Photo Cover, (Peter Wright)
Regular readers to the blog will know that I often refer to another Isle of Dogs blog called Isle of Dogs Past Life, Past Lives run by Mick Lemmerman, Mick (who was born in Whitechapel, but moved to the Island when he was eight) with colleagues Con Maloney and Peter Wright have been responsible for collecting photographs and documents about the Island and making them widely available on a number of websites. Mick has recently started to collate all this information and now has produced a book that gives a comprehensive view of the people, firms, schools, churches, buildings, streets and landmarks on the Isle of Dogs.
As well as concise descriptions and interesting nuggets of information, there are a large number of historical photographs of people and places. For example many Islanders remember the Glass Bridge, the book gives the following history.
Photo Glass Bridge, Jackie Wade (nee Jordan)
Glass Bridge When the dock company stated at the end of the 1950s its intention to close the Glengall Rd. bridge over Millwall Docks, protests and support from the council lead to the construction of a high-level footbridge across the docks, very quickly referred to as the Glass Bridge due to its glass enclosure.
The bridge became a target for vandals and pedestrians were so intimidated that few used it. Severe damage to the glass and the lifts in 1975–6 caused the bridge to be closed and it was demolished by the London Docklands Development Corporation in 1983.
One aspect of the Isle of Dogs is that it is always changing and the book lists many of the streets, buildings and landmarks that have disappeared over time. The ever changing nature of the Island is especially noticeable when considering the Island pubs, many now a distant memory but fondly remembered by many. One of my favourite illustrations is the ill fated actress Jayne Mansfield serving a pint in the George, which is still with us but pubs like the Anchor and Hope are in a sorry state awaiting demolition.
Photo Anchor & Hope, (Peter Wright)
The book also offers some original photographs of well known Isle Of Dogs landmarks such as Mudchute.
Photo Mudchute, (Mick Lemmerman)
Mudchute (aka Muddy) The name derives from it being the former dumping ground for mud dredged from the Millwall Docks which had to be regularly dredged to prevent silting up. A novel, pneumatic device was employed which pumped the liquefied mud through a pipe over East Ferry Rd. (close to the George pub), dumping it on the other side.
However looking through the book it is noticeable that many of the streets on the Island have changed almost beyond recognition. Cuba Street being a prime example.
Photo Cuba St, (Peter Wright)
Cuba St. Name changed from Robert St. (after Robert Batson) in 1875. As with other streets in the area, it was named after places in the West Indies (a major source of sugar imports into the West India Docks).
This book would appeal to people who have lived in the area all their life and to the new residents who want to find out more about one of the most interesting parts of East London. It will also appeal to anyone with an interest in the area and the people and would like to find out more. Even those of us who think we know a bit about the Island will find in the book a number of genuine surprises.
Mick has provided a valuable resource to the many people and amateur historians interested in the Island. This together with the Island Trust books are invaluable for understanding the amazing history of the Island.
If you would know more about the book or would like to buy a copy in either print or eBook , visit the Amazon store here