Mile End Old Town 1740-1780. A social history of an early modern London suburb. Morris, Derek. 2007

Mile End Old Town 1740-1780. A social history of an early modern London suburb. Morris, Derek. 2007

Morris, Derek. 
Mile End Old Town 1740-1780. A social history of an early modern London suburb. Second Edition.
The East London History Society. 
ISBN 978-0-9506258-6-7.

Four years ago I was delighted to review Derek Morris's excellent book about Mile End Old Town.1 When the first edition sold out, Derek took the opportunity of revising and extending the contents for this second edition, resulting in an extra 30 pages packed with facts. The new edition provides the reader with a veritable cornucopia of information conveniently compiled into various aspects of commercial and social history, such as merchants, religions, education and crime. The book does not just give a detailed insight into the history of Mile End Old Town as it was in the days of Captain Cook, it demonstrates the wide range of original material that local historians can draw upon when investigating a particular area.

As a member of the CCS, Derek has deliberately pursued his research into the various connections that Cook had in Mile End Old Town. Cook enthusiasts will be pleased to find that Derek has incorporated the results of this research into his new book. He has found much new information relating to Cook and his associates, and has been able to demonstrate that that some of Cook's business connections are reflected in the physical proximity of Cook to his neighbours. So much new data has come to light that Derek has been able to devote an entire chapter to Captain Cook, who was probably the most famous resident of Mile End in the 18th century.

The book is replete with appendices, and comes with a three-part index to the people, places and subjects mentioned within its pages. At first sight one would think that after this book there was nothing left for Derek to say about Mile End Old Town. However, as Derek is still ploughing a rich furrow in the local archives. Who knows what new information he will unearth!

His first book received considerable acclaim from local historians and academics alike. I am certain this enlarged second edition will ensure that Derek's work continues to attract plaudits.

This book is available from the author at 21 Haddon Court, Shakespeare Road, Harpenden AL5 5NB, UK. Despite the increase in content it still retails at £9.60 plus postage and packing. P&P is £3.00 in the U.K. and £6.00 overseas. Please make cheques payable to "The East London History Society".

Cliff Thornton


  1. Cook's Log, page 18, vol. 26, no. 1 (2003)

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 35, volume 30, number 3 (2007).

Leave a comment

your email address will not be published

Thank you for your response. It will be evaluated by a moderator and published.