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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