In examining the history of Bethnal Green, I have become interested in the house known as Bethnal House or Kirby’s Castle, which occupied the site where the library now is. It was built in 1570 by John Thorpe for John Kirby, a merchant and was subsequently owned by the lawyer and natural scientist, Sir Hugh Plat. Plat used the garden to experiment growing grapes and the effects of different manures. In 1602, he published Delights for Ladies with instructions about how to preserve and bottle fruits and, in 1608, Floraes Paradise Beautified, which included instructions on how to make fuel brickettes. Pepys visited the house on 26 June 1663 when it was owned by Sir William Rider, Deputy-Master of Trinity House, and described how he had ‘a noble dinner, and a fine merry walk with the ladies alone after dinner: the greatest quantity of strawberries I ever saw, and good’. In 1727, it was leased to Matthew Wright as a private mad house, later known as the White House or Blind Beggar’s House and was run by the sadist employed to cure George III of his madness. Its use as a lunatic asylum is why the local park is apparently known as Barmy Park.