Memorial stone in East London Cemetery to eight Civil Defence workers who were killed during an air raid at Custom House School, April 1941. Several streets in Canning Town are named after the men, such as Appleby Road on the Keir Hardie estate.
Plans have been announced that the Australian Olympic team are going to set up their Headquarters in Newham for the 2012 Games at the new Westfield Centre at Stratford, well the Sporting stars of Australia had a `second home` with West Ham (now Newham) for many years.
Since the arrival of Speedway (Dirt Track) Racing from Australia in 1928, invented by the Great Australian Showman Johnnie Hoskins in 1923, the Australians have always seen West Ham as being a` Home` for their Champions.
The first-ever Speedway meeting at West Hams Custom House Stadium in July 1928 showed three Australians who were to become Champions in Great Britain, Paddy Dean (who won the West Ham Invitation Handicap at this meeting), Billy Galloway and `Buzz` Hibbard (who became a member of the first West Ham team in 1929 along with another Aussie, Les Maguire).
Later, a young Australian called Arthur Wilkinson arrived and became a member of the team.
He was to become West Ham’s First World Speedway Champion in 1938, and know to all as `Bluey`.
Ships from all over the world used to berth at the Docks to unload their cargoes - grain, meat and tobacco among them. Here is a glimpse of that era.
"A Walk Through the Victoria and Albert Docks"
Extract from London-over-the-Border Church Fund Grand Historical Bazaar Handbook 1914
By J. G. BROODBANK - Chairman of the Dock and Warehouse Committee of the Port of London Authority.
"During the last ten years there has been a marked revival in this country of the Imperial spirit. The seed was sown in the English nation when the adventurers of the Elizabethan period stepped out into the world to see what was to be seen and to take what could be taken. Fortunately the moderns are not guided by the buccaneering impulses of the 16th century, and without making invidious comparisons we may fairly claim to say that the ideals of the true British imperialist of to-day show a considerable advance on those of his ancestors. Those ideals are varying, but underlying them is a real desire for co-operation in the best interests of everybody in the British Empire.
How can this co-operation best be achieved? Undoubtedly it is greatly assisted by the exchange of neighbourly and pleasant sentiments and acts; but to my mind not the least practical method is that of the exchange of goods, in other words, by the relationships created by trade.
If this point is a good one, then the Victoria and Albert Docks can be reckoned as one of the chief elements in the promotion of the imperial ideal, for there is no place in the whole of the British Empire where so many goods are brought in from the Colonies and overseas possessions, and where so many goods are sent out to those parts of the Empire.
By Robert J. Rogers
There was one thing that seemed only to be done by Speedway Fans, that was to wear your team scarf adorned with not only your teams badge, but the badges of other teams. The main Idea was to swop your team badge with one from a supporter of another team to build up a collection.
Gold metal and red and blue enamel badge, pin fixing, marked Birmingham Medal Co.This type issued in 1937.
Speedway arrived at West Ham in July 1928. Alderman Jack Jones, MP, opened the first meeting. The last meeting was in 1972. The supporters club ceased in the 1980s.
Badge property of Bill Durie
MEMORIES OF CUSTOM HOUSE AREA AND THE DOCKS.
BY J. H. R. HAMMOND, B.A.
Ray Scull who grew up in Canning Town, is project manager for construction firm, Higgins, whose £3.7 billion scheme was to build up to 10,000 new homes. With new community and leisure facilities, in Canning Town and Custom House.