City Reach

6-storey block of flats, c.2003, formerly Whitechapel Charities School and clothing warehouse

Whitechapel Charities schools, Leman Street
Contributed by Johanna Roethe on May 31, 2017

A tender for the construction of schools in Leman Street mentions that the architect was Mr Beck.[1] This might be William Beck (1823-1907), a Quaker historian and architect, of London. In the 1860s and 1870s, Beck was in partnership with William Ward Lee (as Beck & Lee). He was surveyor to Six Weeks Meeting by 1862 and until c.1874, when he was succeeded by Lee who continued his practice. Beck retired in 1876 and resigned his RIBA membership in 1877. Beck & Lee designed hospitals in London and Saffron Walden, Quaker meeting houses, the Quaker Bedford Institute, new buildings and alterations for the British and Foreign School Society, and housing for the Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes, and the Improved Industrious Dwellings Company.

[1]: The Builder, 18 Oct 1856, p. 576

My favourite aunt
Contributed by Deekay on April 28, 2018

My great aunt, Doris Allan, was the second youngest from a dockworker's family from Canning Town. I don't know where she learned her trade as an embroiderer but she somehow worked her way up to owning her own business. She used to take me with her to her workshop in Whitechapel. The first place was demolished as it was very old and dilapidated but full of character and charm. She was on the first floor and on the ground floor they made bags. I think they were Italian? I remember the distinct smell of machine oil and cottons. After it was pulled down, she moved to Alie Street and continued to work as an embroiderer in to her 70s. Whitechapel was a part of my aunt's life as long as I knew her and probably many years before. She moved out to Essex in the 1950s but still commuted in every day - she must have had a real fondness for the place.