|Mile End Road Verges||Tower Hamlets|
Together with Stepney Green Gardens and Stepney Green Park, Mile End Waste is a remnant of Mile End Green, later called Stepney Green. It was the largest of several commons in the Manor of Stepney, which extended from St Dunstan's Church to Whitechapel, and was the site of historic events, including the Peasants Revolt. In 1910-12 Stepney Borough Council planted 2 long rows of plane trees on a strip of land along Mile End Road, laid out roadside gardens and erected commemorative statues for Edward VII and William Booth. In 1865 Booth had held services in the open air on Mile End Waste, before processing to a second site on the old Quaker Burial Ground, now part of Vallance Recreation Ground.
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Mile End Road Verges, Statue of Edward VII and Statue of William Booth in distance, June 2009. Photo: S Williams
Click photo to enlarge.
Together with Stepney Green Gardens (q.v.) and Stepney Green Park (q.v.) Mile End Waste on Mile End Road is a remnant of Mile End Green, later called Stepney Green, the largest of several commons in the Manor of Stepney, which extended from St Dunstan's Church to Whitechapel. Part of the southern boundary was what is now the route along Stepney Green Park, Redman's Road, Adelina Grove, and the common was crossed by the main road from Essex to City of London (now Mile End Road and Whitechapel Road).
Mile End Waste Gardens are a strip of land planted with 2 long rows of plane trees, made by Stepney Borough Council between 1910-1912. A photograph in The Daily Graphic of 4 June 1910, headed 'Beautifying the Mile End Waste' shows a railed garden laid out with grass and flowerbed being tended, the caption recording that two strips of garden had been laid out with a third portion 'to be similarly dealt with in the near future'. A life-size bronze bust on a red granite pedestal of Edward VII, which was made by Harris & Son monumental masons, was unveiled on 12 October 1911, erected by freemasons of the Eastern District of London. The statue of William Booth and commemoration stone were placed here in 1910, the plaque inscribed with the words 'Here William Booth commenced the work of the Salvation Army July 1865. In the summer of 1865 Booth had held open air services on Mile End Waste, leading a procession along Whitechapel Road to a second service in a tent on the old Quaker burial ground now part of Vallance Road Recreation Ground (q.v.).
During the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, men from Essex camped on Mile End Green where Richard II met them on 14 June. Up in arms over the imposition of a shilling poll tax to pay for the war with France, peasants asked for imposition of standard rent for land of fourpence an acre instead of having to work for Lord of the Manor. Although the king agreed to demands the revolt failed. On 8 May 1539 armed citizens from City of London met on Mile End Green at the start of long procession through Cities of London & Westminster. 15,000 white-coated men marched before Henry VIII with drum and fife bands and sound of guns. Military exercise took place on Mile End Green on 22 July 1588 in preparation for threatened invasion by Spanish Armada. John Gerard in his 1597 Herbal recorded that pennyroyal grew in wet places here and was picked by poor women to sell in the City of London.
Tom Ridge, Central Stepney History Walk, (Central Stepney Regeneration Board) 1998