In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Limehouse like this:
LIMEHOUSE, a parish and a sub-district, in Stepney district, Middlesex. The parish lies on the N bank of the Thames, along Limehouse Reach, on the Lea or Limehouse Cut, on the Regent's canal, and on the London and Blackwall railway, 3 miles E of St. Paul's, London; forms part of the Metropolitan borough of Tower Hamlets; was included in Stepney parish till 1730; contains the Limehouse, the Regent's and ship building docks; and has a station with telegraph on the railway, a post office ‡ and pillar-boxes under London E. ...
It was original y called Limehurst, signifying "lime grove;" and it is said to have got that name from the existence of many lime trees on its site. The old streets are narrow and irregular; but fine wide roads lead to the E and W India docks, and to the Bow-road. The parish suffered great injury from a fire in 1716; and much of its site, prior to that time, was occupied by market-gardens and rope-walks. Many of its inhabitants are employed in ship-building, rope-making, sail-making, chain-making, cable-making, anchor-making, block-making, and other occupations connected with the docks. The limits until 1838, included part of Ratcliff hamlet, and still politically include the chapelry of Limehouse-St. John, and parts of the chapelries of Bow-Common and Ratcliff. Acres, 265; of which 16 are water. Real property, £76,915. Pop., exclusive of Ratcliff, in 1851, 22,782; in 1861, 27,161. Houses, 3,694. Pop. of the Limehouse-St. John portion, 9,531; of the Bow-Common portion, 1,838; of the Ratcliff portion, 1,927. The head-living, or that of Limehouse-St. Anne, is a rectory, united with the chapelries of St. Andrews and St. Peter's missions, and the other livings are p. curacies, in the diocese of London. Value, of St. Anne, with its two chapelries, £714;* of St. John, £300.* Patron of St. A., Brazenose College, Oxford; of St. J., the Bishop of London. St. Anne's church was built in 1724, after designs by Hawkesmoor; was one of the fifty erected by Queen Anne; is a massive structure, in the Grecian style; suffered much injury by fire in 1850; and was restored at a cost of £13,000. An Independent chapel was built in 1866; and there are several other dissenting chapels. There are also national schools endowed with £190 a year, other schools, alms houses, and other endowed charities about £140 a year; the Strangers' home for Asiatics; and the Stepney workhouse, commonly called the Children's Establishment. Limehouse Reach is the part of the Thames between Limehouse and the Isle of Dogs; has a length of about 1½ mile, and a depth of from 10 to 16 feet; and is called in its deepest part, where many foreign vessels lie, Limehouse Hole.The sub-district is conterminate with the parish.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Limehouse has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Tower Hamlets. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Limehouse and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Limehouse, in Tower Hamlets and Middlesex | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 19th May 2013
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