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.

Updates and a new domain

This site now has a new domain ( along with a rework of the design and layout. Over the coming months I’ll be reworking some of the older posts with more detailed information and updated research. I’ll also be hopefully adding some new posts on a few topics that I’ve been researching.

The mission of this site is to collect together as much information as possible about the 135 year history of the Waterlow Estate. Over the years I’ve dug up various small details and facts that are scattered through books, archives and other websites, I’m collecting them together here for others to enjoy.

As ever I’m really keen to hear from anyone who lived in the Estate in the past, I’m sure that people must have photographs of the buildings (both interior and exterior) which I would be really excited to see and hopefully share on this site.

Please get in touch via the comments with any information or corrections.


  1. Lesley Larkins

    Hi there. I’ve just found your website and I lived in Corfield Street between 1956-1966 (on the side that has now been demolished). I may have some memories and photos (not many I’m afraid) that are of interest to you. Let me know if I can help.

  2. Author

    Hi Lesley,

    Thank you for the message, I’d be very excited to hear of your memories living on Corfield Street, I’m working on a post about the street and have tracked down only a couple of images of the road before some of the blocks were demolished. If you had either images or stories I could include in that post that would be fantastic !

    Please email me via if you wish and we can talk further.

    All the best

    • Lesley Larkins

      I will go through my old family photos and sort out what is most relevant. I will also try and draw a plan of our flat to the best of my memory, which may help fill in part of the missing Corfield St layouts in your archive. I will do my best to remember and relate to you any significant stories or info regarding the estate. Obviously this will take a little while to do but I’ll send through stuff to your email as it becomes available.

      • Author

        Thank you Lesley .. this is greatly appreciated. My hope is that these pages can collect together as many memories and perspectives as possible.

  3. John

    My grandfather who was killed in the 1st war was the son of Mr & Mrs Ford of 100 Wilmot street. I am curious to know whether that address would be a mansion block as developed in the 1860s / 70s or an earlier construction.

    • Author

      Hi John,

      If he lived there after 1880 then I believe this would have been a mansion block. Studying some older maps it seems that 100 Wilmot Street was situated midway down the road on the west side. Some of the numbering has altered over the years as the flats have been expanded.

      All the best,

  4. B.Catt

    I was born in Finnis St. (No 21)In 1928 , and in time went to Wilmot St. school. We then moved to Wilmot St.(No22) and I went to Stuart Headlam school, through the arch across Three Colts Lane,on the right hand side, opposite Barnsley St.
    From there I was evacuated to Suffolk until after the bombing stopped.Thats another story. In my other comment I talked about the bomb under No22 Wilmot St. After the war my wife and I lived inNo.327 Corfield St. for a time then on to
    Hertfordshire. We both have lots of memories of the Waterlow Buildings And the environs.

    • Philip Naylor

      I’ve just discovered some relatives who lived in 91 Mape Street during WW2, just across Weaves Fields from the Waterlow Estate. Clearly the street is no longer residential so I suppose it was destroyed by bombing? The daughter died aged 30 in Jan 1942 and the father died in Jun 1943 aged 60. I’m wondering if these dates coincide with bombing in the area?

      • Sydney

        Hello there, I’m still researching this but I think there was extensive damage due to bombing, but the area was still very much active following the war and during the 1950s. I’ve found local council documents covering the compulsory purchase of many of the properties that made up what is now Weavers fields. I’m trying to figure out how much damage did occur in the war and how much remained active until the redevelopment in the late 50s / early 60s. This website has some information on a high explosive bomb falling at some point between 1940 and 41:

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