South Bromley, Tower Hamlets
A little-used name (although still recognised by older residents) for the south-eastern part of Bromley-by-Bow, which has been sliced and diced by communications improvements over three centuries
The small but elaborately ornamented Bromley Hall was built in the late 15th century as the manor house of Lower Bromley, perhaps for a courtier at Greenwich Palace. The house was radically remodelled soon after 1700 and over the following centuries served as a calico printing works, gentleman’s seat, gunpowder factory, charity home and a carpet warehouse. Bromley Hall is now in the care of Leaside Regeneration and its rooms are leased as offices for small businesses. Its location is marked on the map below.
The construction in 1770 of a short canal called the Limehouse Cut (just visible at the top left corner of the map below, on full-width screens) separated South Bromley from its parent and the locality thereafter evolved as an extension of Poplar. From the mid-19th century, factories were established beside Bow Creek with workers’ housing further inland, focused on the church of St Michael and All Angels, which has since been converted to flats.
Between 1864 and 1885 David McIntosh laid out compact but sturdy terraces to the east of St Leonard’s Road, some of which survive today. McIntosh’s Scottish origins show in the street names.
Poplar gasworks and neighbouring Abbott Road date from the 1870s. John Abbott was a former chemist who also built at Old Ford. Following extensive wartime damage Poplar council began work on its Abbott estate in 1947 and from the 1950s to the 1970s the London County Council and its Greater London successor showered South Bromley with more block of flats – many of which have since been demolished.
The most notable block is Ernő Goldfinger’s 26-storey Balfron Tower of 1967, the first public housing project by the architect whom Ian Fleming so disliked that he gave his name to a Bond villain.
The Northern Approach Road leading to the Blackwall Tunnel split South Bromley down the middle in the 1960s. The eastern part of South Bromley was further isolated by the construction of office blocks on the other side of the East India Dock Road in the 1990s.
Built south of Abbott Road in the 1960s, the Aberfeldy estate is in the process of being transformed into Aberfeldy Village, which is shown in the marketing image at the top of this article. Named after its primary thoroughfare (which in turn was named after a place in Scotland, like several streets in the locality), Aberfeldy Village will ultimately consist of 1,174 new homes, together with an energy centre, retail, community and health amenities, and what the developer describes as “public spaces and green oases woven into the build fabric.” The £250 million project is expected to be completed c.2024.