NGEO_Flag_Turkey.png NGEO_Flag_South_Africa.png NGEO_Flag_Singapore.png NGEO_Flag_Romania.png Republic of Ireland Malaysia NGEO_Flag_Norway.png NGEO_Flag_New_Zealand.png NGEO_Flags_Hong_Kong.png NGEO_Flag_Europe.png NGEO_Flag_Denmark.png NGEO_Flag_Bulgaria.png NGEO_Flag_Australia.pngNot in the UK?

Home > FREE FEATURE SUPPLEMENTS > Olympic London

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC - Olympic London

East Side Story - FREE Feature Download

east-london-hackney-615.jpg

The "other London" — gritty, graffitied, but with a rising cool index—gets ready for its close-up as the venue of the Summer Olympics.

Subscribe Now for just £19 for 12 Issues
Give the gift of National Geographic

After the last customers had wiped the stray crumbs of meat pie from their faces. After the last jellied eel had slid down throats. After the last cup of tea had been swallowed, Fred Cooke, owner of F. Cooke’s pie and mash shop at 41 Kingsland High Street, London E8 2JS, flipped the hand-printed cardboard sign on the front door of the establishment his grandfather had founded when George V assumed the throne from OPEN to CLOSED.

"You bet there were tears," Cooke said of that day, February 11, 1997. Cooke, a thick-bodied man with thinning hair on top that gathered momentum to crest in a lush white wave at the back, stared wistfully at a case in the Hackney Museum. The display featured the net he had used to scoop eels out of the tank, pots for boiling potatoes for the mash, steel pie pans, and paper bags with F. Cooke printed on them for carryout. The kitchenware of a three-generation-old family enterprise had become a museum artifact.

"We were the Buckingham Palace of pie and mash shops," he said. The diamond stud in his right ear and a gold bracelet, thick as a handcuff, testified to the rewards. The pie and mash shop on Kingsland High Street, one of six owned by the Cooke family, had been the flagship of the fleet, but the ship had been scuttled in response to the changing social landscape of East London.

To read on, instantly download this supplement today after signing up to National Geographic magazine

National Geographic is un-missable reading for anyone who takes an interest in the world around them. Our special features come to life with unrivalled, compelling journalism and superb photography. Imagery and unsurpassed maps make our features accessible to everyone.

All of this will be yours when you subscribe to National Geographic magazine. You will benefit from this wealth of knowledge every month – and as a special bonus National Geographic are offering instant access to the feature above when you place your order.


Editor at Large Cathy Newman admires Brits for their wit and civility. East London reminds Alex Webb of Brooklyn, his home borough in New York.


All materials Copyright © 2012 National Geographic Society
All rights reserved. National Geographic and Yellow Border: Registered Trademarks ® Marcas Registradas.