Bethnal Green opened on 4th December 1946, the first stop on the eastwards extension of the Central Line. The station has no buildings at street level. The platforms have the familiar tiling seen elsewhere on other stations built or rebuilt around this period, including the Harold Stabler tiles previously encountered at stations such as Aldgate East.
Three years before it opened, the station was the site of a tragedy during war time. The tunnels for the Central Line extension were mostly complete at the onset of the blitz in 1940 which saw the facilities transferred over to the local authority and was used as an air raid shelter. On 3rd March 1943, a woman and a child tripped near the foot of the staircase, resulting in others falling which led to a crush that saw 173 people die – this is believed to be the largest lost of civilian life in a single incident in the UK in World War Two. As this disaster happened during wartime, the reasons behind it were effectively covered up and any Government culpability for failing to make requested improvements to the stairwell. A modern memorial, ‘The Stairway to Heaven’ is being built outside the station and is currently two thirds completed with fundraising ongoing to complete the structure.
The Pub: The Camel, 277 Globe Road, E2 0JD
The Camel is about a five minute walk from the station. Head along Roman Road, turning onto Victoria Park Square. Walk up here until reaching Sugar Loaf Walk, a small paved alley which leads to The Camel. The scene of the pub with its lovely old tiled frontage opposite the grand old Victorian school building felt to me evocative of ‘Old London.’
The first thing you’ll spot about The Camel is its lovely old tiled frontage. Inside its a fairly compact one room pub. The decor is a mix of the traditional the contemporary with the wooden floor boards and wall panelling contrasted with the vivid rose patterned wall paper. There are also plenty of plants dotted around keeping the place colourful. It has also a small outside seating area in the alley outside, backing onto a small green.
It was mildly busy on the Saturday afternoon we visited with a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. With its large selection of board games, it felt very much like somewhere you could happily while away an afternoon in. There is one TV here which was showing athletics unobtrusively in the background.
The Camel had four ales on tap on our visit, Broadside, Wild Hop, Wandle and the ever-reliable Tribute. Food wise, its known for its excellent pies with plenty of options available for both veggies(wild mushroom and asparagus) and meat lovers alike. Sadly I didn’t have the opportunity to try any of them out this time!
The Camel is a top East London boozer which retains its traditional character and charm. I really liked it here and would say its definitely worth making that short hop out of Central London to visit.