East Ham was sparsely inhabited in the fourteenth century and had not changed much with the advent of the railway in the 1850s. Farmers and market gardeners grew crops for the ‘distant’ London market, their houses scattered thinly from Wanstead flats in the north to just south of the turnpike road.
A phenomenal transformation came in the second half of the nineteenth century as the demands of Britain’s growing industries and population led to the use of land for factories and, eventually, to a house-building boom. Fortunately, photos of these amazingly rapid changes have survived to add great impact to this narrative of East Ham’s past.
Brian Evans captures the rise of East Ham from an area of fields and marshes to a county borough by 1914. Bygone East Ham will fascinate all who know the place whilst adding greatly to our understanding of the making of the present district.