Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Bethnal Green

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Tower Hamlets (published)

  • Date:

    1934 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    St. Matthias School (makers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hardcover cloth bound and printed paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Jean and Clive Foreman

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This small volume is a history of Bethnal Green, produced in 1934 by the schoolboys of Class 1, St. Matthias School, Bacon Street, off Brick Lane. The boys would have been between the ages of 12 and 14 when it was written. It contains 12 chapters on the history of the area, from prehistoric times to contemporary, written and illustrated by the boys, with pencil and linocut prints. Special thanks is given to several of the contributors: for writing, G. Goulding, J. Burman, L. Manning. S. Hall, W. Willis, G. Joyce and G. White; for illustrations, W. Shepherd and W. Laskey; for printing, J. Bastick, O. Johnson, and A. Buckley; and for bookbinding, A. Buckley, S. Ackhurst and E. Issit. It is a very professionally produced book, considering that it was for a school project, and contains some very interesting information on how the children of Bethnal Green perceived their home area at the time. One child says the following: "The Bethnal Green of today is terrible so say most people but were they to visit it, it is most certain they would change their views". Another comment, "Oh! if Bethnal Green were fields once again. We would have plenty of places to play without being interrupted, and our own borough would be clean and beautiful... Some time after the L.C.C. slum clearance Bethnal Green will be like the Bethnal Green of old."

Physical description

Printed book bound in hardback with moss green cloth covers, the endpapers showing Tower Bridge opening, with a fold out map of 'London before the houses' bound into the front. The book contains 12 chapters on the history of Bethnal Green from prehistory to 1934, contemporary with its publication, and linocut prints and hand drawn illustrations.

Place of Origin

Tower Hamlets (published)


1934 (published)


St. Matthias School (makers)

Materials and Techniques

Hardcover cloth bound and printed paper


Height: 15.5 cm, Width: 9.8 cm (closed), Thickness: 1 cm

Object history note

This local history book was produced by schoolboys of St. Matthias School, Bacon Street, Bethnal Green, in 1934.

Descriptive line

Book, cloth bound hardcover and printed paper, History of Bethnal Green, produced by pupils of St Mathias School, Bethnal Green, England, 1934.

Production Note

Made by pupils of St Matthias' School, Bethnal Green


Paper; Ink; Cloth


Bookbinding; Printing; Illustration


Books; Children & Childhood; Education & Learning


Museum of Childhood

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.