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10) soap factory

It’s likely that the soap factory that operated here used fat rendered from the gin mills’ piggery. 

Soap production was taxed between 1712 and 1853, keeping prices artificially high and making soap unaffordable for the poor. The repeal of the tax, combined with French-led developments in production and a growing awareness of public hygiene, helped make soap the affordable product it is today. 

Soapmaking is smelly and uses dangerous chemicals. The 1844 Metropolitan Buildings Act led to a number of soapmakers setting up in Stratford and Silvertown, east of the River Lea, which was considered to be London’s eastern boundary. 

Another local soap manufacturer was Yardley's, whose modernist box-making factory and HQ, Warton House (1937), can be seen at 150 High Street, just north of Sugar House Island. The tilework 'Flowersellers' logo on its west side is well worth seeing. Yardley's actual soap factory was situated further north, on Carpenters Road.

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