The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 31 Whitechapel and Bethnal Green

Mile End

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Just beyond Whitechapel Station (left) is Brady St., leading to the disused Jews' Cemetery (entrance at No. 350; closed on Saturday), with the tomb of Nathan Meyer Rothschild (1777-1836). On the same side is Cambridge Road, leading north to Bethnal Green Museum and Victoria Park. We then reach the wide and attractive MILE END ROAD, possibly so called because Mile End was about 1 mile from the old City Wall. On the left are the picturesque Trinity Almshouses, established by Captain Mudd of the Trinity House in 1696 for master mariners and mates and their wives or widows. In the court is a statue of Captain Sandes, a benefactor (1746), and behind the chapel is a curious plaster figure of Captain Maples, erected in Deptford in 1681 and brought hither in 1870. The stained glass in the chapel is old. The Vintners' Almshouses, a little farther on, are likewise picturesque. No. 88 Mile End Road, to the right, bears a tablet commemorating the residence of Captain Cook (1728-79). On the same side diverges Stepney Green, leading to St. Dunstan's, and on the left is Stepney Green Station. No. 253 is the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Hospital. Behind lies a small disused Jewish cemetery of an acre or so, granted to the Jews by Oliver Cromwell in 1656, opened in 1657, and enclosed by a wall in 1683. The memorials in this historic spot are flat mossy stones, for no Sephardi Jew has an erect tombstone. Beyond the People's Palace is a larger Jewish burial-place. Another + mile brings us to the People's Palace, opened in 1887 and intended as a realization of the 'Palace of Delights' in Sir Walter Besant's novel 'All Sorts and Conditions of Men' (1882). The germ of the People's Palace was the Beaumont Philosophical Institution, endowed by J. E. Barber Beaumont and afterwards greatly helped by the Drapers' Company and public subscriptions. The chief features of the People's Palace include the huge Queens' Hall (with statues of the Queens of England by Verheyden), the Swimming Bath (90 feet long; admission 4d.), the Recreation Hall, the Gymnasium, and the Winter Gardern. Concerts and other entertainments are given in the Queens' Hall almost daily, and concerts on Sunday afternoons and everings. Immediately adjoining the People's Palace is the East London College, now a recognized school of the University of London. The college with 429 students, has faculties of arts, science, and engineering, and does much to promote higher education in East London. It is administered under a scheme of the Board of Education, sealed in 1913, which gives a large share in the Council to the Drapers' Company, from which the college derives much of its income. Beyond the People's Palace Mile End Road crosses the Regent's Canal and is prolonged by Bow Road to Bow and Stratford. Grove Road leads north (left) to Victoria Park, while Burdett Road leads south (right) to the West India Docks.