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Mile End and

Mile End Park

Mile End - and the green project Mile End Park.

As I have never lived in Mile End (although am not that far away from it) I am unable to give personal details of what life was and is like in the borough. I have given a brief history below, and will include any personal experiences I do happen to have, but these will be limited. I would gladly consider publishing here original articles or memories from any of the visitors to these pages. Please contact me if you would like to take me up on this. Old and original photos are especially welcome.

Mile End is part of the Borough of Tower Hamlets in East London. It was one of the earliest suburbs of the City. Many people believe that the name originated from the plagues of the thirteenth century. Apparently the bodies of plague victims had to be buried a mile away from the City of London. This is entirely unfounded. Plague victims remains have been found near and inside the city. It was written as La Mile Ende 1288 and the name came from the fact that it was a mile away from the city gate at Aldgate. It could have also taken its name from a milestone marking the point one mile east of the city boundary. The stone's position was nearer Stepney Green than Mile End but the village that evolved around half a mile from it could have taken the name of the stone.

In 1691 it was referred to as Mile End Old Town because a new settlement near Spitalfields had for some reason decided to call itself Mile End New Town. The parish of Mile End Old Town became part of the metropolitan London in 1855.

An extremely short history of Mile End

The first Doodlebug

The peasants revolt

Mile End, aMile End gallerylong with the rest of London’s East End, suffered severe damage and casualties from German bombers during World War Two during the blitz. The first ever rocket propelled bomb, the V-1 flying bomb (or Doodlebug), hit London. On 13 June 1944, exploding in Mile End. It struck close to the railway bridge in Grove Road. There is a blue plaque on the wall of the bridge commemorating the fact.

In 1381, an uprising against the tax collectors of Brentwood quickly spread first to the surrounding villages, then throughout the Southeast of England but it was the rebels of Essex led by a priest named Jack Straw, and the men of Kent led by Wat Tyler who marched on London. On the 12th. June, the Essex rebels, 60,000 men, camped at Mile End and on the following day the men of Kent arrived at Blackheath. On the 14th. June, the young king Richard II rode to Mile End where he met the rebels and signed their charter. Unfortunately, their subsequent behaviour caused the king to have the leaders and many rebels executed.

The Green Bridge

Another bMile End galleryridge in Mile End is named the "Green Bridge" even though it's yellow. It was designed by CZWG Architects in 2000 and allows Mile End Park to continue across the Mile End Road without interruption, hence the name. It contains garden and water features and some shops and restaurant space built in below. Mile End Park is an eco-park that stretches out from the bank of the Regents Canal. The park is an ongoing eco project with solar panels powering certain aspects of it.

The 21st  Century green project - Mile End Park.

Planned Mile End galleryin the nineties and completed in the early years of the new millennium, this piece of countryside in London's East end consists of many separate sections: The Play Arena, Ecology Park, Arts park, Terrace Garden, Adventure Park, Sports Park and Children's Park. It also contains a stretch of the Regents Canal and one of the most unusual road bridges in the country, the Green Bridge. This bridge, completed in 2000, allows Mile End Park to cross over the road and makes an interesting contrast with the more usual approach of building bridges for cars.

The waterside canopy

There waMile End gallerys uproar concerning the canopy on the other side of the canal when I went there. The developers wanted to pull it down to make way for blocks of luxury flats. This was in July 2006 so by the time you read this I doubt that it will be in existence. What was so special about this canopy? There were only two of these overhanging canal side warehouses left in Britain at the time, but what does history mean when compared to the revenue of 800 flats!

Hundreds of residents objected, claiming the development will ruin views and block the natural light into their own properties and onto the canal's ecosystems.

One of the strongest objections comes from the Inland Waterways Association. In its submission to the council, it says: "These remnants from the heyday of the canal system in London allowed perishable cargoes to be loaded and unloaded in all weathers." It seems to me that this space has never been needed for development before the City stMile End galleryarted to expand into the East End, but as soon as they smell a profit these greedy developers are there tearing down anything in their path to make a fast buck. I returned in February 2010 and the canopy was gone. There was work going on across the canal. That was three years ago so I imagine the blocks would have been completed before the 2012 games. I'll take a drive over there soon and have a look.

Cycling in Mile End Park

I don’t Mile End galleryknow how many cyclists use the park on a regular basis but I should imagine quite a few come up and down the canal towpath and enter it.

While I was there a sponsored ride for leukaemia was taking place and there were many people on bikes riding a circuit that took them in and out of the park between two points, and also along the canal. I haven’t got a lot of time for the cyclist normally but as this lot weren’t causing mayhem to pedestrians and motorists on the main roads and as it was for a good cause I will keep my views to myself. They were all out to enjoy themselves and as there is plenty of room they didn’t spoil anyone else’s enjoyment of this urban oasis.

If you begin to get a bit of a thirst watching the strenuous activities of others you could always stop off for a while at The Palm Tree. This is a pub that was lucky enough to have the park built around it, so during the summer months has no problem attracting customers. It’s about 20 yards from the canal.

The farmers market

The dog show

It was quite by accident that I found a monthly farmers market in the park. I just happened to be driving past one Saturday and saw a banner advertising it for the next day. I would bet that there are many local people who don’t know of it’s existence, as it was the first I had heard of it.

It was a bitterly cold day when we went there, with a wind to add to the chill. I would think there may be more traders and visitors there when the weather is better, but if you’re green and organic, and don’t mind the extra cost you can get some tasty produce there including fresh caught fish, home made sausages, bread, cakes, pies, meats and fresh free range eggs. This was a few years ago and I don't think it still exists.

The anMile End gallerynual dog show was in progress when I visited the park. It seemed like a fun thing with many different classes of breed and age. It's not too serious but a considerable number of people came to watch it. There was quite a good turnout of dogs and owners too.

Mine was only a passing visit and I didn’t explore the whole park. I will return one day and try to give the complete picture. I really want to have a look at the solar panels which are a feature of it’s ecological experiment. I didn’t realise the sheer size of the park until I got there and so was unprepared for a full article. in the mean time if you’re interested you can visit this Tower Hamlets website >>


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