The Tarling West Estate is located along the length of Cornwall Street between Cannon Street Road and Watney Street. Known in the Victorian period as Bluegate Fields, the estate boundaries are bordered to the south by Cable Street (or Cablestrasse as some have called it in homage to the area’s irrepressible cultural diversity) and to the North by the DLR and C2C rail track. The estate is very close to Shadwell Overground and DLR stations. Nearby is Watney Market a famous East End institution running for over one hundred years and still going strong; St George in the East church designed by architect Nicholas Hawksmoor; the Cable Street Mural commemorating the struggle against fascism by the local community in the 1930s; St George’s Gardens a public park surrounding the church and St George’s Leisure Centre. The historic relic of popular entertainment Wilton’s Music Hall, now restored as a bar and cultural centre, is less than a mile down the road also off Cable Street. , now Darrul Ummah School, was designed by Edward Robert Robson (1836-1917) in the first half of 1873, and built 1874-75, with a major extension in 1885-86 by T. J.Bailey (1843-1910) and later additions. The exterior carries a relief depicting Knowledge Strangling Ignorance (more like face-planting), by Spencer Stanhope. It was given its Grade II listing only in 2010, in a bid to preserve it from demolition. On a more modern note, three early modernist buildings designed by architect Joseph Emberton and mostly built around 1934 (two blocks of flats) are located on Chapman Street, Walburgh Street and (an office building) Commercial Road. Also, in more contemporary Winterton House (originally called Winterton Point), one of the highest buildings in Tower Hamlets and the highest brick residential building in Europe when it was built in 1968 towers over Commercial Road right next to Watney Market. It was originally dressed in light grey fibreglass cladding; inside, residents complained about a lack of privacy due to the flimsiness of the internal partitions. Tower Hamlets Council took the decision to strip it down and rebuild with heavier floors and partitions, along with a load-bearing brick exterior to accommodate them. Its twin Gelston Point wasn’t so fortunate, it was demolished in the late ’90s, whilst the acclaimed rebuild of Winterton was completed in 1999. The purpose of the steel structure on its roof was to pre-stress the new brickwork by generating more than a million pounds of downward pressure. Our own estate, Tarling West was built by a contractor called M.J. Gleeson for Stepney Metropolitan Borough Council between 1952-1954 as part of the ‘Bigland Street Scheme‘, below is a view of one of the three blocks Newton House taken in in 1988 prior to cladding.
These are just a few of the historic elements which make up our rich surroundings and make it a great place to live. From a more practical and play-oriented perspective the amazing Glamis Adventure Playground provides a unique facility for kids of all ages to play and socialise adventurously for free. The nearby Shadwell Basin, a former dock provides a watery playground for sailing, and canoeing. Though many swimmers enjoyed the basin past few summers (2016 onwards) swimming in the basin is actually forbidden, though there are plans in the pipeline being led by the Turk’s Head Charity to make an official swimming pool in Shadwell Basin in the future.
Further reading about the history of Shadwell, St Georges and Cable Street