Above: Bonner Hall Bridge spanning the Regent’s Canal.
The elegant bridge spans the Regent’s Canal and was built between 1842 and 1845 at about the same time Victoria Park was laid out. There is Victorian insignia on the bridge and it is named after Bishop’s Hall (also known as Bonner Hall). It was built to carry the roadway into the park from Sewardstone Road. The Bonner Gates were erected about 1846 and they were restored in 1991. They form one of the entrances to Victoria Park, across Bonner Hall Bridge.
Above: Cary’s map of 1837 shows both the Hall and the Bridge over the canal. The map was drawn in the final years of the existence of the Hall.
The site of Bishop’s Hall had origins going back to pre-Conquest times. It was the original manor house of Stepney, whose manor was listed in the Domesday Book. In 1292 Edward I granted a licence to the Bishop of London to enclose and fence part of the land, to stock it with deer to provide hunting. In 1539 Edmund Bonner became Bishop of London and held the land as many Bishops of London had done before him. It was from about this time that Bishop’s Hall was known as Bonner Hall.
In spite of what has just been written, David Hughson in his book ‘London; Being an Accurate History and Description of the British Metropolis and Its Neighbourhood’ published in 1809 claims that the building was never Bonner’s residence. It is also claimed that there are no traces of it being an episcopal residence after Bishop Braybroke, who died in 1401. Daniel Lysons in his book ‘The Environs of London: Kent, Essex, and Herts’ published in 1811 is convinced that Bonner did live there but adds that subsequent bishops leased the house to other occupants.
Above: The impressive Bonner Gates lead to Victoria Park from Bonner Hall Bridge.
Bishop’s Hall was pulled down in 1845. The house and grounds stood on the SW side of the Regent’s Canal, on the opposite side to Victoria Park, on the site of the London Chest Hospital. Bonner Road and Bishop’s Way now lie on part of the land. The site is marked on Godfrey Map 52 for 1914. The lodge stood beside the large gates leading into Victoria Park, on the canal side, until 1941 when it was destroyed in the bombing.
The name of the bridge and of the nearby park gates are now the main reminder of the historic house and grounds.