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Digital Gallery Images

The Gallery includes images of the borough's streets and buildings and portraits of people and communities. The Digital Gallery images are displayed as thumbnails. Full size images can be viewed by clicking on a thumbnail.

How do I obtain a copy of an image?

Photographic copies can be obtained from Tower Hamlets Local Studies and Archives (there is a charge for this service) or a maximum of 5 digital copies can be emailed to you. If you would like to use the images for publication or display please contact us at



Image Number:





Island History Trust Image Collection


William Fairburn, born 19 February 1789. died 1874. Apprenticed as a millwright in the north of England, then set up in partnership and had an engineering works in the Ancoats district of Manchester by 1824. In 1835 he established a second business on Millwall, Isle of Dogs, reputed to be the first iron ship building yard in Britain. Here Fairburn worked on new methods of iron bridge construction. The Millwall yard was sold in 1848 and became part of the John Scott Russell yard, where ‘The Great Eastern' was built.