Twitter logo Facebook logo Flickr logo

Tel: 0333 370 4700

Enrol: 0207 364 5665

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


Ethel May Thomson 1920s

Image Number:





Island History Trust Image Collection


Ethel May Thomson (nee Robinson), little Edith Mary Thomson and Alec Thomson, of Millwall, Isle of Dogs. As a boiler maker living on the Isle of Dogs (he is wearing his badge in this photograph), Alec was involved in the first electric welding undertaking in Britain, Before the First World War, a German firm called Bloom and Voss was contracted to the local firm of Green & Siley Weir, for ship repair work. Bloom and Voss were the first firm registered with the Board of Trade and Lloyds to use electric welding. When the war broke out, they had to return to Germany and a local firm, the British Arc Welding Company, bought the rights to the electric welding operation. This firm did well, and had to move away to larger premises, but in time Green Sioley Weir, according to Alec's recollections, starved the firm of business and then bought them out, taking over the electric welding rights for themselves. Alec worked for both companies. Welders earned a good living in the 1930’s. Alec had worked as a welder for both companies.