Documenting the history of the Waterlow Estate in Bethnal Green, East London. Comprising Wilmot, Corfield, Ainsley and Finnis Street the Waterlow Estate was built by the Improved Industrial Dwellings Company starting in 1869.

Photographs of Corfield and Finnis Street

In a recent post (Memories of growing up on Corfield Street) I mentioned that I have come across a number of photographs of Corfield Street before the blocks on Western side of the Street were demolished. As promised here are the photographs (with sources where available).

Corfield Street 1968.

Source: London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Journal Vol22 part1 (

Corfield Street, looking North from Three Colts Lane. c1970

Source: unknown

The rest are a series of photographs by Andrew Scott which were posted on the Spitalfields Life website.

Looking north up Corfield Street. The blocks on the left are boarded up ready for demolition.

Inside one of the Corfield Street flats.

Below I’ve posted a couple of images showing Corfield Street today, both are taken looking South to North.

Returning now to Andrew Scott’s photographs, but this time showing Finnis Street.

This is a guess but I think this photograph is taken from the rear of the now demolished Western side blocks on Corfield Street looking North West toward the rear of Finnis Street buildings with the Wilmot Street blocks in the far distance.

This is looking North towards Ainsley Street somewhere between Finnis and Corfield Street. By the looks of things this is during the demolition of the Corfield and Finnis Street blocks seen in the earlier photograph. You can also see a portion of what is now the Hague School on the left (this school used to be known as Wilmot Street Primary, and the Hague school was situated in the building which still stands on Mape Street). The blocks on the right are the rear of the now demolished western Corfield blocks.

This is a similar angle looking up through Finnis Street today.

Finally an image of Three Colts Lane with Ron’s Saloon to the right (also mentioned here). This photograph is by Tony Hall and is featured on Spitalfields Life.

If you look at the plans below (from the Metropolitan Archive) you can get an idea of where these photographs could have been taken.



  1. Lesley Larkins

    The last photo has reminded me that there was a general grocery shop on the opposite corner of Corfield Street (looks boarded up in photo) from Ron’s barbers that was colloquially known as ‘Vickie’s’ after the owner.

  2. Barbara Hill was Barbara Hardy.

    I lived in Seabright Street , but had family living in Finnis St. I went to Finnis/ Wilmot school, then went to Hague Street school. Weavers field was made up of Weavers cottages. and there was a Church St Andrews I think.they wereally cleared in the 1960’same. I had a friend who lived in Corfield St. We moved in 1952 but I was looked after by family every day , so I was always there.

    • Christine lowes

      Hi , I was brought up in finnis street, and went to Wilmot street school , and Stewart Headland school through the arches , then moved when I was 10 , but family in Hackney and Bow

  3. anthony plaster

    I lived in corfield street from 1949 to 1968 number 160. Top floor flat. I had 2 aunts and a grandmother who also lived in the street. It was a play street so had restrictions on speed of cars going down it, not that there were many cars at first. All the children who lived in the flats used to play in the street. The police station was just around the corner so there were always policemen walking down it, going to and from their beats. I used to have my haircut in Ron’s barbers. There was a corner shop on the corner of ainsley Street and wilmot Street called George’s.. My mum and dad used to visit a pub in three colts Lane called the lamb. I went to wilmot Street school nursery and then Hague primary school then parmiters gramme school in approach road. I have loads more memory’s if anyone is interested.

    • Sydney

      Hi Anthony, thank you for your comments. I’m always keen to talk to people with memories of the estate. I’ll drop you a line via email. You might also be interested in this post about The Lamb pub –

    • Dean

      My mum and dad lived at 83 Corfield street in 1949 when they got married
      I think that side of the street got demolished
      Number 83 would’ve been where the green is now

  4. john blake

    I lived on Finnis Street, we had balconies on the back.

    • Christine lowes

      We lived in finnis street and no cars were allowed down there. I went to Wilmot st school , I was born in 1949. So must have been there when you were. I was in the nursery at 3yrs there and remember sleeping on the camp beds lol

    • Christine lowes

      Yes that’s where our toilet was on the balcony …

    • Christine lowes

      Yes that’s where our toilet was on the balcony …

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