (unknown to me at the time) I worked in an office close to the site of my ancestors cottage. I discovered this when researching family history - the cottage was mentioned in the 1871 census for Colindeep Lane/Ancient Street coming up from the Hyde. The family lived in the ares betwen 1805 and 1912.


Barry J. Page   
Added: 27 Jul 2022 19:41 GMT   

Highbury Corner V1 Explosion
Grandma described the V1 explosion at Highbury Corner on many occasions. She was working in the scullery when the flying bomb landed. The blast shattered all the windows in the block of flats and blew off the bolt on her front door. As she looked out the front room window, people in various states of injury and shock were making their way along Highbury Station Road. One man in particular, who was bleeding profusely from glass shard wounds to his neck, insisted in getting home to see if his family was all right. Others were less fortunate. Len, the local newsagent, comforted a man, who had lost both legs caused by the blast, until the victim succumbed to his injuries. The entire area was ravaged and following are statistics. The flying bomb landed during lunch hour (12:46 p.m.) on June 27th 1944. 26 people lost their lives, 84 were seriously injured and 71 slightly injured.

Added: 20 Jul 2022 13:36 GMT   

The Square & Ashmore park
The Square and Ashmore park was the place to be 2000-2005. Those were the greatest times on the estate. everyday people were playing out. the park was full of kids just being kids and having fun, now everyone is grown up and only bump into eachother when heading to the shops or work. I miss the good days( Im 25yrs old as im writing this)

Spotted here
Added: 18 Jul 2022 13:56 GMT   

Map of Thornsett Road Esrlsfield

Lived here
Added: 12 Jul 2022 21:36 GMT   

Elgin Crescent, W11
Richard Laitner (1955-1983), a barrister training to be a doctor at UCL, lived here in 1983. He was murdered aged 28 with both his parents after attending his sister’s wedding in Sheffield in 1983. The Richard Laitner Memorial Fund maintains bursaries in his memory at UCL Medical School

Source: Ancestry Library Edition

Anthony Mckay   
Added: 11 Jul 2022 00:12 GMT   

Bankfield Cottages, Ass House Lane, Harrow Weald
Bankfield Cottages (now demolished) at the end of Ass House Lane, appear twice in ’The Cheaters’ televison series (made 1960) in the episodes ’The Fine Print’ and ’Tine to Kill’

Source: THE CHEATERS: Episode Index

Bob Land   
Added: 29 Jun 2022 13:20 GMT   

Map legends
Question, I have been looking at quite a few maps dated 1950 and 1900, and there are many abbreviations on the maps, where can I find the lists to unravel these ?


Bob Land


Boulcott Street, E1W Boulcott Street is one of the streets of London in the E1 postal area.
Brook Street, E1 Brook Street was an old name for this section of Cable Street.
Bull’s Buildings, E1W Bull’s Buildings was a close off White Horse Street.
Caroline Street, E1 Caroline Street is one of the streets of London in the E1 postal area.
Cranford Street, E1W Cranford Street is a road in the E1W postcode area
Dunstan Place, E1W Dunstan Place first appeared on the 1830 map, replacing an area called Globe Yard.
Edward Mann Close East, E1 A street within the E1 postcode
Heckford Street Business Centre, E1W A street within the E1W postcode
Heckford Street, E1W Heckford Street is one of the streets of London in the E1W postal area.
Jardine Road, E1W Jardine Road is a road in the E1W postcode area
Pitsea Street, E1 Pitsea Street is a road in the E1 postcode area
Ratcliffe Cross Street, E1W Ratcliffe Cross Street is one of the streets of London in the E1 postal area.
Schoolhouse Lane, E1W Schoolhouse Lane connects Cable Street and The Highway.
Warren Place, E1W A street within the E1 postcode

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Thames Tunnel
TUM image id: 1554042170
Licence: CC BY 2.0

In the neighbourhood...

Click an image below for a better view...
Brook Street, E1 - looking east (c. 1910) Brook Street is now renamed as part of Cable Street. The side street with the posts is Schoolhouse Lane and the building on the far right is the Friends’ Meeting House.
Credit: Vin Miles (contributor)
Licence: CC BY 2.0

Rotherhithe Street, Bermondsey with the ship ’Argo’ visible in the distance. By the mid 18th century Rotherhithe had a strong maritime and shipbuilding tradition. The Surrey Docks arrived during the 19th century and added 136 acres of interlinked waterways.
Licence: CC BY 2.0

Victorian-era London brickwork
Credit: Wiki Commons
Licence: CC BY 2.0

R. Passmore & Company in Limehouse. This was sitauted on the corner of Narrow Street and The Highway. Free Trade Wharf was behind.

The foreshore of the River Thames near Ratcliff Cross Stairs, E14 (2020). Canary Wharf is in the background.
Credit: Wiki Commons/Ttocserp

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