Take in some plaques, parks and a pavilion
By Graham Barker
23 November 2009
Enjoy a bracing walk this month through landscaped parks, garden squares and over a new canal bridge. And look out for some special historic plaques along the way.
Starting at Bow Road Tube, cross at the traffic lights straight ahead. As you turn left, glance upwards to the ornate green clock, erected by public subscription to commemorate alderman and suffragette Minnie Lansbury (1). A little further along - by the corner of Harley Grove - there's a chunky granite memorial to her father-in-law, George Lansbury (2), Labour Party leader, local mayor and 'a great servant of the people'.
Continue past the deco-style former Spratt's HQ and bow-fronted Central Foundation Girls' School. Then escape the traffic by heading next right along Coborn Street. There are a couple of plaques to spot here - Dr Barnardo (3) lodged at No 30 when he arrived from Ireland in 1866, and on the school wall opposite a plaque recalls entertainer Charles Coborn (4), famous for singing Two Lovely Black Eyes, who took his stage name from this street.
Walk over the zebra crossing to Morgan Street, which opens out into Tredegar Square, the most impressive of East End squares. A plaque at No 25-26 notes that Sir Charles Morgan (5) of Tredegar in Monmouthshire owned the land on which this 1840s terrace was built. Stand in the centre of the square to appreciate its splendour.
As you entered, did you spot two stone tablets on the gateposts? This is one of more than 450 open spaces acquired as King George's Field 'for the use and enjoyment of the people'. Exit by the opposite gate and follow the railings back round to the red Victorian pillar-box on Morgan Street.
Walk on, past College Terrace Centre and old Holy Trinity Church. At the corner shop go right into Alloway Road, then left to reach Grove Road. On June 13, 1944, London's first flying bomb fell on the railway bridge to your right.
Head over the crossing and into Mile End Park - which also has King George's gatepost plaques. It's well worth looking inside the Art Pavilion, beneath the landscaped grassy mound. Afterwards, follow the curved path to the right towards two bold, metal-clad university halls.
Turn right along the Regent's Canal towpath, under the railway bridge and past Mile End climbing wall. The smart new Meath Bridge comes next - reach it up steps or a slope and cross over into Meath Gardens.
Stay on the main tarmac path until the crossroads, then head right towards the metal benches. You'll soon pass a contorted eucalyptus tree planted in memory of Aboriginal cricketer King Cole (6) who died on tour in 1868. Curve gradually leftwards with the path, heading for a tall stone archway. Look back as you exit to see VPC 1845 inscribed on high - for this was once Victoria Park Cemetery.
Walk right, beside the allotments. At Roman Road cross at the traffic lights and continue into Bonner Street. Take the third left along Cyprus Street - colourful with shutters and noted for its war memorial (7) by No 76 - and at the end veer slightly right between two blocks, continue and you'll come to Globe Road. Head left along Globe Road then right along Sugar Loaf Walk - a passageway by the Camel that brings you to Victoria Park Square, behind the Museum of Childhood. Choose any path through Museum Gardens and you'll come to a drinking fountain commemorating children Alice Denman and Peter Regelous (8) who perished trying to save others in a Hackney Road fire.
St John on Bethnal Green - an impressive 1820s church designed by Sir John Soane - stands beyond. Finally, as you exit the gardens, you might spot a blue plaque at 3 Paradise Row to Daniel Mendoza (9), a bare-knuckle boxer, before finishing at Bethnal Green Tube station.
Thanks to Rachel Maile for trialling this walk.