Metropolitan Borough of Poplar
Former Town Hall, Poplar High Street
Poplar within the County of London
|- 1911||2,328 acres (9.42 km2)|
|- 1931||2,331 acres (9.43 km2)|
|- 1961||2,348 acres (9.50 km2)|
|- Origin||Metropolis Management Act 1855|
|- Succeeded by||London Borough of Tower Hamlets|
Metropolitan borough (1900—1965)
Civil parish (1907—1965)
|Government||Poplar District Board of Works (1855—1900)
Poplar Metropolitan Borough Council (1900—1965)
|- HQ||East India Dock Road (1856—1870)
Poplar High Street (1870—1938)
Bow Road (1938—1965)
|- Type||Civil parishes|
|- Units||Bow (1855—1907)
Poplar Borough (1907—1965)
Poplar was a local government district in the metropolitan area of London, England. It was formed as a district of the Metropolis in 1855 and became a metropolitan borough in the County of London in 1900.
Formation and boundaries
The borough bordered the metropolitan boroughs of Hackney, Stepney, and Bethnal Green to the west and north, and the county of Essex to the east. To the south, the River Thames formed borders with the metropolitan boroughs of Bermondsey, Deptford and Greenwich.
It was formed from three civil parishes: St Mary Stratford-le-Bow, St Leonard Bromley and All Saints Poplar. In 1907 these three were combined into a single civil parish called Poplar Borough, which was conterminous with the metropolitan borough. In 1965 the parish and borough were abolished, with their former area becoming part of the newly formed London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
It included the districts of (from north to south):
In 1921 the Borough Council, under George Lansbury and the Poor Law Union were engaged in a dispute with the London County Council and central government over poor law rates - it wished to pay out of work people more than usually permitted; and to get wealthier West End boroughs to contribute to its expenses. Several councillors were imprisoned briefly in 1921 in relation to this. See Poplar Rates Rebellion.
In 1951 Poplar was chosen as the site of the Festival of Britain's 'Exhibition of Live Architecture'. The East End of London had been heavily bombed during the war and its reconstruction was showcased at the new Lansbury Estate. New building materials and planning concepts were demonstrated. The first example of 'live architecture' on the exhibition trail was the Trinity Congregational Church and Hall, just across from the main reception area with their Town Planning and Building Research Pavilions on East India Dock Road. The trail continued with the Lansbury Estate and Chrisp Street Market.
Population and area
Poplar covered an area of 2,328 acres (9.4 km2). The population as given in the census from 1801 to 1961 was:
Constituent parishes 1801-1899
Metropolitan Borough 1900-1961
The borough had no coat of arms, using instead a seal originally designed for the Poplar District Board of Works, its predecessor, created by the Metropolis Management Act 1855. The seal depicted the emblems of the three parish vestries merged into the board.
The top shield was the seal of Poplar Vestry, and showed the 'Hibbert Gate' of the old West India Docks, with a sailing ship on top of the shield. A similar representation of the gate and ship formed the head of the vestry's civic mace, which was used by the board of works and borough council until 1965.
The shield on the left was the seal of Bow Vestry, and showed a bridge between two bows. This represented the bow-shaped bridge over the River Lea.
The shield on the right was the seal of Bromley St Leonard Vestry, and depicts the saint dressed as a bishop.
There remain a number of street signs which have been preserved with the name of the former borough.
The borough was divided into fourteen wards for elections: Bow Central, Bow North, Bow South, Bow West, Bromley Central, Bromley North East, Bromley North West, Bromley South East, Bromley South West, Cubitt Town, Millwall, Poplar East, Poplar North West and Poplar West.
For elections to Parliament, the borough was divided into two constituencies:
In 1918 the boundaries of the borough's two seats were adjusted, and one was renamed:
In 1950 the borough's representation was reduced to one seat:
- Vision of Britain - Poplar population (area and density)
- F. A. Youngs, Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol.I, 1979
- Grade II listed building description
- Grade II listed building description
- Statistical Abstract for London, 1901 (Vol. IV)
- Poplar MetB: Census Tables at Vision of Britain accessed on 4 Jan 2007
- The census was suspended for World War II
- Post Office London County Suburbs Directory, 1919. 1919. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
- Ordnance Survey 'County Series 3rd Edition' Map of London (1912-14) at 1:2500 scale. Accessed at https://www.old-maps.co.uk/
- Vision of Britain website: Population tables for Poplar Borough 
- Robert Donald, ed. (1907). "London: Poplar". Municipal Year Book of the United Kingdom for 1907. London: Edward Lloyd.
- Official Guide to the Metropolitan Borough of Poplar, 1927
- Poplar Town Hall on the Port Cities website