Newham In The Great War 1914 - 1918

Historians still dispute the importance of the various causes that led to the outbreak of World War I but they are agreed that it resulted from the clash of empires.

View the exhibition Newham In The Great War 1914 - 1918

Newham in the Great War

Edwin Dowsing Gedge-West /ham Borough Council C1912-1914

This is a photo of West Ham Borough Council taken around 1910-1914. It shows my Great Grand Father Edwin Dowsing Gedge at an office group shot. He is recorded as being employed as an Inspector of Public Nusance.The image was supplied to me by my Great Aunt Miss Margaret Gedge and her brother Mr Alan Gedge.Edwin is located middle row 3rd from the right.

Edwin Dowsing Gedge-West /ham Borough Council C1912-1914

Co-operative Jug

This commemorative jug was produced for the jubilee of the Stratford Co-op. The scene depicts Straford Broadway with the Gurney memorial and St John's church.

Co-operative Jug

Silvertown Explosion Casualties

Impromtu Surgery on the Barking Road deals with casualties of the Silvertown Explosion at the Brunner Mond factory January 19th 1917.

Silvertown Explosion Casualties


This image shows the impressive mien of Frederick E. Hilleary who was the first Town Clerk of West Ham, serving from 1886 to 1913. His was a part-time appointment throughout and he combined it with a practice in the City and several other local official appointments. As Clerk to the Local Board, 1874-86, he conducted the negotiations for incorporation (to which there had been a great deal of opposition) and guided the new Borough through the legislative and administrative development of its first 25 years. Frederick's son George Edward Hilleary became West Ham's third Town Clerk (1915-29).


Military Medal F J Redman

Military Medal awarded to Frederick John Redman

Private F J Redman, 108395, served in 21 Machine Gun Corps. He was advanced to Acting Lance Corporal and, later, to Sergeant.

In addition to the two WW1 service medals on this web site, he also gained the Military Medal "for bravery in the field" in France during the First World War. This was announced in the London Gazette of 21st October, 1918. Unfortunately, editions of the Gazette were lost in World War 2 and the citation is not available. (attachment shows reverse of medal)

Part of Newham Heritage & Archives collection

As well as medals awarded for service in the First World War, Mr Redman further distinguished himself as a civilian in the Second World War. The George Medal (image on this web-site) was awarded when he was working at the Gas Light and Coke Company as Chief Valve-man. Redman and several other men were awarded the GM for their courageous action.

Military Medal F J Redman

Jutland Souvenir

Silk souvenir of the Victory of the Battle of Jutland May 31st 1916

Newham Heritage & Archives (Stratford)

Jutland Souvenir


VISIT TO FIRST WORLD WAR BATTLEFIELDS. Former Mayor visits troops from East Ham at the historic battlefields of France and Belgium and sees the widespread destruction of towns and cities at first hand.

Home Front

EAST HAM - On the Home Front in the First World War.


Very soon after the declaration of war on that fateful fourth day of August, 1914, numbers of officers and men were to be seen in the streets, not infrequently bands playing patriotic airs paraded the roads, posters asking men to volunteer were to be found on every hoarding and the Town Hall and Schools were utilised for recruiting purposes. The Municipal Baths and the High Street School were used as barracks while the parks, Wanstead Flats and all open spaces served as parade grounds. Each day hundreds of enlisted men-not yet in uniform-were to be seen receiving physical and ordinary army drill instruction.


After a few months, food shortage began to be feared. Later, queues- often a hundred or more yards long-were commonly to be seen outside the shops, and it was indeed a sad sight to see women and children waiting in the cold and rain for their turn to purchase provisions. The greengrocers' shops for potatoes, the grocers' for sugar and the butchers' for meat were especially conspicuous for their queues. Rapidly it became necessary to ration all the chief articles of food. Ration cards were issued to all, so that no person should buy more than was absolutely necessary for immediate consumption. All vacant lands not in military possession were taken over by the municipal authorities, and an allotment of ten rods (a rod is about 5½ yards long or 5.03 metres) was granted free to each applicant for the purpose of growing foodstuffs - especially potatoes. Many persons were fined for hoarding food, and in an attempt to prevent the most necessary requirements from becoming too dear for the poorer classes to buy, the prices were controlled by the Government.

Women at Work and as Volunteers

Clark's High School Girls 1910

Class of Clark's High School for girls in 1910.  

In 1904 there were 13 private schools in West Ham classed as Secondary this included Forest Gate collegiate school for girls, Romford Road, founded in 1874. 

Later this was taken over by Clark's (Private) High Schools For Girls, and a Kindergarten & Preparatory Class for Little Boys.

In 1918 it was one of 11 private schools in the borough recognized by the Board of Education. This building was demolished in 1935. By 1939 hardly any private schools survived, but in 1941 Clark's were still in Romford Road Forest Gate, but at no328, the Principal at this time was Ernest G.V. Clark. 

Photo: Kathy Taylor  


Clark's High School Girls 1910
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