Kirstein's Mansions

1911, shops, tenements and workrooms

Kirstein's Mansions, 34-40 White Church Lane
Contributed by Survey of London on June 22, 2016

A house and shop at 34 Church Lane were the premises of Henry Bear, a tobacco manufacturer, from the 1840s to the 1880s. He evidently acquired the freehold of three buildings on the site that now comprehends Nos 34–40 and an empty site at 29–31a Commercial Road. His heir, Adam Bear, granted John Furze & Co., brewers, a 90-year lease in 1899 subject to a building agreement. The brewery was taken over by Taylor Walker & Co., and in 1901 the agreement and lease were transferred to Solomon Kirstein, a printer based at No. 38. By 1902 Kirstein had built 29-31a Commercial Road. There was then a long interval before in 1911 he redeveloped his Church Lane frontage as Kirstein's Mansions, with John Hamilton & Son, architects, and Bewley and Lissner, builders. In three storeys and attics, these shops, tenements and upper-storey workrooms linked to 29 Commercial Road.

Around 1970 David Abraham began selling knitwear at No. 34. His firm continues to trade here in 2016 when painted-shutter street art from 2012, works by Ador at No. 34 and Milo Tschais at No. 40, survived. In 2015 the David Abraham Partnership put forward a redevelopment scheme for the whole site proposing a seventeen-storey tower designed by Stock Woolstencroft. 1


  1. District Surveyors Returns: Goad maps: London County Council Minutes, 16 May 1911, p. 1226: London Metropolitan Archives, O/064/034 and 037: The National Archives, IR58/84809/2606–8: Post Office Directories: http://blog.globalstreetart.com/walls: Tower Hamlets Planning 

Kirstein's Mansions, 34-40 White Church Lane, in 2015
Contributed by Survey of London

Kirstein's Mansions, 34-40 White Church Lane
Contributed by Derek Kendall

Kirstein's Mansions, street art on north wall in 2017
Contributed by Derek Kendall

Kirstein's Mansions in 1965
Contributed by Survey of London