George, St., in the East

GEORGE, ST., in the East, a parish, in the Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex; containing 41,350 inhabitants. This parish is distinguished from others of the name of St. George by its situation in the eastern part of the metropolis, and was separated from the parish of Stepney, in which it was previously a hamlet, in the year 1727. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in the various trades connected with the shipping interest, in the making of ropes and cordage, and other articles for the rigging, repairing, and supply of vessels. A considerable portion of the district is of modern erection, many of the streets and lanes having been taken down to furnish the site of the London Docks, of which the foundation stone was laid by Lord Sidmouth, then first lord of the treasury, on the 26th June, 1802. These docks, with the various and extensive works connected with them, extend into the parish of Wapping, but occupy an area of 48 acres within this parish: the principal dock, which is 20 acres in extent, was completed in 1805; the entrance basin, into which is a commodious inlet from the river, occupies an area of three acres, and the dock and basin together afford ample accommodation for 220 sail of full-rigged vessels. From the great increase of trade, more room was found necessary; and an additional dock of smaller dimensions was subsequently constructed to the east of the former, and of which the entrance basin is in the adjoining parish of Shadwell. The whole expense of these extensive works, with their warehouses, quays, and appendages, is estimated at £3,000,000. Ships laden with tobacco and rice which are not of East or West India growth, and also all vessels laden with wine, brandy, or other spirits, are compelled to unload in the London docks; but vessels having other cargoes are at liberty to enter or not at discretion. The London and Blackwall railway intersects the parish in a right line, from east to west; and the entrance of the Thames Tunnel nearly adjoins it.

The living is a rectory, in the patronage of Brasenose College, Oxford; net income, £396, with a residence. The church, a handsome and spacious structure of the Doric order, with a lofty tower, was erected in 1729, and contains 3000 sittings; over the altar is a good painting of the Saviour in the Garden, by Clarkson, above which is a window of stained glass, emblematic of Faith, Hope, and Charity, inserted in 1829, when the church was new roofed, and thoroughly repaired, at an expense of £8000. The Danish church in Wellclose-square was originally built at the expense of Christian V., King of Denmark, for the use of the numerous people of that country who resided in the parish. It is a neat structure of brick, with a campanile turret, and contains monuments to several Danish merchants, and to Caius Gabriel Cibber, statuary to Frederick, King of Denmark, and afterwards to Charles II. and William III., kings of England; also a monument to Cibber's wife Jane, grand-daughter of Sir Anthony Colley. In Princes-square is the Swedish church, built in 1729, and nearly resembling the Danish church. A district church dedicated to Christ, of which the first stone was laid in March, 1840, has been erected in Watney-street, at an expense of £6028; it is a neat structure in the Norman style, with two campanile turrets, and contains 1249 sittings, of which 547 are free: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Rector. The parish also contains a chapel dedicated to the Trinity, in Cannon-street road; and another dedicated to St. Matthew, in Pell-street. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans, and a Roman Catholic chapel. The parochial school was founded in 1736, by Henry Raine, Esq., who built school-houses. He also gave £4000, new South-Sea annuities, for the foundation and endowment of a second school, or asylum, for clothing and boarding 40 girls, to be chosen from the most deserving of the first school, and to be instructed in needlework, and such domestic duties as may qualify them to become useful and respectable servants. Ten of these girls, after being four years in the asylum, are annually placed out to service, in February, and after attaining the age of 22, and bringing satisfactory testimonials from the families in which they have lived, are entitled to draw lots for a marriage portion of £100, to be given annually, provided their intended husbands be approved by the committee, and are members of the Church of England, and inhabitants of the parish of St. George, Shadwell parish, or Wapping. National schools, also, are supported by subscription. At Glasshouse-yard, near the entrance to the London docks, is an establishment of free baths, with a washhouse, for the destitute poor, opened in May, 1845: in the first year it was used by 27,662 bathers, and 35,480 washers.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.