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History of the Area

There is much available online about the history of the City of London, so I am just going to cover the area of the city around Cannon Street in which these photos were taken.

Cannon Street lies in the City of London about 250 yards north of the River Thames. The name of the area is derived from Candelwrichstrete 'the street of candle makers' and the name has nothing to do with firearms. It has been known as Cannon Street since the 17th century. Cannon Street starts at St. Paul's Cathedral, passes Mansion House, Cannon Street Station and ends at The Monument.

A historic landmark known as the London Stone was once located in the middle of the street. It is thought to date from Roman times and has been a landmark ever since. It is made of limestone that originated in Rutland and is of a type used for building by the Romans. It has a new home in a setting opposite Cannon Street Station. It has featured in many works of fiction.

London Stone
London Stone in its new housing [15]

Cannon Street may have been the site of the Roman Governor's Palace as, over the centuries during building works, extensive ruins including mosaics have been found. Many narrow lanes led down to the waterfront and goods were brought to the city by small ships and barges. The area became a centre for the cloth trade as well as skins and furs used for clothing. There were many churches in the area before the Great Fire of London which destroyed many of them.

Cannon Street Station opened in 1866 and was built on what was once the site of a medieval steelyard owned by the Hanseatic League. It was built to provide services into the City of London from the south and southeast and to Charing Cross in the West End of London. Network Rail say 22 million passengers currently pass through it every year.

Great St. Thomas Apostle

I knew that the next photo was taken in the Cannon Street area but it has taken me over 20 years to finally track down the location as the strangely named street Great St. Thomas Apostle. The street is close to Mansion House underground station and to Garlick Hill, the centre of the fur trade at that time. I located it by matching some of the names of furriers that can be seen in the image in a 1931 business directory - A. & C. Miller, SLA Solomon, Gerhard and Hey Ltd, Raw Furs Ltd., Thorers on the left of the street and Jack Poser, F.E. Pollard and Co, J.H. Klemin (Rauchwaren Pelleteries) on the right of the street. The area between Cannon Street Station and St. Paul's was badly damaged in the Blitz and much of it was rebuilt.

My grandfather stands on the right next to the Callender's sign. The photo looks along Great St. Thomas Apostle in the direction of Trinity Lane. The other two men in the photo are in many of the other photos in the set and I believe them to be engineers.

Cannon Street
Cable laying at Great St. Thomas Apostle London EC4 [1]

The location of the following photo puzzled me even longer but I finally realised it is also of Great St. Thomas Apostle from the name F.E.Pollard over one of the doors. It is looking the other way up the street from the previous photo. My grandfather is on the left.

Cannon Street
Cable laying at Great St. Thomas Apostle London EC4 [1]
Great St. Thomas Apostle
Great St. Thomas Apostle marked on 1916 Ordnance Survey map [2]

What makes me certain of the location is the building at the end of the street which has changed a lot less than the buildings in Great St. Thomas Apostle itself.

Great St. Thomas Apostle
Great St. Thomas Apostle looking towards Trinity Lane from Google Street View [7]

Cannon Street

This photo shows a group of Callender's workers and engineers near Cannon Street. I have been unable to confirm the exact location, but it is close to one of the premises of the Union Cold Storage Company. There is a street name plate top right, but it is too blurred to make out. Union Cold Storage had several sites in the area so that doesn't help.

My grandfather is second from left in the front row wearing his gold pocket watch. Two of the three men to his right are in the Great St. Thomas Apostle photo and elsewhere in this collection.

Cannon Street
Callendars staff posing somewhere near Cannon Street [1]

Note: The Union Cold Storage Co. was discussed at great length in parliament in 1904 when complaints were made regarding this company being the chief destination for frozen meat coming from New Zealand - they had cornered the market. Frozen goods would be transported by rail to other parts of the country and an argument was made that ships should deliver to Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool and Glasgow.

This extract from the 6" Ordinance Survey map of 1938 shows the Cannon Street and Southwark Bridge area.

Cannon Street
Extract from Ordnance Survey 1938 [2]

The next page covers cable-laying at Covent Garden and Holborn.