I called in on the Bancroft Road Library. It’s the local library and archive, full of the documentation of east London history – books, documents and trade directories – and open to readers every other Saturday. It was originally the local Vestry Hall for the Hamlet of Mile End Old Town, part of the much larger parish of Stepney, headquarters of the Board of Guardians who looked after the workhouse next door (now the Mile End Hospital). Local government was reorganised in 1901 in favour of larger Metropolitan Boroughs and the Vestry Hall was turned into a library the following year. It included a gramophone record library after the war.
At the top of the staircase is a portrait bust of Stanley Bean Atkinson, an energetic lawyer and local councillor, who lived in a house called Stebonheath on the Mile End Road:-
Inside is the decorated ceiling with has recently been restored:-
And signs of age in the radiators:-