Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 04:31:45 PM EST
Poplar is near the heart of the East End, right by the East India docks, the most famous of the large docks the heart of the port of London. Now located in the shadow of the towers of the Docklands financial district you only have to cross the East India Docks 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. Now left behind by the fast flowing currents of global finance the people of the area once provided the numerous and anonymous labour for the shipping trade that powered the British Empire.
As you pass the docks from the east the old great wall of the docks I remember from my childhood is now broken and discarded by numerous new shiny corporate developments, but once this proud barrier of dark grimy red brick nearly 3 metres tall 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. Its recent bulldozing a sign of the hubris of empires as true of the present as it ever was of Ozymandias.
And here it was on 2nd august 1887 that John (aka Jack) Tribe married his sweetheart Amy Ingledoo at All Saints church. They had a good life, having 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".
And they 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. The walls contained the blast, which would otherwise have flattened the entire area and 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 yesterday, 60 years later, Stella & Jim celebrated their own 60th wedding anniversary by returning to that very same church. To renew their vows and celebrate their life. Attended by their three children. Christine, Susan and Helen
Happy 60 th Anniversary Mum & Dad.