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120 years later

by Helen 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.

Evocative, Helen, particularly to a Tower Hamlets incomer with two Tower Hamlets boys (Royal London Hospital).

But also a strong sense of historical continuity inherent in our increasingly long lives and the passing down of oral tradition (increasingly rare though that is).

I still remember talking to a very old (but bright as a button) ex miner during a Derbyshire league cricket match - a good 40 years ago - and he was telling me about how as a young lad HE talked to his great grandfather who had fought at Waterloo...


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 05:50:03 PM EST
Albert Hale is also the name of a former President of the Navajo Nation and current Arizona State Senator.

The Crolian Progressive: as great an adventure as ever I heard of...
by Nonpartisan on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 09:36:45 PM EST
As usual, excellent diary Helen. I often think that while Jerome and a few others (who I won't embarass by mentioning by name) are the brains of this place. You are often the soul. Frequently your diaries connect the large scale ideas that we are discussing with the personal.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Aug 4th, 2007 at 03:59:22 AM EST
Thank you. You're very kind.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Aug 4th, 2007 at 05:45:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hear hear, ceebs.

you really write very well, helen, and bring your own particular views, which are broad and deep, as evinced by your diaries and posts.

write on!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 4th, 2007 at 06:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great history with a totally unexpected ending, Helen.  

Having all the details of family history is a kind of priceless social security that helps humans connect and make better decisions in context.  Having been gone for decades, I have missed a lot of details and stories of my family history and now I can't get enough because my parents' generation is gone.  

I am really glad to see families that maintain their oral history alive.  Thank you, and congratulations to your parents!

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Aug 4th, 2007 at 10:26:41 AM EST
Great diary, I really love the narrative. It's amazing how many stories a small area can carry in it. It's nice to see this one. I hope everyone had a lovely time.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Aug 4th, 2007 at 08:20:43 PM EST
What a delightful diary. Congratulations to all involved and thank you for letting us share a very personal and evocative moment.
by northsylvania on Sun Aug 5th, 2007 at 04:43:04 PM EST
Thank you, it's lovely to see you around. I was worried you might have slipped away form us.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Aug 5th, 2007 at 05:41:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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