Eastend Memories - Homerton Hospital, The Empress and the Hackney Empire

Photo:The Hackney Empire

The Hackney Empire

(taken by me in 2009)

Photo:The Empress, Mare Street

The Empress, Mare Street

(Taken by Cinema Treasures, UK)

Photo:Site of the Plaza, Dalston

Site of the Plaza, Dalston

(Taken by me in 1993)

Photo:The Children's Hospital, Hackney Road

The Children's Hospital, Hackney Road

(Taken by me in 1995)

Photo:Homerton Hospital, entrance

Homerton Hospital, entrance

(Taken by me in 2009)

Photo:The Remains of the Central Garden, Homerton Hospital

The Remains of the Central Garden, Homerton Hospital

(Taken by me in 2009)

By Charles Jenkins

My name is Charles Jenkins.  I was born in Bethnal Green in 1943 and spent my childhood in Bethnal Green, Stepney and Hackney.  My parents had a pie 'n' mash shop at Mile End Gate on Cambridge Heath Road. 

Some of my memories of the Borough of Hackney are given on my website:


Here, there are a number of stories about the wonderful Hackney Empire.  I was taken here many times as a child, and, thanks to this, I was able to develop an appreciation for theatre.  I was fortunate enough to see many great acts and had my first taste of dance, including ballet, here.  I am in the process of uploading several stories about my trip to the Empress on Mare Street.  In addition, there is a story of the Homerton Hospital.  I am very grateful to the staff of this hospital at the time when I was a child.  As a child, I caught pneumonia and whooping cough and was thought to be on the verge of death ... twice.  My condition was considered 'very grave' and my father was brought back from Germany.  Fortunately, I was given penicillin - apparently I was one of the first to receive this 'wonder drug' - and I made a recovery.  This tale has an amusing twist to it, which I hope to share with you.

I live in the USA, but I come to England at least once a year.  When in London, I always come to Hackney, both to attend something at the 'Hackney' and to walk around.  I have always had an extremely 'soft spot' for the old 'Children's Hospital', Hackney Road and Ridley Road - I have great memories of going there on a Saturday on the 'little bus' from London Fields.  I remember having a great time looking at the stalls, eating saveloys, cakes and chips and ending up in the old Plaza, where I saw many great films.

If anyone has any comments or complaints about anything written here or on my website, I welcome hearing from you.


This page was added on 12/01/2011.