Cable Street

Cable Street

Cable Street (pronEng|ˈkeɪbəl striːt) is a mile-long road in the East End of London, with several historic landmarks nearby, made famous by "the Battle of Cable Street" of 1936.


Cable Street runs between the edge of The City and Limehouse: parallel to, and south of, the Docklands Light Railway and Commercial Road, and north of The Highway.

The area is close to Wapping and Shadwell Basin (to the south), Tower Hill (to the west), and Whitechapel and Stepney (to the north).Since many Londoners now define their locality by the nearest tube stations, this area is often referred to as Shadwell.

Cable Street is in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, in postal district E1. It lies within the parliamentary constituencies of Bethnal Green and Bow and Poplar and Canning Town, currently represented by George Galloway and Jim Fitzpatrick.


Cable Street started as a straight path along which hemp ropes were twisted into ships cables (ie ropes). These supplied the many ships that would anchor in the nearby Pool of London, between London Bridge and Wapping & Rotherhithe. The length of rope needed for the sails on the ships was a mile in length and this is why Cable Street is exactly one mile long.Fact|date=April 2008 Many other "rope walks" can be seen on later maps, showing how demand for ropes grew as shipping increased.

Until Victorian times, the current Cable Street had different names for each of its sections. From west to east these ran: "Cable Street", "Knock Fergus", "New Road", "Back Lane", "Blue Gate Fields", "Sun Tavern Fields", "Brook Street".

Knock Fergus is probably a reference to the large numbers of Irish residents there then. Also, in the 19th century, the area at the western end was identified as "near Wellclose Square", as this was a well-known landmark, where nautical items were sold. The whole of the central area of the current street was named after St George in the East church and its parish.

From Victorian times through to the 1950s, Cable Street had a reputation for cheap lodgings, brothels, drinking inns and opium dens.

The last occasion in England when a stake was hammered through a sinner’s heart at an official burial, took place at the junction of Cable Street and Cannon Street Road. John Williams was found hanged in his cell, after being arrested as a suspect in the Ratcliff Highway murders. Local people went along with the claim that he had committed suicide, from guilt of the crimes. At the time, 1812, suicide was considered to be sinful, and justified him being buried upside down with a stake through his heart. His skull was found when new gas mains were being laid in the 1960s, and was on display for many years in The Crown and Dolphin pub opposite.Fact|date=October 2007

In 1936, a violent confrontation between the police and local communities, was later named the Battle of Cable Street. Communist, Labour and Jewish groups joined with locals to resist a planned march through the East End by the British Union of Fascists. A large mural on St George's Town Hall next to Library Place, depicts scenes from the day. A red plaque in Dock Street commemorates the incident.


(west to east)
* Wilton's Music Hall - the world's oldest surviving grand music hall
* Wellclose Square
* The Crown and Dolphin (ex-pub)
* Church of St George in the East
* terrace of Georgian Houses, nos. 192-232
* The Britannia (ex-pub)
* St George's Recreation Ground
* Mural of the Battle of Cable Street
* St George's Hall - the old town hall
* St Georges Swimming Pool
* Shadwell tube station
* Shadwell DLR station
* Watney Market
* Shadwell Fire Station
* Blue Gate fields primary school
* St Mary's church
* terrace of Georgian cottages
* Kings Arms - the only pub left in the street
* Cable Street Studios - artists workshops



The whole street allows motor traffic to travel one-way: mostly west-bound, but east-bound east of Brodlove Lane. It lies outside of the London congestion charge zone.

A separate cycle path runs along the whole street, and is well used by cycling commuters.


Buses 100 and D3 both pass west-bound through the central part of Cable Street:
* 100 connects to Wapping, Liverpool Street, St Pauls and Elephant and Castle.
* D3 connects to Isle of Dogs, Limehouse, Wapping and Bethnal Green.
* 339 connects to Mile End, Bow and Old Ford - from next to the DLR station.

Rail - all in London Transport's Zone 2

London Underground stations:
*Shadwell tube station: on the East London Line
*Tower Hill tube station: on the Circle Line and District Line
Docklands Light Railway stations:
*Shadwell DLR station
*Limehouse DLR station
National Rail stations:
*Limehouse railway station


People associated with the area:

;PoliticiansMembers of Parliament, for Bethnal Green and Bow :
* George Galloway, Respect (MP 2005- )
* Oona King, Labour (MP 1997-2005)

Members of Parliament, for Poplar and Canning Town :
* Jim Fitzpatrick, Labour (MP 1997- )

;Science and Medicine
* Dr Hannah Billig (1901-1987) - a local doctor who became known as "The Angel of Cable Street". A blue plaque marks her home surgery at number 198, near Cannon Street Road.
* Sir William Henry Perkin (1838–1907) chemist who discovered aniline purple dye, mauveine, in a hut in the garden of his family's Cable Street home. A blue plaque marks the site, by the junction with King David Lane.

* Jack 'Kid' Berg (1909–1991) - Lightweight Champion Boxer, born in Cable Street, by Noble Court;Literary figuresVictorian Era:
* Oscar Wilde visited the opium dens off Cable Street, near Dellow Street
* Arthur Conan Doyle visited the opium dens as research for his detective character Sherlock Holmes.Edwardian Era:
* Isaac Rosenburg (1890-1918), poet & painter, lived at 47 Cable Street from 1897 to 1900, when he attended St. Paul's School in Wellclose Square.

; People inspiring local street names
*Thomas Barnardo - Victorian philanthropist who established homes for destitute children
*Nicholas Hawksmoor - architect who designed the church of St George in the East
*Nathaniel Heckford - a young doctor who founded a local children's hospital
*Harriet Martineau - Victorian journalist and writer: populariser of political economy
*Daniel Solander - Swedish botanist who travelled with James Cook exploring the Pacific islands
*Emanuel Swedenborg - Swedish scientist, philosopher and mystic, in the Georgian era

Neighbouring Streets

west of Cable Street

*Royal Mint Street - formerly Rosemary Lane (in 1830)

north of Cable Street starting from the west:

*Leman Street - formerly White Lion Street, leading to Leman Street, (in 1830)
*Mill Yard
*Back Church Lane
*Pinchin Street - formerly Thomas Street (in 1862). "Historically noteworthy for its curve and arches, showing where the branch of the railway used to run, towards the goods yard to the north west."
*Stute Street
*Christian Street - the barricade created during the Battle of Cable Street, was near this street's junction with Cable Street
*Golding Street - formerly Low Grove Street (in 1862)
*Cannon Street Road
*Watney Market - formerly Watney Street (in 1862)
*Watney Street - formerly Charles Street (in 1862)
*Cornwall Street - formerly Upper Cornwall Street (in 1862)
*Shadwell Gardens
*Shadwell Place - formerly Lower Cornwall Street and Sun Court (in 1862)
*Sutton Street - formerly Church Road (in 1862)
*Martineau Street
*Johnson Street
*Poonah Street
*Hardinge Street
*Hardinge Lane
*Devonport Street
*Barnado Street - formerly James Place (in 1862)
*Stepney Causeway
*Pitsea Street - formerly Dorset Street (in 1862)
*Caroline Street
*Ratcliffe Cross Street - formerly Ratcliffe Square and Periwinkle Street (in 1862)
*Boulcott Street - formerly George Street (in 1862)
*Commercial Road - major radial route into Aldgate - runs parallel to Cable Street

east of Cable Street

*Butcher Row - formerly Butcher Row and White Horse Street (in 1862)
*Narrow Street

south of Cable Street, starting from the west:

*Dock Street - already existed as Dock Street in 1830
*Ensign Street - formerly Well Street (in 1862)
*Graces Alley - between Ensign Street and Wellclose Square - home to Wilton's Music Hall
*Fletcher Street - formerly Shorter Street (in 1830 & 1862)
*Wellclose Square - already existed as Wellclose Square in 1830 & 1862
*Hindmarsh Close
*Swedenbourg Gardens
*Betts Street - formerly connected Cable Street to The Highway (in 1862)
*Crowder Street - formerly Denmark Street (in 1862)
*Cannon Street Road
*Hawksmoor Mews
*Bluegate Mews - formerly St George's Place (in 1830)
*Library Place - formerly Prospect Place (in 1862)
*Angel Court - in 1862, Angel Gardens was where Bewley Street is now.
*Dellow Street
*Bewley Street - formerly Albert Street (in 1862)
*Sage Street
*Lowood Street
*Solander Gardens
*Twine Court
*King David Lane
*Juniper Street - formerly Juniper Row (in 1862)
*Tarbert Walk
*Glamis Road
*Redcastle Close - formerly Carriage Way (in 1862)
*Glamis Place
*Brodlove Lane - formerly Love Lane (in 1862)
*Elf Row - formerly Elm Row (in 1862)
*Glasshouse Fields - formerly Glasshouse Street (in 1862)
*Schoolhouse Lane
*Heckford Street - formerly Burlington Place (in 1862). "No longer connected to Cable Street"
*Cranford Street - formerly Harris Court (in 1862)
*Bere Street - formerly connected through to Butcher Row (in 1862)
*Ratcliffe Orchard - formerly The Orchard (in 1862)
*The Highway - formerly Ratcliff Highway. Then St. George's Street, High Street (Shadwell), Cock Hill and Broad Street (in 1862).

See also

*Battle of Cable Street
*The Highway
*St George in the East

External links

* [ Wiltons Music Hall]
* [,+london&sll=54.162434,-3.647461&sspn=9.658919,29.179688&ie=UTF8&z=16&iwloc=addr Cable Street on Google Maps]

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