The East End of London is one of the most popular parts of the city. This is no surprise when you consider the rich history and vibrant present which soaks every street of London’s East side. Each area has its own magnificent personality and it’s no surprise that many boroughs are described as their own “town” or “village”. Highgate for instance has more of an English country village feel with its large open woodland areas, whilst Dalston gives off a vibrant inner-city atmosphere with its canal crossed backstreets. The collage of London is one that to see whole, you must take a step back from to appreciate in all it’s fizzing energy. A breather is needed, because once you’re in it, it will sweep you away. With areas like the East End, you’ll be swept away completely, so before you dive in, take a moment to learn a little about where the East of London’s character stems from, and where it is going next.
History of the East End
The History of the East End of London dates as far back as the 13th century, once being part of the Tower Division of Middlesex up into the middle ages. This was an area controlled by the tower division military garrison and a local government. Areas of East London began to develop around it and the Tower Division would slowly turn into what we call the East End.
From it’s medieval roots, the East End was largely recognised as a poverty-stricken area due to overcrowding and it’s counterpointing the affluent centre of government in Westminster. This meant that there was a large divide between the rich and the poor, between the East and the West of London, the latter of which accommodating for expensive and spacious places to stay near Hyde Park as opposed to the claustrophobic slums of East London.
Throughout the 19th century the area became known for its industrial growth, many factories opening in the area and attracting a diverse range of nationalities from across the globe, looking for work and bringing their cultures to the city. This has led to the large Jewish population in the 19th century and the arrival of the Bangladeshi community in the mid-20th century, both setting up their own businesses and establishing their own mark on the East End in areas such as Bethnal Green and Shoreditch.
The East End was also known for its hardiness during World War 2, the area being targeted for much of the Blitz due to the concentration of industry in the area. This led to many of the children during 1940 and 1941 living in the area being evacuated, whilst the strong community in the area helped the remaining population to get through the war. Due to the amount of destruction in the area, a lot of the East End of London has been rebuilt and thus the architecture is part of the 50’s and 60’s reinvigoration, as seen presently in areas such as Barbican and Canning Town.
East End in the present
So where should you be visiting in the present day East End? Guests at the Park Grand Central Hotel London may want to explore further than the West of the city, a trip into the East End giving you a whole range of incredible experiences, from historical tours to some of the best nightlife in the city.
Shoreditch is one of the more centrally located areas of East London and is home to areas such as Brick Lane, home to some of the best curry houses and Jewish bakeries in the city. It is also here where you’ll find one of the most famous market sin the city, Old Spitalfields, where you can find a wide range of local arts and crafts makers as well as second hand clothes traders. As well as being home to the iconic Brick Lane, some of the best nightclubs and bars can be found in Shoreditch.
The nearby Bethnal Green is the heart of the East End. With Victorian era museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood recounting the history of children’s toys and design into the modern day. The area is also home to some of the best of London’s traditional British Pubs, giving you a cultural whistle wetting during your visit.
Shadwell and Whitechapel
With a thriving art scene and reinvigorated docklands community, this area is one of the hidden gems of the city. With hidden pubs between repurposed Thames-side Warehouses, you can find a range of art galleries, theatre venues and transport links to this area of London. This is also where the infamous Jack the Ripper stalked his victims. The Jack the Ripper tour takes you through Liverpool Street and Aldgate area and into the nearby Whitechapel area, revisiting and recounting the grizzly scenes of his crimes whilst exploring evidence and stories, all told by and often performed by experts.
Future for the East End
So, what lies in store for the East End of London? Tourists at the Park Grand Westbourne Terrace can expect to see a range of changes occur over the next few years. The Canning Town and Shadwell docklands areas are slowly being redeveloped into new high valued properties, bringing in new prosperity and industry to the area. This redevelopment process will bring with it jobs and new interest into the area for tourists.
Shoreditch is also known as Tech city, and for great reason. The build up of industry in the area has led to it becoming one of the UK centres for app building and software development, with the Silicon Roundabout in Old Street being of note. This of course brings more money to the area and therefore invigorated retail and leisure to the Shoreditch area and this can be expected to continue.
Areas such as Stratford and West Ham are also being redeveloped and built up, leading to a regeneration of the East End, even in the o0uter areas of Stamford Hill and Walthamstow, where run down parts are being built up, enticing new visitors and industry to it’s variety of areas. In the future we can expect to see increased interest in all the East End and a wide variety of new business ventures pop up in the area.