A Walk Around Canning Town

What links Gandhi, Charlie Chaplin, Danny Dyer, Sylvia Pankhurst and Kier Hardie? Yes, Canning Town – the too often overlooked quarter of East London.

Back in early March I set off from Star Lane DLR and headed towards Rathbone Market. It was impossible to ignore the late-Victorian Italianate splendour of Canning Town Public Hall, built by the Borough of West Ham in 1892. This was the scene of many significant political meetings addressed by the likes of Keir Hardie (MP for West Ham South), Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, and Bertrand Russell.

I then went in search of the scene of one of the most intriguing meetings of the early 20th Century, when Charlie Chaplin met Gandhi in a house in Cannng Town in 1931, today marked by the Gandhi Chaplin Memorial Park.

Canning Town Newham
Canning Town near the Royal Docks

From there I crossed the A13 to Keir Hardie Recreation Ground and then along Victoria Dock Road, Freemasons Road to Canning Town Recreation Park where the walk ends at the beautiful Carnegie Library at Custom House, the birthplace of legendary East London actor Danny Dyer.