Greater Whitechapel: 116 to 128 Commercial Road

Family Bloom at the King's Head
Contributed by nb09+- on Nov. 23, 2018

My late grandfather (David Bloom) was the tenant of the King's Head Public House from 1899 until he passed away in 1925. The tenancy was initially in the name of his brother-in-law, Abraham Golder, then in the name of his brother- in-law David Harris, and then in his own name.

The King's Head was built in 1826, when its customers consisted mainly of wagoners and seafaring men. Commercial Road, in which the pub stood, was constructed during that period to link the West India Docks with Central London, and alongside it were water meadows and marshland running down to the riverside. During the nineteenth century it became part of the Jewish East End. During the first decade of the century, there were few people of substance in the East End who were not in the drink trade. In 1908 the Borough of Stepney, with a population of 310,000, had only 349 ratepayers whose rental qualified them for a place on the roll of jurors, and, of them, 154 were publicans. In St George's, twenty were qualified, and thirteen were publicans; in Shadwell seven qualified, all of them publicans. My father, his parents and two of his older sisters worked in the pub. My Auntie Sophie and Father Alf behind the bar, and my Auntie Nellie helping my grandmother (Fanny Bloom) with the cooking. The King’s Head was in business until the 1990s.

In January 2000 my cousin Jeffrey Maynard who has been researching the family history for several years and supplied this information, visited 128 Commercial Road and found that the pub was being rebuilt, as a shop. According to one of the builders at the back of the building (it was on a corner), it had closed down about three years previously, and was being rebuilt, rather than restored. Only the large basement was left in original condition. The last I heard, the premises were being used as some form of educational establishment. I would appreciate any information as to who held the tenancy after 1925, as my grandmother, father and his siblings didn't move from Commercial Road until the late 1920s.