London’s Alley’s – Cotton’s Gardens, E2 – IanVisits


This probably shouldn’t be in the list, as it’s a bit too wide for an alley, but it has a former alley at the end, and a very nice bit of heritage in the road.

There seems to have been some sort of road or courtyard here since the area was originally laid out, and some older maps show a gap in the street in roughly the right location.

By 1870, the area was known as Hudson’s Court, with builders and timber yards on either side. By 1889 though it changed its name to the current Cotton’s Gardens.

At the far end, the former Cotton’s Gardens alley has been sealed off with a newish looking metal fence.

That alleyway is now a dead end, but it used to pass all the way through to Hackney Road. There used to be just a couple of bollards to stop road traffic using it as a short cut, but for some reason, they were deemed insufficient, so now there’s a big fence in the way instead.

Today the road is mostly offices and expensive looking warehouse conversion homes. A newish food market opened on the side in 2014, opposite the corner pub.

However, what is worth making a visit to see is something in the road – a manhole cover.

This is in fact a rare survivor of a time that is largely forgotten, when London’s streets were largely paved not with stone, but with wood.

This manhole cover isn’t the best survivor of its type, but there’s hardly any of them left now, and no one really seems that interested in preserving them, so pay a visit one day as soon they could all be gone.



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