This short narrow alley seems oddly named, for streets tend to be large and wide — but it’s actually a lingering remnant of a lost road. Squashed in between a Chinese take away and a fried chicken, Indian pizza combo, the alley is very much of the local area, rather shabby and run down, and lined with air conditioner units.
The earliest suggestions of the alley appear on John Rocque’s map of 1746 which shows the beginnings of the arrival of homes fronting onto Mile End Road and the enclosure of the block of streets in the fields.
Booth’s poverty maps shows the area as being fairly middle-class along the main road, but poor on Frimley Street behind — the workers behind the middle-classes.
The southern end of the street narrowed sharply into an alley, as the road was blocked by Mile End fire station – a tall narrow brick building with a tall distinctive entrance for the horse drawn fire engines.
It closed in 1902 when a replacement Mile End fire station was erected in Mile End Road, and the current row of shops was built on the site, with the narrow alley preserved, although in a different location from the original.
The housing on the eastern side of the old Frimley Street were damaged by bomb damaged in WW2, but a lot of the remaining houses survived right up to 1965. In January of that year, a notice was filed to block off the road so that it could be cleared by the London County Council (LCC) in order to provide council flats, with three large blocks replacing the old street and gardens.
The new Frimley Street wraps around the council blocks, but more recently, that road was renamed as Frimley Way – leaving just this tiny little covered alley as a lingering memory of that street.