Famous People From East London.

14th July 2021

Famous People From East London.

Famous People From East London.

While most celebrities spend their time flying all over the world, some have decided to settle in the eastern side of our glorious capital. Clever celebrities! 

Infact, there has been many famous people who have lived in East London - not just alive today, but who have had an impact on Eastenders throught history.

Many have even inspired names of areas, streets, and have even helped to put East London on the map. 


Dr John Fothergill

Born: 1712
Died: 1780

Famous for: An incredibly successful and renowned physician, philanthropist, and plant collector. Dr John Fothergill curated the largest glasshouses in the country, and had famous patients such as Benjamin Franklin.

Nina Frances Layard 

Born: 1853
Died: 1935

Famous for: Ms Layard was a forward-thinking and enigmatic antiquary with a passion for excavations of historic sites and ancient artefacts. One of the first women to join the Society of Antiquaries, the very first to curate at Ipswich museum, and the first to be published in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute for Great Britain and Ireland. Her reputation for her prowess in archaeology and historic research outweighed the little formal schooling she received – she was a determined and highly respected woman in her field. She also decided to reject traditional marriage and spend the rest of her days with her fellow archaeologist and rumoured life partner, Mary Frances Outman. 

Frederick John Redman

Born: 1872
Died: 1953

Famous for: Not typically a name you would immediately associate with famous people from East London, Frederick John Redman definitely deserves to be on this list! A war hero of WW1 and WW2, Redman received multiple medals, including the George Medal – the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a civilian. 

Alfred Hitchcock

Born: 1899
Died: 1980

Famous for: As one of the most studied and influential filmmakers of all time, Alfred Hitchcock arguably created his own genre of suspense-horror. A master of psychological warfare through film, Hitchcock brought the world undeniable and instant classics such as The Birds, Psycho, and Vertigo.

Alan Sugar 

Born: 1947
Died: Still alive! 

Famous for: Alan Sugar is most notably famous for being a world-leading businessman, with an estimated net worth of around £1.15 billion. From humble beginnings selling radio aerials for cars from the back of a van, he is now rumoured to be the 95th richest person in the UK. 

Aside from his wealth and business prowess, Alan Sugar has found fame in his television show ‘The Apprentice’ yet has never lost his council-estate roots – he contributes heavily to charities and political campaigns to help those in poverty. 

Idris Elba

Born: 1972
Died: Still alive!

Famous for: Idrissa Akuna Elba is an incredibly famous actor, who has had starring roles in series such as The Wire, Luther, and in films such as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and American Gangster. Elba has received incredible accolades for his dedication to acting, such as an OBE and multiple BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations. 

David Beckham

Born: 1975
Died: Still alive!

Famous for: We couldn’t write a list of famous people from East London without mentioning the one and only Mr David Beckham. Beckham is famous for talents in football, having played for teams throughout the world, including playing 115 games as Captain of the England national football team from 2000-2006.
Beckham also has a number of other famous feathers to his cap, including being married to Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and having an entire movie based around a girl’s desire to play just like him - Bend it Like Beckham. 

Dame Vera Lynn

Born: 1917 
Died: 2020

Singer and actress Dame Vera Lynn was born in East Ham and she was hugely popular around the time of World War II. She remained popular after the war, appearing on radio and television in the United Kingdom and the United States, and recording such hits as "Auf Wiederseh'n, Sweetheart" and her UK number-one single "My Son, My Son". Her last single, "I Love This Land", was released to mark the end of the Falklands War. 

She was awarded her damehood in 1975 and one of the new Woolwich ferries was even named after her.

Danny Dyer

Born: 1977
Died: Still alive!

Dyer's breakthrough role was as Moff in Human Traffic, with other notable roles as Billy the Limpet in Mean Machine and as Tommy Johnson in The Football Factory. Following the success of The Football Factory, Dyer was often typecast in "hard-man" roles, although it was this image that allowed him to present The Real Football Factories, its spin-off, The Real Football Factories International and Danny Dyer's Deadliest Men. 

The now EastEnders actor grew up in Custom House. In an episode of the BBC show Who Do You Think Your Are?, Dyer found out that he was related to royalty; his 14-times-great-grandmother was Elizabeth Seymour, Jane Seymour’s sister. It’s unlikely he’ll be donning the crown any time soon, but perhaps there's a tiny possibility of a Newham resident on the throne.

Honor Blackman

Born: 1925
Died: 2020

That’s right, the borough has its very own Bond Girl. Actress Honor Blackman played Pussy Galore alongside Sean Connery in the 1964 Bond film Goldfinger, and she was born in Plaistow.

Honor Blackman was an English actress, known for the roles of Cathy Gale in The Avengers, the Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, Julia Daggett in Shalako and Hera in Jason and the Argonauts. She is also known for her role as Laura West in the ITV sitcom The Upper Hand.

David Bailey

Born: 1938
Died: Still alive!

Photographer David Bailey has shot pretty much every celebrity and fashion model during his career. He was part of the swinging sixties phenomenon, and helped launch the career of supermodel and then-girlfriend Jean Shimpton. Bailey lived in East Ham from the age of three. In 2012, he returned to his roots to create an exhibition at Compressor House called David Bailey’s East End, which featured 50 photographs of Newham and the surrounding areas.

Tinchy Stryder

Born: 1986
Died: Still alive!

Rapper Tinchy Stryder’s real name is actually Kwasi Danquah. He was born in Ghana and moved to Newham’s Forest Gate when he was nine years old. He studied digital arts at the University of East London, and when he was younger he actually wanted to be a footballer. 

Stryder has released three solo studio albums, Star in the Hood, Catch 22, and Third Strike. Stryder's business ventures include the clothing line Star in the Hood, the Cloud 9 X Goji headphone and audio equipment range in collaboration with Goji Electronics.

Jermain Defoe

Born: 1982
Died: Still alive!

Footballer Jermain Defoe is perhaps Newham’s most famous sportsperson, but the Premier League striker isn’t the only Newham resident with fancy footwork. The borough is responsible for a huge number of other footballers, particularly those who have played for West Ham at some point in their careers. Players Stan Earle, Charlie Colkett, Reece Burke, and Mark Noble all hail from these parts.

Defoe began his career with Charlton Athletic, joining their youth team aged 14, before moving to West Ham United aged 16 and rising through the ranks. Since then he went on to play for Tottenham (twice), Portsmouth, Toronto, Sunderland, Bouremouth and Ranger.