London's Hidden History
Home of the headquarters of the DLR and the manor of George Lansbury, Mayor of Poplar in 1921, Labour Party leader and renowned pacifist. Also Grandfather to Angela Lansbury of televisions "Murder She Wrote". But could she have solved the crime of 1866 when six thousand, yes 6,000, people of Polar died of a cholera outbreak. Remember only twelve people perished in the Great Fire of London!
The cause of the spread of cholera was bad sanitation but let's not dwell on the smell of that for the moment as we have another heartbreaking bit of history to consider.
On 13 June 1917 during the First World War a bomb was dropped on a school in Great North Street killing eighteen young children. The sad occasion is remembered by a touching statue in Poplar's Recreational Park by A R Adams. A child-sized angel stands on four ten foot high black marble pillars with the names of the lost children engraved in the plinth. See it and weep.
Before leaving Poplar one must not miss visiting St Matthias Old Church. Built in 1654, the oldest building in Docklands, by the East India Dock Company, is a rare example of mixed Gothic and Classical architecture. No longer a place of worship, the London Docklands Development Corporation refurbished it and made it into a local community centre.
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