The Anonymous Widower

In Search of Jack Nissenthal

In the web site on the BBC relating the story of Jack Nissenthal, it says that he was born in Cottage Row in Bow.

Yesterday, I decided to find out more.  searching the Internet, showed no trace of Cottage Row in Bow, so I took the bus to my nearest big library; the City of London, library in the Barbican Centre. There displayed in a cabinet was a map of poverty for London and a Cottage Grove could be easily seen in Bow Neighbourhood, but not a Cottage Row. My up-to-date A-Z didn’t show Cottage Grove at all. So the librarian and myself concluded that development had taken place and the street pattern had been changed. Rhondda Grove seemed to occupy the same place as Cottage Grove.

So it was a tube ride to Mile End station via Bethnal Green to see what I could find.

Rhondda Grove/Cottage Grove in Bow

This picture shows the end of Rhondda Grove. Note the Cottage Grove sign with a date of 1823.

It is a pleasant street now with most of the terrace and other houses now fully modernised. 

Rhondda Grove, Bow

There appeared to be not too many spaces or new properties, that would be typical of bomb damage.

So was this the street where Jack Nissenthal grew up?

I then went to Tower Hamlets Archive Centre in Bancroft Road just around the corner.

They did confirm from a 1920s London Street Atlas, that there was only one Cottage Row in London at the time of Jack’s birth and that was in South East London. Cottage Grove had not yet been renamed.  On searching the large scale maps of the area, I did find that the street seemed to have been renamed in the late nineteenth century.  There were also a few mews houses behind the street.  So could one of these been known locally as Cottage Row?

May 11, 2011 - Posted by | World | , , ,


  1. The poverty maps you mentioned are probably the Charles Booth ones.
    They are fully searchable online ( and very addictive, too!)

    Comment by Helpful Genealogy | June 22, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Naomi. Did you think I got that right? I now drink in the pub fairly close to where my grandmother was born. And it was there when she was!

      Comment by AnonW | June 22, 2011 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: