119 Leman Street

1845-6, part of a group of fourteen shophouses developed and built by G. W. Mayhew | Part of 117-135 Leman Street and 11-13 Hooper Street

117–135 Leman Street & 11–13 Hooper Street
Contributed by Rebecca Preston on March 29, 2019

The three-storey block standing at the southern junction of Leman Street and Hooper Street was built as a corner terrace of fourteen houses in 1845-6 by G. W. Mayhew of Argyle Street.1 The houses, which incorporated shops and workshops with dwellings over, are of yellow and red stock brick, with the windows recessed so as to give the projecting sections the appearance of pilasters. A ‘new warehouse’ built at an unspecified address in Leman Street in 1846 may be that which maps show behind the houses later in the century.2 This site came into the hands of the Co-operative Wholesale Society, most probably at some point prior to 1930, the shops and dwellings let to individual tenants and not used by the CWS itself.3 The block may have been acquired in order to avoid rights-to-light claims or perhaps with a view to its future replacement with a structure to match its more impressive neighbours. The northern corner is visible in views of 1887 and its footprint does not appear to have changed over time. Surviving drainage plans passed in 1895 for ‘new houses’ at 117 Leman Street and 11, 13, and 14 Hooper Street most probably indicate minor rebuilding rather than a replacement block. There is however the possibility that the corner premises, No. 117, was canted at some time after the view of 1887, which suggests a curved corner building, and if so this could have been implemented with the alterations in 1895. At that time Nos 11 and 13 were held on leases and No. 14 named the applicant and owner as John Mackland, trustee of the Estate of G. W. Mayhew Esq.4 The shops and warehouse certainly belonged to the Wholesale by 1935, when most of the units were leased by traders for shops and workshops with living quarters above, as they had been in the censal years of 1881–1911, with the exception of the prominent corner unit at No. 119 which was from the turn of the century occupied by the East End Mission to the Jews.5 By 1935 its neighbour at No. 117 had been taken by the National Co-operative Publishing Society Ltd.6 Work to the front walls including the ground- and third-floor cornices of 11–14 Hooper Street and 117–35 Leman Street was approved in 1937 and 1938 and in those years L. G. Ekins, CWS architect, also proposed further alterations to 14 Hooper Street.7 It is tempting to see his hand in the toothed brickwork in the recesses of the top-floor frontage but this could well be contemporary with the original building, as appears to be the case for the diagonally set courses above the second-storey window arches. By at least the 1940s the warehouse to the rear was let as a metal box factory and in 1968, when it was still in the hands of the CWS, the overall property consisted of ‘14 houses & one small warehouse let on rental’.8 The warehouse was demolished around 2000 for Pump House Mews.

  1. London Metropolitan Archives, District Surveyors Returns (DSR) serial no. 1845.0052. 

  2. DSR serial no. 1846.0005. 

  3. CWS property plan, c.1930, LMA, GLC/AR/BR/17/45017. 

  4. Leman Street drainage plans, 1895, Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives (THLHLA), L/THL/D/2/30/88 and Hooper Street/Hooper Square drainage plans, 1895, L/THL/D/2/30/81. 

  5. Metropolitan Borough of Stepney Valuation List, 1935, p.108, THLHLA, L/SMB/C/1/3. 

  6. Ibid

  7. DSR serial nos 1937.098, 1937.0870–1, 1937.086, 1937.0689, 1938.0001–2, 1937.1001–8. 

  8. CWS property plan, c.1968, LMA, GLC/AR/BR/17/077326/02. 

117-135 Leman Street from the northwest in 2017
Contributed by Derek Kendall

117-135 Leman Street from the southwest in 2017
Contributed by Derek Kendall

121-129 Leman Street from the west in 2017
Contributed by Derek Kendall