East End Memories

Please send comments directly to charles@eastend-memories.org.uk

80. Patrick

I was searching for info on Gamages & found your "Trip to Gamages".  I found it interesting so visited your home page & was immediately taken back 50 years & then slowly forward for the next 24 years.  I grew up in Hackney & went to school in Bethnal Green.
Relocated to Peterborough in 1985 & it wasn't until 2004 I returned to London on a regular basis (Lorry driver with an average of 35 deliveries), & noticing all the changes in the area I grew up & worked in.
Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane & I can assure you that I will be visiting it on a regular basis.
Kind regards

79. Ian Williams

What a magnificent web page you have!    I have only skimmed through it tonight, but if I was confined to bed for a week, I would need that much time to go through it.

All the best for now.  Greetings from Down Under

Ian Williams.

78. Annabel Emslie - 2011-04-12 08:48:11
I have just come across your site whilst on a genealogy hunt.It is wonderful to see what family members would have experienced whilst growing up.A totally fascinating and informative site;one I shall dip in and out of.
Thank you.

77. Dr Gary Thorne - 2011-04-07 16:54:45
Very interesting site. Thank you for sharing it.

76. Linda Hughes - 2011-03-23 20:00:52
I am thoroughly enjoying your website. There is more than can be digested in one visit so I have marked it for return. Thank you for insisting that I look at it.

75. PETER KURTON - 2011-03-18 23:27:16
My mate’s mum worked in the Empress in about 1955. His name was Alan Esch and hers was Miss Sharp. We walked all the way there one day during a school holiday from Mabley Street where he lived, just to get a free orange flavoured ice lolly, which she gave us from her tray of goodies. I don’t suppose anyone missed them.
Some years later I went to see an X film there. Kids under 16 were not allowed infor horror films and I was only about 14. I lit a fag and made my voice sound gruff when I asked for my ticket. No problem there and I went in and sat all on my own in a semi deserted cinema in the circle watching a black and white film about a werewolf.
Nowadays you see worse during children’s television? Newsround can be pretty horrific!

74. Pat Gerber-Relf - 2011-03-14 17:40:29
I have just stumbled upon your site and started to read with great interest. Grew up in Bethnal Green but left in 1964 for other pastures. However, it is the first time that I could read the actual history of the Essoldo cinema where I saw many films with my mum and dad when younger. I will be looking in from time to time as I am sure I will find more treasures on this site. Very good work and research.

73. Anthony Bradley - 2011-02-04 09:35:24
Charles. Being a northerner I know almost nothing of the area you bring so vividly to life. Your personal reminiscences and wonderful writing style bring it all to life in a way that no history or book ever could. I can almost imagine myself being there and meeting the characters in the locality in person. Well done and congratulations. I look forward to learning more as you add to the site. Anthony.

72. Anthony Kalberg - 2010-12-27 09:21:50
Charles - Another job well done! I just love Art Deco, and the old Essoldo was/is a great example. The current snaps of the curved ceiling and the old fixtures were great to look at. And how nice the current owners let you tour the old site. Keep up the good work. Take care, Anthony

71. Eric Linn - 2010-12-22 12:54:34
Wonderful pages and interesting history! It was a delight to read and to look upon your treasured history. Thank you for sharing a little part of your life in this way. Cheers!

70. Steve Walker - 2010-12-21 10:56:55
Well done, Charles. Your story of the Esssoldo was as detailed and entertaining as ever. Next time I’m down Bethnal Green Road, I’ll keep a special eye out for Frankle Trimmings. I share your enthusiasm for Marilyn Monroe. Here’s her first ever TV appearance on the Jack Benny Show, Sep. 1953; www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_IzdZDyT0w

69. Jean C - 2010-12-20 20:01:42
I enjoyed your latest story about the cinema in Bethnal Green. It brought back memories of elegant cinemas of my childhood, and so many wonderful films. The anonymous multiple cinema chains of today will never evoke such nostalgia twenty years hence!

68. Paul Davis - 2010-12-19 19:22:15
Hello. Merry Christmas form Paul and Marietjie on the Isle of Wight. Just to let you know i have just become a Grandad. Reuben Paul Davis born 15th Dec 2010. I miss the 1950s/1960s with my Dad when he took me to Gamages to see the Train Set Display. Wish you all the best for Christmas and a happy New Year. Paul

67. NF - 2010-12-16 01:03:29
Bubba and Zayde, sweet story of the kindness of people. Wonderfully touching reading. Thanks very much.

66. Starkeson - 2010-10-14 21:37:30
"To Grandmother’s house we go" really held me captivated.
I think many of us have somewhere in our family somebody like her. The difference is the uncanny ability you have in verbalizing your memories. I felt like the invisible guest in the room. I swear I could hear all the inflections in her voice. Bravo!
You know, my mother had an aunt that reminded me of your grandmother. Mamma did a portrait of her sometimes in the 30’s. It is now hanging in my computer room. I kept looking at it while I was reading and I could recognize your grandmother. Forget about bone structure. It was the awful attitude that jumps at you from the painting that I recognized.
It was a nice touch to follow with Nanny Cooper story. It leaves you with the feeling that our world can still be a good place. Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

65. vicki Walters - 2010-10-07 04:20:29
I loved your piece on Club Row dogs.All the dogs were adorable. The article was really heartfelt.

64. LEWIS AND CLYDE MCPHATTER - 2010-09-24 19:21:49

63. Vicki Walters - 2010-09-21 23:55:47
I liked the musical evenings. It kind of reminds me that my taste and my parents taste in music were complete opposites.

62. michele p - 2010-09-08 18:00:05
Hi Charles,
Enjoyed the site and you definately have put forth great effort into your effort.

61. Nik Kovrlija - 2010-09-04 07:44:02
Fantastic memories of old London, as a proud Leeds-Yorkshire ted for last 42 years i can recall living in back to back rows of terraces and the smog etc before all our homes were pulled down, we too were "relocated" to an area we did not know. Keep up the memories on this site, always good to read other memories.

60. David CharlesTurbutt - 2010-09-01 07:42:03
Hello Chareles,I was born On the Island in Clapton E5 there is a book been written about it ,the life and death of an east london community, as were many of my mums family the Lococks,that was in 1942, moved a couple of years arfter to Clapton way, sadly another comunity that has bit the dust,
When I was the right old age of 8 there abouts my older sister Pat and myself some how got to go to the Hackney Empire, for what purpose I am still not sure of, I believe we were chosen to be extras, any way to cut it short I missed behaved, I was told and shook a canista of Vim over the stage causing a cloud of Dust, Not sure how true it was , so if there is any one looking in on you page, they might be able to confirm,

59. Jim - 2010-08-31 13:01:21
Brilliant Site

lots of great photos and reading, must keep returning to read more


58. Bona down the road - 2010-08-30 12:32:21
I read this morning the Sunday flower market you told me about and your father’s struggles with keeping plants alive. It was delightful. I really wish we had a flower market here. I would end up being like your father and end up only with geraniums.

57. thomas - 2010-08-24 02:16:39
Dr J loved the flowers and music. will read more later.

56. Dik de Heer - 2010-08-11 14:50:36
Hi Charles,

I enjoyed your memories of Radio Luxembourg. Reception of the station was perhaps a little better in my country, the Netherlands. One small correction if you don’t mind ; you write that Columbia had the honour of releasing Chuck Berry’s first UK single,
by which you probably mean "School Day". However, this was preceded by several singles on London American, the first of which was "No Money Down"/"Down Bound Train" (HL 8275, May 1956).

Dik de Heer

55. Gavin McGrath - 2010-07-27 16:25:52
Just what the Internet’s been waiting for!

54. NF - 2010-07-05 20:22:10
Great links on your latest addition ‘Sunday Markets’, ‘buying ‘records’! Listening to the oldies really brought back memories for me. Being a born American and a bit younger I still remember the interest that was piqued when I heard The Platters, Little Richard and Elvis. Too bad that the youth of today don’t seem to find these great tunes of any value. Thanks for putting these together for our listening pleasure. Oh, the pictures of the old 45’s and the artists are, just, ‘Too Much!’

53. John Arno - 2010-06-29 16:24:35
Nice to read your memories of the East End, I was born in 1943, same as you, but my mums family were bombed out in Haverfield Road, at the back of the Aberdeen Pub, and were evacuated to Wellington, Somerset, where I was born, after the war we returned to the East End. I went to Olga Street and Morpeth Street Schools. My Dad was a pub pianist around Bethnal Green and Bow, so I learned all the old cockney songs and later became half of a cockney duo called ’Little and Loud’. I am now retired living in Thailand. I researched my family tree and as my surname suggests I have French roots from the Huguenots who settled in Spitalfields/Bethnal Green about 1700. You can view my tree on ’Genes Reunited’ maybe we have some family in commen. Cheers Mate! - John Arno.

52. Jeremy Prior - 2010-06-25 21:19:35
Just read the Gamages article and will be returning to read more. Wonderful stuff and so well written.
My first bicycle proper came from Gamages as a carrot present promised if I passed my 11 plus. I well remember visits there and a lot of what you have said in your article rings bells with me from the era.
The childhood memories are heart-rending.

I think you showed immense courage dealing with it.
Thanks for a super read. I look forward to reading more over the next few days.
Jeremy Prior born 1946 lived Harrow on the Hill and Watford until 1966.

51. Brian Hall - 2010-06-10 23:07:55
forgot to say i am not the brian hall who you thank on some of your pages,but it would be nice to have some info on my namesake.....is he from the east end also?

50. Brian Hall - 2010-06-10 23:02:45
very good site. i was born in 1948 (in sheperdess place off old street.....up and down the city road, in and out of the eagle) we both have similar memories of the time. i especially like your memories of ’down the lane’ and remember the china man who used to throw the whole lot up in the air and catch them, also club row and hot sarsparela......i will visit again soon.

49. - 2010-06-03 00:18:33
Excellent Reading ,thank you for sharing ,i will forward it to my Eastender friends ,and most certainly come back for another read,,,,,,a Tipperary Girl from Thurles

48. NF - 2010-05-16 21:23:06
The dog photos are very sweet. In addition to the photographs of Midnight I especially liked the photo and story of the little lost dog in New Zealand and the possibility of reincarnation! Eerie!

47. David Barber - 2010-05-11 17:50:57


you have successfully created a window to the past.


ps: The incidental music from North by North West has got to be the most copied from any film.

46. David Hailey - 2010-05-05 17:15:04

Quite a website! I am impressed. Finally, I know what a Cockney is.

Best wishes.


45. Susy James - 2010-05-01 16:42:28
Didn’t get through it all but will return again, good fun site

44. Frances - 2010-04-30 15:46:52
Great fun, Charles, and well-written. But we North Londoners have one over on the east. We had the Saturday morning pictures. My parents put my brother in charge and sent us off to the Gaumont every Saturday at 9am. They then had two blissful child-free hours to read and shop - at least I hope that was all they were doing. As soon as we got to the pictures, my brother dumped his sisters. Fortunately, the usherettes looked like they worked in the Gulag. Large beefy arms that could pluck a kid from the seat and forcefully eject them. So, we were safe.

43. Adelle Martins - 2010-04-23 14:39:52
Found the information and the stories really interesting. I enjoyed learning about these fabulously lively characters.

Keep up the Fantastic work!



42. thomas - 2010-04-20 22:13:09
loved the dog pictures. :�)

41. Marisa - 2010-04-13 21:39:12
this is a nice website Dr. Jenkins ... very detailed stories... makes me feel like i am there ... i luv the bells sounds too! i’ll find time to come back and read more you ttyl

40. Taube Haight - 2010-04-13 20:05:06
Hi Dr. J - I’m at the office now, and am saving your stories for dessert tonight. I’ll even put on my Eastenders T-shirt to get in the mood. Best. Taube

39. alex solomon - 2010-04-13 02:09:53
Just read Miracle at Homerton...I could just imagine mother fretting and praying for such miracles!...You sure you’re not going to make it into a screenplay?...;-)
Great story!


38. Jean Collen - 2010-04-11 19:39:12
Hello Charles, I have just read "The East End Toff" and thoroughly enjoyed the story as well as the delightful illustrations you have included, particularly the sweet one of yourself on holiday in Brighton.

37. Valerie Paterson - 2010-04-09 17:37:24
Very nteresting. Looking forward to reading more when I have time.


36. jonathan blank - 2010-04-07 14:12:55
Got it to work on blackberry cool

35. Eileen Roberts - 2010-04-05 11:38:38
I just had to pop in and see for myself what your website looked like. It seems great, which you have obviously put a lot of effort into.

34. David Mitchell - 2010-04-05 11:00:24
Dear Charles,
As one ’East End Toff’ to another my thanks for co-dedicating this story to me. I am greatly honoured and appreciate the gesture very much indeed. I have not read every single page but I have read enough to know that you must have spent a great deal of time on putting all this together. And you write on every subject just as well as any other.
David Mitchell

33. Sharron - 2010-04-02 01:28:55
Such wonderful pictures of what is now, unfortunately, an almost forgotten time. Great stories which bring back memories of childhood shows, even though in another continent.

32. jonathan Blank - 2010-03-29 01:00:18
A great way to see your friends

31. Eward Reichman - 2010-03-26 13:53:46
Dear Charles,
You have created a great website and a wonderful contribution to the history of that place and time. Kudos.



30. Maggie Jones - 2010-03-24 17:22:00
A lovely website and obviously a labour of love. It’s so well put together and a real joy to navigate around.
I love the stories and memories and the photo’s too.
Thanks Charles.

29. Rob Humphreys - 2010-03-24 12:32:20
Great memories Charles, keep on adding them.


28. Bob Sanders - 2010-03-24 10:30:33

Great additions to your site. Very enjoyabloe reading.


27. THOMAS & VICTORIA - 2010-03-24 00:16:00

26. Stan Shapiro - 2010-03-24 00:05:31
Charles - site looks fabulous, especially for all those who have fond memories of this area in London. Unfortunately I was brought up in a country far, far away and never got to know this area other than for a very brief visit. Good wishes to you and to the site.

25. Cliff Lamb - 2010-03-23 20:01:41
Great memories Charles also great links to songs and shows that I’d forgotten.
Keep on adding to the pages.
Regards Cliff

24. Rick Waggener - 2010-03-22 13:16:07
A glimpse at a time and place that I am unfamiliar with and I look forward to exploring it. Thank You Charles

23. Jean Bowden - 2010-03-17 19:19:29
I am so excited to look through your website...I have just been able to glance at some of the stories but am impressed with the website!

22. leslie and Evelyn Sommer - 2010-03-17 16:59:18
The website is innovative and very informative.Evelyn’s parents were brought up in the east end and the website has given us a valuable insight into past times.It is interesting how many of the great industrialists,retailers and artists in the UK have their origin in the east end.Charles personal reminicences are of particularly interest.We shall follow the development of the website with great interest.

21. gerry wiseman - 2010-03-17 15:34:16
Hi Charles
I’m really enjoying reading your stories.

20. Margaret Howard - 2010-03-16 23:25:25
As you know I loved the story and was very impressed by yur amazing memory. Web site great.


19. Rick Melter - 2010-03-16 14:14:51
Hi Charles - what a wonderful site. I haven’t really had enough time to read it all, but I’m looking foward to it. Thanks for sharing it with me, hope to see you soon. Rick

18. - 2010-03-16 11:33:04
Enjoyed reading about ma and the vegetables. So good that these memories are being preserved. Brian

17. Marika Metting - 2010-03-15 19:53:03
Hi Charles - what a charming site! I have really enjoyed reading the memories and picturing what that must have been like for you. Thank you for putting so much time and care into this and sharing it with us.


16. Ann - 2010-03-15 15:26:24
What a wonderful site - I look forward to further reading and photos of Bow Quarter!

15. charles forscher - 2010-03-14 04:28:03
Dear Charles,
I look forward to reading your website.

14. Jeff - 2010-03-13 23:52:04
Great site Charles.I look forward to reading much more...Jeff

13. NF - 2010-03-13 14:59:10
Pretty cool to be taken back in time with all of these collected images and sounds. The links are great! You’ve really brought some of the past back to life with your very precise details. As Bob Hope would say, ‘Thanks for the memories’!

12. - 2010-03-13 13:51:35
my reading break was longer than usual this morning. Instead of reading one of your books, I started on your East End memories.
I loved it. Printed whatever I read for Gerry (he has difficulty sitting at the computer for long periods).
Stop by sometimes.
Thank you for sharing your in depth knowledge of the area and all your lovely memories.
Bona (down the road)

11. Carole Jolly - 2010-03-13 11:20:56
Hi Charles
This is a great history and I loved reading it.
All the very best
Carole Jolly
Pearly Queen of Crystal Palace
Secretary of the London Pearly Kings & Queens Society

10. Barrie Nathan - 2010-03-13 08:22:22
What a pleasant journey down Memory Lane! Well done

9. Valerie P. - 2010-03-13 08:21:53
Enjoyed your web site. I’m afraid although I wasn’t a true cockney I did have a cockney accent, which the school, I won a scholarship to, managed to eliminate. My grandfather, Arthur Warren explained that he was a true cockney as he had been born within the sound of Bow Bells. He also played the music halls before he married my grandmother, who disapproved. His family built pianos and had a company in Olympia (near Hammersmith) so my dad told me. My grandfather entertained us with his ’poems’ at every family occasion.

Valerie P.

8. Doris Riley - 2010-03-13 00:54:53
Charles, I enjoyed your website and it brought back many memories of pantomines and variety shows at the South London Palace (I think that is what was called) at the Elephant and Castle. Doris

7. Gerry Wiseman - 2010-03-12 23:32:57
You’ve put a great deal of work into this site, and it shows. I well remember the Regal Cinema, Mare St. Hackney, as well as the Empress, Mare St just a few blocks further. I spent many an hour in the queues out side both cinemas.
My best friend lived in Ellingfort Rd. just a few blocks further down Mare St.
Gerry W. now in Maryland, USA.

6. Kenneth Henderson - 2010-03-12 18:20:14
Great material keep it up.

5. Alex - 2010-03-12 18:15:25
Hi Charles,

I believe I said a few words when I first visited this incredible “time-machine” a few weeks ago, but it should be definitely said again ; a Wonderful Walk On Memory Lane!...They’re not my memories, to be sure, but it is nevertheless, great to be totally absorbed in this monumental work in which one is neck-deep in nostalgia!...You warned me…so to speak…that it is an ambitious project and a “work in progress” place, but all I can do is admire it, and enjoy it ! A great place ! I’ll probably return to it time and again…just as you were going to the Hackney with mom !...Ted Ray and his violin, and Arthur Askey’ song are so enjoyable, one HAS TO GO BACK, again and again…and there is the rest of the cast of characters on this nostalgic walk through time which I’ll try to visit again soon…

See you soon there again, and no need to overdo the shoeshine nowadays,


4. Kevin Wheelan - 2010-03-12 17:58:03
Fantastic website. I am prejudiced because I took several of the photos, but you have really brought them to life.

3. Jean Collen - 2010-03-12 17:28:29
Your site about your East End Memories makes a pleasant and interesting addition to the Internet. I am sure I will return often to browse it.

2. Audrey von Lindern - 2010-03-12 16:52:27
I was Audrey Fowler, born 1929 in Cassland Rd, Hackney E9. My mother Flo. Kelly born in Hoxton
My father Frank, born in Bow. I think I am a Cockney.
I now live in Southern Idaho USA, in the Snake River Canyon

1. Charles - 2010-03-12 15:54:57
Please feel free to make any comments about my website or write about your memories of the East End of London in this Guest Book.



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Copyrightę 2010 - : Charles S. P. Jenkins