London Wiki
Bethnal Green
PostCode District E1, E2
Borough London Borough of Tower Hamlets
OS Grid Reference

Bethnal Green is an area in East London and is part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Located 3.3 miles (5.3 km) northeast of Charing Cross, it was historically a hamlet in the ancient parish of Stepney, Middlesex.


The Salmon and Ball was an occasional meeting place for the Bethnal Green Philanthropic Pensioners society, founded by subscribers in 1822. They were recorded in the Parliamentary Papers from the H.M. Stationery Office as having established there in 1833, and were also recorded to have met again there in 1841.[1] [2]. Outside the Salmon and Ball pub, Oswald Mosley, of the British Union of Fascists, is recorded to have given some of his harangues in the 1930s. The fascist group often met in the pub and Victoria Park, threatening hecklers with In 1970, Salmon & Ball owner Terry Sully was kidnapped and robbed of £8,600 from the pub. A month later the top floor of the building was on fire. The Salmon and Ball soon had a £20,000 renovation, and a complete switch up in style and audience in 1974. The pub went from disco vibes and dancing, to the over 25s and an air of comfort. 1 here] The East London Advertiser, on 8 March 1991, David Keen wrote that the Salmon and Bull name came from the weaving industry too, ‘the ball was the emblem of Constantine the Great and silk-weavers adopted this sign because silk came from the east,’ and ‘Salmon’ was simply because of the belief that it could be caught in the River According to Lawrence Camp, the upstairs of Salmon & Ball used to be a boxing area instead of residential around the fifties

Bethnal Green has long been a hotbed of organised crime. Its most famous criminals were the Kray twins, known as Ronald "Ronnie" Kray and Reginald "Reggie" Kray who were identical twin brothers and were active during the 1950s and 1960s with a gang known as The Firm.[3]

Frank Dobson Square was constructed by London County Council in 1963, the year of Dobson's death. The centrepiece of the square was the ‘Woman and Fish’ fountain, a sculpture designed and completed by Dobson himself in 1951. The sculpture had been purchased for the borough by London County Council in 1963.[4]

There was a fire at Cobden House in October 1963, it was captured from a nearby rooftop.[5]

In the 1970s, Tower Hamlets Council decided to fence the area that would become Bethnal Green Nature Reserve, and lock it up to protect it from fly tipping. In the late 1990s the local Teesdale and Hollybush Tenants and Residents Association became the site custodians and, with the support of Tower Hamlets Council, took responsibility for St Jude's as it was still called locally.[6]

The former Bethnal Green Infirmary, later the London County Council Bethnal Green Hospital, stood opposite Cambridge Heath railway station. The hospital closed as a public hospital in the 1970s and was a geriatric hospital under the NHS until the 1980s. Much of the site was developed for housing in the 1990s but the hospital entrance and administration block remains as a listed building. The Albion Rooms are located in Bethnal Green where Pete Doherty and Carl Barât of the Libertines used to live when the band was together. It became part of music history as the band would hold Guerilla Gigs in the flat that would be packed with people.

The Approach Gallery was established in a disused space in 1997 by Jake Miller, along with other artists including Damien Meade, Ana Genoves.[7]


From 2005 to 2008 the EEL promoted and organised the Vyner Street Festival with the Victory Pub. This was a two-day family festival featuring local bands, artists and market traders with a different theme each year, with the Royal Air Force Red Arrows performing an impromptu flyover in 2008.[8]

Part of the Old Bethnal Green Road falls under Old Bethnal Green Road Conservation Area which was designated in October 2008. It is focused around the roads of the Winkley Estate in the heart of old Bethnal Green.[9]

The London Chest Hospital was closed on 17 April 2015 and its functions transferred to other sites of the Barts Health NHS Trust. It was where Fabrice Muamba, who played for Bolton Wanderers was taken to the Chest Hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch on 17 March 2012.[10] [11]

Marco Canha and James Roach, established an academy in 2012 called the Fight Zone and it has the busiest martial arts schedule in Europe and internationally acclaimed coaches.[12]

In 2013, EastEnders actress Gemma McCluskie, and her brother Tony McCluskie, shared a flag in Pelter Street, where she was murdered by him on March 1 and dumped her body in the Regent’s Canal the following day.[13] [14] [15]

A new phytology garden was opened off Old Bethnal Green Road in 2014 to the public on a former wartime bombsite in the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve on the Teesdale Estate.[16]

In 2015, Ministry of Defence (MoD) specialists worked through the night to defuse an unexploded Second World War bomb found by builders at a construction site off Old Bethnal Green Road on Temple Street, this led to four nearby bus routes being diverted.[17]

In 2016, Russell Brown, 26, was stabbed mutiple times and died at a woman’s flat off Old Bethnal Green Road in Nelson Gardens.[18]

In 2015, Tower Hamlets Council took the owners of Al Amin Tandoori Restaurant to court after a routine inspection, which found mouse droppings throughout the kitchen. The owner Abdul Noor, pleaded guilty at Thames Magistrates Court to six charges including inadequate control of pests, contamination of equipment and contamination of food.[19]

The Hare was decried as the epitome of a ‘good, honest pub’ by the Evening Standard and was listed as one of the 50 best pubs in London in recent times.[20]

During early 2017 a developer obtained permission from Tower Hamlets Council's Arboricultural team to relocate the Bethnal Green mulberry tree at the former chest hospital site, which was prior to submitting a planning application to redevelop the hospital and surrounding grounds.[21] The tree is subject to a Tree preservation order, issued by Tower Hamlets Council.[22]

One of the first pubs completed under the new Craft Union Pub concept and philosophy is to bring brilliant pubs back in to the heart of the community was The Marquis of Cornwallis during May 2018. The two week and £60,000 project involved redecoration internally and externally, bar works, toilet refurbishment and new lighting and flooring throughout.[23] In the same year, Joshua Cohen, who formally worked in Beigel Bake, was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and gave an was given an indefinite hospital order in 2018 after a trial.[24] The Camel Pub was voted the best pet friendly pub in the world according to a media source in 2018, for its allowing dogs and cats to come in and have a bowl of water, as well as for the two pub cats and being a friendly animal and human community.[25]

An ex-Truman establishment, now a free house.[26] [27] The Hare was cited as the epitome of a ‘good, honest pub’ by the Evening Standard and was listed as one of the 50 best pubs in London in 2019.[1] During the May bank holiday, the redeveloped railway arches off Cambridge Heath Road into an eating and drinking quarter opened.[2] Tower Hamlets Council had turned down plans for the Cambridge Heath Road development because of concerns over its affordable housing mix and design quality.[28] The Better Streets for Tower Hamlets had turned the car park spot in Bethnal Green Road into a mini park for a day to draw people's attention to the need for more healthier public spaces.[29] Laura Sheehan, a local resident took on the 54 mile cycling challenge from Brighton to London in the memory of her aunt in 2019, Carmel, who died suddenly of a heart attack in her 50s.[30] Kevin Driver, 50, pleaded guilty at Thames Magistrates Court in 2019 to threatening a person with a blade and using threatening behaviour on 14 December last year. He accused the two tree surgeons of smoking ‘whacky baccy’ and claimed he was a police officer in a rant that went viral on Twitter.[31] A mural of David Attenborough had appeared on a side of a tropical fish store on St Matthew's Row.[32] Sainsbury's in the same year opened what it claims was the county first meat-free butchers, it was in the form of a traditional style butchers was open for three days from Friday 21 June to mark World Meat Free Week, where it offered customers an array of cuts and joints derived from plant-based alternatives, such as mushroom, jackfruit and pea protein.[33]

Tower Hamlets Council worked with Tarmac to approved the new type of surface that uses rubber crumb from waste tyres mixed into asphalt on a street off Old Bethnal Green Road on Canrobert Street in 2020.[34] There will be traffic restrictions around Old Bethnal Green Road if the Liveable Streets proposals go forward.[35]

An investigation was started by the RSPCA after a passenger reported seeing a pet dog being badly mistreated at Bethnal Green Underground Station on March 16th.[36] Police officers were called to Bethnal Green Road at around 6.10pm on Wednesday, April 22, to reports of men fighting, where they discovered a man in his 20s had been stabbed in the arm following an alleged fight.[37] A huge fire broke out on Globe Road on the 8th May, with smoke visible for miles around. The London Fire Brigade said the blaze was a six-pump fire.[38]


The topographer Daniel Lysons suggested in the late 18th century that Bethnal was a corruption of the name Bathon-Hall which would have been the residence of a notable Bathon family who owned large areas of Stepney, the parish of which Bethnal Green was once a part. "Green" related to an area which lay "about half a mile beyond the suburbs".[39]

The area emerged from the hamlet which developed around the Green,[40] much of which survives today as Bethnal Green Gardens, located on Canbridge Heath Road, following population increases caused by the expansion of London in the 18th century, it was split off from Stepney as the parish of Bethnal Green in 1743. It became part of the metropolis in 1855 and the County of London in 1889. The parish became the Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green in 1900. In 1965 it was abolished and became a district in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.


Bethnal Green has a number of conservation areas set up by Tower Hamlets Council due to its historic history and landscape, including the Bethnal Green Gardens Conservation Area which was designated in July 1969 and then extended in October 2008 to the south west of the tube station due to significant buildings located in and around the junction of Bethnal Green Road, Roman Road and Cambridge Heath Road, which ensures these landmarks will be preserved.[3] Hackney Road has a very special architectural and historic character of buildings and areas adjoining the road which are composed of a dense concentration of modest sized properties.[41]

The streetside buildings seem neglected but form part of the industrial heritage and character of Vyner Street and also Wadeson Street, which contains a row of three storey Victorian workshops mostly converted to residential use. Both types contribute to the character of the area.[42] Also, Old Bethnal Green Road and around the roads of the Winkley Estate, which has a very cohesive character and little scope exists for change. The buildings contained within the area being considered form an important group worthy of protection and enhancement.[43]


Bethnal Green falls within the parliamentary constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.


Today a wide community exists in Bethnal Green, one example of this is The Roman Road E2 Hamper to the east of the green, which is used as a tool by local shops in Bethnal Green to reach out to customers in the community, aiding in promoting their businesses, products and services.[44]

Further extensive community provision and training is provided by Morpeth School via its connection to the community.[45] Morpeth Sixth Form is also actively involved in some community enrichment project, with support from the Roman Road Trust and Drumworks,[46] who are a band based in Morpeth School associated with the Barbican Centre.[47]


Mowlem Primary School, which opened in 1887 and was called Mowlem Street School. As the population grew, the school was enlarged in 1898 and changed once again in 1902 for 410 boys and 410 girls.[48] A new single-storey building catering for a total of 280 children was opened in 1971 when it was renamed Mowlem Primary School.[49]


Bethnal Green is served by London Buses, including route 8, 26, 55, 254 and 388 to Central London, and also routes 106, 309, 394, D3, D6 and night routes N8, N26, N55 and N243.


The Wikipedia article is at [50]

  1. The 50 best pubs in London (11 January 2019).
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named
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