Wed Aug 2nd, 2017 at 12:57:26 PM EST
Poplar is near the centre of the old East End of London. Located just north of the Isle of Dogs, that long lazy loop that the Thames takes as it begins its meander from London to the sea. There lie the East India docks, the most famous of the large docks of London.
Now shadowed by the towers of the Docklands financial district, you only have to cross the East India Dock Road, still one of the major arteries east of London, to enter into a timeless world of people who have always existed in the margins of society. They've been left behind by the fast flowing currents of global finance, but once the people of this area provided the numerous and anonymous labour for the shipping trade that powered the British Empire.
Once the old Great Wall of the docks, a 3 metres tall barrier of soot stained grimy red brick, ran for nearly a mile from Bow Creek to the Blackwall Tunnel Approach. Dark and forbidding, as impenetrable a wall as any imaginable, its very endurance a sign of the indomitable strength of the Empire upon which the Sun Never Set. Now in the 21st century, with the docks themselves "re-purposed" for the leisure industry, the wall has been breached in so many places it is more archeological artefact than bulwark, this recent bulldozing a sign of the hubris of empires as true of the present as it ever was of Ozymandias.
And here, in this new victorian development, it was that on 2nd august 1887 John (aka Jack) Tribe married his sweetheart, Amy Ingledoo, at All Saints church. They went of to have a good life, with 13 children, some lost in WW1, but they carried on as people always will. One of those children, Amy, met and married Albert Hale. Fresh back from soldiering in The Empire he would later entertain his daughter Estella with his tales of East Africa and the North West frontier, occasionally hauling out the precious photo of himself guarding the entrance to the famed "Khyber Pass".
Albert and Amy still lived in Poplar where, during WW2, the ancient medieval walls of another church, All Hallows, saved their lives when a V2 rocket made a direct hit upon it, a mere 100 yeards from where their house. The walls contained the blast, which would otherwise have flattened the entire area, killing hundreds; instead just the poor vicar caught at his devotions. Nothing can now be seen of the church, a small garden of rest is all that remains.
After the war, on 2nd august 1947, 60 years to that day in 1887, Estella Hale married James W___, himself back from service in the N African and Italian campaigns of WWII. Remarkably both John and Amy were there to celebrate with them.
And just today, 70 years later, Stella & Jim, again celebrate their anniversary.
Happy Platinum Anniversary Mum and Dad.