This is the second half of a two part photographic essay of life in Edwardian Forest Gate. As the previous article indicated, the Edwardian era - essentially the first decade of the twentieth century - co-incided with a boom in the production of postcards; and today we are the beneficiaries.
Many of them survive, which makes it is possible to produce a fairly detailed photographic account of many aspects of contemporaneous life, for the first time.
The first post featured a range of fairly standard shots of roads at the time - mainly bereft of traffic, resplendent with trees and showing glimpses of Edwardian dress worn by the passers-by.
Here, we feature a number of themes of community life. The photos in each are interesting in themselves, but also illustrate changing times, as the copy below illustrates.
Recreation and entertainment
Although economic times were tough for much of the Edwardian period, widespread popular entertainment developed significantly. This was supported by the emergence of a significant lower middle class, with some surplus income - and Forest Gate's population was a prime example of this; and also the widespread adoption of a five, or five and a half day, working week - which permitted time for leisure.
So, locally, concerts were regularly held in Earlham Hall, in Earlham Grove, and the Forest Gate Public Hall (later a cinema, theatre, skating rink, Upper Cut club etc) was opened for public entertainment for the first time (1902), at the every start of the Edwardian era.
Wanstead Flats attracted hundreds of people, with a bit of cash, for perhaps the first time. So, below, we show fairs, a cinema and model yacht racing attended by huge crowds, on the Flats during the first decade of the twentieth century.
Wanstead Flats was not the only very pleasant open space, locally, for a stroll - as the photo of West Ham park in 1904 indicates.
Forest Gate could claim considerable sporting success at this time too, with Clapton FC winning the Amateur Cup in 1909.
The club itself, of course, was tucked behind the famous Old Spotted Dog, and the pleasant painting, below, shows that pub, to good effect, in the Edwardian era. The pub, itself, was in competition with probably twenty other pubs and alehouses in the district, at the time - the largest and most significant of them being the Princess Alice, located less than half a mile away.
|Artists 1897 impression of Earlham Hall|
|Grand Theatre, Woodgrange Road, soon|
after opening and celebrating
coronation of Edward V11, in 1902
|Donkeys on Wanstead Flats, Whitsun Fair - 1900|