- Keep to the 2 metre social distancing from people you pass by;
- Take care crossing roads – use controlled crossings where possible.
The route takes you up the east side of Queensbridge Road. It is complemented by another walk which takes you down the west side of the road.
1/13 Start at the junction with Hackney Road E2 8NP, the boundary between the London Boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Hackney. The southern part of Queensbridge Road was originally Great Cambridge Street which in 1827 only went as far as today’s Whiston Rd.
2/13 Walk up the right side of the road to St Saviour’s Priory. Nuns moved here to serve the poor of the area in 1871. In 1870 10 nuns nursed sufferers of the smallpox epidemic in a temporary hospital put up in the Recreation Ground further down Hackney Road, towards Shoreditch. New premises for the Priory were built in 1978, set back from the road, anticipating road widening.
3/13 Walk past the wall of the Imperial Gas Works erected on land purchased here in 1821. Coal was received by canal to produce gas. The works were destroyed by a V2 missile in March 1945. The site became the northern part of Haggerston Park. The southern part of the park had been streets of housing badly bombed in the Blitz.
4/13 Cross Whiston Road. From here on the road was Queen’s Rd laid out in 1839 to open up fields for development. Pass Adelaide Wharf, built in 2007 on the site of an ice wharf on the canal. Ice came from Norway, amongst other places. It was stored in deep pits and was sold on to be used in the fish trade and for making ice-cream.
5/13 Walk over the bridge crossing the Regent’s Canal, completed in 1820 through open land. The canal flows for 8.5 miles from the Grand Union Canal at Paddington to the Thames at Limehouse, passing through 12 locks. When it was built it was known locally as The Cut. It quickly attracted industry: gas, saw mills, iron foundries, etc..
6/13 From here to Albion Drive the land was owned and developed from 1843 by the Middleton family (no relation to Kate) to be a ‘healthy retreat’ nearby Hackney Downs, Well St Common and Victoria Park. Just past Pownall Rd (named after the Middleton’s surveyor) lived in 1851 the Bellingham family with a rectifying distillery. They also made ‘Bellingham and Co.’s Celebrated Cream Gin.’
7/13 Shrubland Road is named for the Middleton’s mansion in Suffolk. Near here Roman urns were dug up in 1849 when the area was being developed for housing. Here in Queen’s Road in 1893 were E Lambert and Sons, from whom ‘Malthus Sheaths’ and other forms of contraception could be obtained by mail order.
8/13 At Albion Drive go right to see the Shoreditch/Hackney boundary marker. From Hackney Rd to here you have walked through what was the parish and later, till 1965, the metropolitan borough of Shoreditch. When this area was fields, the boundary ran along a stream from Stonebridge Common.
9/13 On this east side of Queensbridge Road the Middleton Road continued through Rhodes land and its name changed to Albert Road. In 1953 locals stood on a bomb site, now Middleton House on the corner, to see the Queen passing in her coronation procession through East London.
10/13 Just past the junction with Middleton Road notice on the wall of houses ‘Liscombes Cottages’. Put up in 1850 by Richard Liscombe. Born in Oxfordshire in 1792, he was a prolific builder for 30 years on Rhodes land. He built the Prince Albert and Belgrave Arms pubs which were on the other side of Queensbridge Road.
11/13 Land from Mapledene Road up to The Richmond pub was leased for building as Richmond Terrace from 1839. In 1841 occupants included a newspaper editor, bricklayer, warehouseman, governess, 4 merchants and a ‘Gentleman Chorister’ of St James’s Chapel Royal. Maybe he sang at the wedding of Queen Victoria the year before.
12/13 Holly Cottage on the corner of Forest and Queensbridge Roads was home to three generations of doctors from 1855 to 1933. Doctors’ houses were often on corners with side access for patients. Forest Road, originally Row, was one of the first roads laid out on Rhodes land in 1828 from the Kingsland Road end.
13/13 Walk to the end of Queensbridge Road where it joins Parkholme Rd, laid out as Park Road in 1823, Graham Rd, laid out from 1853, and medieval Dalston Lane. Older locals remember this junction as Lebon’s Corner named for the coal merchant’s there, later Donaldson’s estate agents (whose signage is still to be seen) next to another doctor’s corner house.