An East End Wharf

An East End Wharf

Joseph Pennell (1857-1926)


Illustration for Walter Besant's East London (London: Chatto & Windus, 1901), p. 25.

Pennell's illustrations for Chapter II of Besant's book show the main employments of the East End: dockworking, industry and canal working. "East London is, to repeat, essentially and above all things a city of the working-man" (22). In "Pickle-Herring Wharf," Pennell has playfully printed his name across the lowest of several links between the warehouses. This was very much a real place, though. Peter Ackroyd writes: "Mile's Lane, Duck's Foot Lane and Pickle-Herring Street were filled with the sound of carts, horses, cranes and human voices mingling with the whistles of the railway. On the banks themselves there was a profusion of commercial activity, with factories and warehouses approaching as close to the water as they dared" (548).

Scanned image and text by Jacqueline Banerjee

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