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World War One in Tower Hamlets

World War One had a significant impact on the old Metropolitan Boroughs of Stepney, Poplar and Bethnal Green - the boroughs which merged in 1965 to become the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Containing dockside and industrial areas, the predominantly working class East End of London at this time was home to over half a million people whose lives would be directly affected by the war.

Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives holds a variety of records reflecting life in the borough itself at this time as well as immediately after the war – for example, living conditions for the returned soldiers, remembrance and war memorials. This guide identifies some key themes for further study and provides tips on how to use our collections to delve further, including information on:

  • Air raids
  • Germans in the East End
  • Military conscription Soldiers’ lives
  • Women
  • Children
  • Factories
  • Black and Asian East Enders
  • Newspapers
  • The wounded
  • Streets and buildings