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Derelict shops on Toynbee Street, E1 - any info?



I'm doing another of my mini features about the line of derelict shops I came across on Toynbee Street, Spitalfields, London E1.

Anyone know what's happening to the block or anything about the old shops there?

lang rabbie

Je ne regrette les gazebos
The combination of the brickwork, hipped tile roof and the formal layout of the shopfronts makes me think they were probably built by the LCC at the same time that the nearby Holland Estate was laid out as slum clearance (1910ish?).

However, that side of the road apparently wasn't transferred to East End Homes when the estate was, so do Tower Hamlets still own them???


'anti-human wanker'
I used to walk past them most days for a couple of years.

I wonder what state they're in, inside. Squatable?

Paulie Tandoori

shut it you egg!
They've been empty for ~10 years at least. We used a picture for a report or conference we did a few years back. I assume it's developers aiming to max out on profits, but they have been empty for ages so someone must be playing a very long game. It used to be lots of sweat shops and there was a halal slaughter house, but these shops were empty even then, afore the dickheads and red-braces and rah-rahs moved in.


Some of the shops were open recently - take a look at Google street view.

I'm posting up more pics on my blog tomorrow.


well-meaning tosser
It used to be called Shepherd Street and is marked as such on the Booth Poverty Map of 1898-99, which classifies the households along it as 'Mixed, some comfortable, others poor'.

iirc some of the boarded-up shops might have been paper and string merchants, and would guess they were there because of Spitalfields market.

Dan U

I love walking down Petticoat Lane and seeing the Gherkin loom out behind the stairwell of that big block of flats at the end

i had a quick look on the Tower Hamlets Council internal website for any references to Toynbee Street and have found nowt relevant.

lang rabbie

Je ne regrette les gazebos
Judging by the wide windows on the first floor they might have been silk weavers cottages at one point, just a guess.
Seriously doubt it. The previous buildings on the site that were cleared as "slums" might well have been. But I will eat my hat if that terrace wasn't built by the LCC sometime between 1895 and 1915 -the giveaway is the overly "architectural" design of the shopfront surrounds.

It is astonishing what a patina of antiquity can be given by leaving a building derelict for less than fifteen years.


New Member
When on a Ripper Walk, we were told that this is a 'longhouse' in which up to 200 people slept in a room; and were shown pictures of people sleeping slumped over ropes. I didnt think the building looked old enough, however dilapidated it looks, but I remain fascinated. Does anybody have a living memory of these houses, or remember tales from parents? It is potentially a beautiful building, maybe a part of it could house a museum/ memorial to The Ripper's victims?