Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh visit Poplar – Photo Special

By on June 15, 2017 in News
Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Poplar this morning to mark the 100th anniversary of the day 18 children died when the Upper North Street School in Poplar was bombed during World War One.

Queen Elizabeth II visits Tower Hamlets Photo credit: Vickie Flores

On June 13, 1917 a German air-raid aiming to destroy the West India and Millwall docks missed its targets and bombed both Poplar and Liverpool Street Station.

Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh unveils a plaque to commemorate the victims of the Upper North Street disaster.

One bomb hit the roof of Upper North Street School, cut through the three floors of classes below and exploded on the ground floor infants class.

Most of the 18 children who died in the raid were from this class and were between four and six years old. Approximately 37 other children were injured .

At that time, King George and his family still went by the name created when Queen Victoria married her cousin Prince Albert: Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

The killing of 18 innocent children turned public opinion sharply against anything even remotely German.

As a direct result of the Upper North Street tragedy five weeks later Buckingham Palace announced the Royal Family would, henceforth, be known as the House of Windsor.


“Is the Queen here yet?” Excited children at Mayflower School

Todays events were lent extra poignancy due to the recent loss of life in the terrorist attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market and the horrific fire in Grenfell Tower.

However today the sun shone for the Queen and Prince Philip and a good crowd turned out to welcome them back to the East End.

High fives for everyone in the sunshine!

After a church service at All Saints the Queen and Philip visited Mayflower School in Upper North Street which was built to replace the original school.

Andrew Ashmore (in costume as Headmaster Frank Denner) and Victoria Otter (in costume as Ms Watkins, Infants Teacher)

In Poplar Gardens Recreation Ground there was another event to remember the victims of a century ago, the centre piece of this being a ceremony at the memorial in the gardens to remember the children.

Andrew Ashmore (in costume as Headmaster Frank Denner) and Victoria Otter (in costume as Ms Watkins, Infants Teacher)

Part of the education events leading up to today was Andrew Ashmore (in costume as Headmaster Frank Denner in photo above) and Victoria Otter (in costume as Ms Watkins, Infants Teacher) visiting local schools and taking them back to the days of 1917.

Victoria Otter reads a poem on peace dove in Poplar Recreation Ground


Andrew Ashmore points to the school diary entry for 13.6.17 at 11.40am when the bomb hits.


British Military Imperial Band playing outside All Saints

The icing on the cake today was the British Military Imperial Band who played for everyone outside All Saints and later at the memorial in the park. Wonderful stuff!

Thanks your Majesty!

London has had a tough couple of weeks. To see both Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip in the East End today in glorious sunshine has made a whole lot of people feel a whole lot better.

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