Wombat's (Aldgate Hostel), 7 Dock Street

1830-5 to Ensign Street as the Brunswick Maritime Establishment, an early sailors' home, extended to Dock Street in 1865-7 (rebuilt 1953-8)

When I lived in the sailors' home... and a few broken plates
Contributed by Norbert_Lanfranco on Aug. 2, 2017

I lived in the sailor home, Dock St, in '57, moved to the Hearts of Oak pub, Dock St. In Ensign St, corner of the Highway, my landlord was a Maltese man, Mr Sapiro... when drunk he used to throw plates and pots out the first-floor window into the Highway. I hope it brings you a bit of history!

Photograph of bollards marking site of Royal Brunswick Theatre, 1964
Contributed by Survey of London on Dec. 19, 2016

These iron bollards, which survive, are marked RBT for Royal Brunswick Theatre, which stood, briefly (1828), on the west side of Ensign Street (then Well Street). Like its predecessor, the Royalty Theatre (1787-1826) it was destroyed by fire. The image is a digitised colour slide from the Tower Hamlets Archives collection:

https://twitter.com/LBTHArchives/status/761853569037398016

Brief history of a 'Maritime Establishment'
Contributed by Survey of London on Aug. 31, 2017

Built in 1830-5 facing Ensign Street as the Brunswick Maritime Establishment, the early sailors' home formerly on this site was extended to Dock Street in 1863-5. The hostel was purposed to ‘encourage habits of decorum, economy, and self-cultivation, and to contribute in educating [seamen] as missionaries of Commerce to the ends of the earth’ (Shipping and Mercantile Gazette, 24 May 1872). Still operating successfully by the middle of the twentieth century, the hostel was known as the Sailors’ Home and Red Ensign Club and could accommodate 235 men at any one time. Serving many hundreds of thousands of seamen over the years, it was part of a network of hostels and lodging houses which catered for the East End’s mariners, conveniently located for access to employment through the ‘pool’. The Home was rebuilt in the 1950s to designs by Brian O’Rorke and Colin Murray which were intended to upgrade facilities and ensure its relevancy, but in fact financial difficulties dogged the hostel until its eventual demise in 1974, owing to changes in the maritime trade. Presently the building is utilised as a backpacker’s hostel, Wombat’s.

Wombat's (Aldgate Hostel), Dock Street, in 2015
Contributed by Peter Guillery

1860s Dock Street frontage of the Sailors' Home, c. 1905
Contributed by Aileen Reid

Royal Brunswick Theatre (Front Elevation)
Contributed by David Charnick

Dock Street hostel from the north-west in 2017
Contributed by Derek Kendall

Dock Street hostel from the west in 2017
Contributed by Derek Kendall

Dock Street hostel with vicarage from the south-west in 2017
Contributed by Derek Kendall