Globe Town

Globe Town, Tower Hamlets

A collection of council-built properties located near the western end of Roman Road, east of Bethnal Green


One of Globe Town's steel spheres, mounted on a brick-built arch
Globe Town is the best branded locality in London

A track running north from Stepney was called Theven Lane in the Middle Ages, from the Old English plural of ‘thief’. By the early 18th century it had been renamed Globe Lane, and later Globe Road, probably after a local inn.

In the 1790s land on the East­fields estate was developed by a consor­tium of builders and the scheme had become known as Globe Town by 1808.

More houses were added in the 1820s, which although small were well-built and aimed at a middle-class market.

Globe Road and Devon­shire Street station opened on the Great Eastern Railway in 1884 and closed in 1916. Inevitably for this part of east London, Globe Town had by this time become very run-down and it suffered the loss of many houses, factories and a church in the Second World War.

In the late 1940s the borough council built the Rogers estate, named after a local war hero. This was followed by a succes­sion of municipal projects that changed the face of Globe Town over the following three decades.

In 1992 the crime-ridden Rogers estate was London’s first to benefit from a govern­ment initia­tive called the ‘design improve­ment controlled exper­i­ment’ but the improve­ments were not sustained and the flats soon resumed their dete­ri­o­ra­tion. Since then, housing asso­ci­a­tions have taken over the manage­ment of many of Globe Town’s flats, while others have been sold privately.

Globe Town has a large Bangladeshi community, as well as Turkish, Arabic and Cantonese speaking minori­ties. The ward’s popu­la­tion grew by almost 30 per cent between the 2001 and 2011 censuses.

As a result of Tower Hamlets’ short-lived division into seven ‘neighbourhoods’ in the 1980s, Globe Town is the most strongly branded locality in London, with skeletal steel spheres mounted on brick columns or flat arches at all main access points.

Postal district: E2
Population: 15,190 (Mile End and Globe Town ward, 2011 census)
Further reading: Anne Cunningham, Glimpses of Globe Town, Globe Town Neighbourhood Libraries Service, 1988
and Gerry Stoker and Vivien Lowndes, Tower Hamlets and Decentralisation: The Experience of Globe Town Neighbourhood, Local Government Management Board, 1991

 

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