A Bethnal Green Walk

Route & what to see


A 3 mile walk from Bethnal Green tube station (Central Line) to Shoreditch Station (Overground). Look out for street art on the route [example 1] [example 2]

Use Museum of Childhood exit from station
The station was designed by Charles Holden in 1939 but not opened until 1946. St John's Church was designed by John Soane in 1826-8.

Cross Roman Road
Stairway to Heaven is a new memorial to the 173 people killed on 3 March 1943 when Bethnal Green tube station was in use as an air-raid shelter. Following a salvo of anti-aircraft rockets someone tripped on the stairs causing many others to fall. It was the worst civilian disaster of WWII.

Enter Bethnal Green Gardens and walk across to the library.
This was built as the male wing of a lunatic asylum in 1896 and adapted as a library in 1922. It has pretty Adam style ceilings and reliefs of famous people. There is a war memorial window on the first floor, featuring Peace, Manhood and Motherhood. [

Take the pathway to Roman Road.
The Park Kiosk is an air vent for the underground. The Bethnal Green Estate was borough housing of 1922-4 built on the site of Bethnal House Asylum.

Right along Roman Road
Further along on the left a former fire station of 1888 and 1911 was converted to a Buddhist Centre in 1978. The new entrance has a decorative gateway.

Left along Globe Road.
Globe Road was a trackway between Bethnal Green and the Globe pub at Mile End. Mendip House was built in 1900. Globe Primary School has mosaic panels. The Camel pub has attractive tilework.

Follow Sugar Loaf Walk alongside the pub. Detour left at the end.
View numbers 17 & 18 of 1683-90 and number 16 of 1888 with its Gothic chapel.

Right (northwards) through Victoria Park Square.
Montfort House was built in 1901 and Mulberry House in 1934-6 for Samuel Barnett’s East End Dwellings Co. Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church is of 1911-12 by Edward Goldie. St Margaret's House has been a Jewish School, ‘asylum’ for prostitutes and women’s settlement. An Edwardian extension includes a small chapel by Paul Waterhouse.

Left at Victoria Park Square.
Nettleswell House on the left is the oldest house in Bethnal Green, built in 1646 and restored in 1705 & 1862. Numbers 1-4 were built 1787-91 and 17-19 in 1753. Number 19 was the East London Juvenille Court and number 17 was the Maritime Penitent Female Refuge. York Hall was opened in 1929 on a former factory site. The building also housed baths, laundry, wash house and Turkish Baths.

Return and take the footpath opposite the RC Church
There is an old school building on the left.

Left at Patriot Square
The former town hall is now a hotel. The first section is an extension of 1939 [
pix] with the original 1910 building towards the main road. The Patriot Square entrance features a relief of the Blind Beggar.

Right at Cambridge Heath Road
Part of the 1900 infirmary has been retained and incorporated into the 1990s residental redevelopment of the site. On the corners with Parmiter Street are the former Cambridge Heath Estate (1926-7) and a large warehouse.

Return along Cambridge Heath Road passing the 1910 town hall frontage.
The Museum of Childhood was built in 1868-72 to incorporate a temporary building, known as the Brompton Boilers' from South Kensington. The site was purchased by Sir Antonio Brady and others and transferred to the government on condition the ground remained a public garden. Opposite is the Bethnal Green Mission rebuilt in 1955.

Cross to the mission then walk through Paradise Gardens
The Paradise Row houses were built around 1800. There is a blue plaque to the boxer Daniel Mendoza.

Right at Bethnal Green Road
The Pott Street Chapel of 1849 was damaged in WWII and is now used by the United Reform Church. The Shakespeare pub was built in the 1890s. The former police station of 1917 is by John Dixon Butler. The former Camden's Head pub was built in 1864.

Left at Wilmott Street
Homes here were built by the Improved Industrial Dwellings Company.

Take the path into the park past numbers 121-5
Weavers' Fields was created in the 1970s by the clearance of early 19th century weavers’ cottages.

Walk through the woodland area on the left.
There is an information board relating to this. [
click here]

Exit the woodland area and take the main path towards a tall artwork.
This is called Weaving Identities by Peter Dunn. The figures represent park activities intertwined with silk ribbons and the surrounding bricks were designed by local children. [
pix] Across the park is a view of a 1883 school by ER Robson.

Exit the park towards Tescos
On the right is Oxford House of 1890-2 by Sir Arthur Blomfield. It was built to house 20 residents with education rooms and a chapel. It was remodelled in 2002 and now has a caf and theatre.

Left along Bethnal Green Road.
St James the Great Church was designed by Edward Blore in 1842. The church and its vicarage were converted to housing in 1990. At number 332 E Pellici has an attractive interior. Number 281-5 was remodelled as Smarts Picture Palace by George Coles in 1934. The Marquis of Cornwallis pub was built in 1850.

Left at Buckfast Street.
Notice Voss and Darbyshire Streets on the left.

Right at Sale Street
St Matthew's Church was designed by George Dance the elder in 1743-6 and remodelled by TE Knightley in 1859-61 after a fire. The building was gutted in 1940 and repaired post war. Visable from the churchyard are the former National School of 1820 [
pix], the 1905 Rectory and a social centre.

Exit into St Matthew's Row and go left into Wood Close.
On the corner is a former watch house of 1754. [
pix] This was extended in 1826 to house a fire engine. Wood Close SLB School was built in 1900 to the designs of TJ Bailey. The walls are decorated with mosaic panels.

Right at Cheshire Street
Reflection Works were a 1860s goods depot. Number 46 is 18th century with weaver's windows. The neighbouring building (now Blackmans)  was an 1860's pub.

Detour into Chilton Street.
The Mission House was built 1887-9.

Return to and continue along Cheshire Street.
Numbers 8 – 40 are a terrace with shops of 1870-2.

Right at Brick Lane
Former Clarks Dining Rooms and railway features are visable to the left. An old street sign remains on Scalter Street. Numbers 149 & 161 were weavers’ cottages.

Cross Bethnal Green Road and go left along Redchurch Street.
This was originally Church Street. The Labour & Wait hardware shop features green tiles. Streets to the right lead to the Boundary Estate.

Left at Club Row then right along Bethnal Green Road.
Le Trois Garcons has an interesting interior. The Beach Blanket Babylon is a former warehouse. The Tea Building was built as a warehouse for Liptons in 1931.

Left at Shoreditch High Street
Box Park is pop up shops and cafes.

Shoreditch Station is adjacent.



The Buildings of England London 5: East by Cherry, O’Brien & Pevsner
Stairway to Heaven [


london-footprints 2012