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Coordinates: 51°31′N 0°03′W / 51.517°N 0.050°W / 51.517; -0.050

The East End of London, often referred to within the London area simply as the East End, is the historic core of wider East London, east of the Roman and medieval walls of the City of London and north of the River Thames. It does not have universally accepted boundaries to the north and east, though the River Lea is sometimes seen as the eastern boundary. Parts of it may be regarded as lying within Central London (though that term too has no precise definition). The term "East of Aldgate Pump" is sometimes used as a synonym for the area.

The East End began to emerge in the Middle Ages with initially slow urban growth outside the eastern walls, which later accelerated, especially in the 19th century, to absorb pre-existing settlements. The first known written record of the East End as a distinct entity, as opposed its component parts, comes from John Strype's 1720 Survey of London, which describes London as consisting of four parts: the City of London, Westminster, Southwark, and "That Part beyond the Tower". The relevance of Strype's reference to the Tower was more than geographical. The East End was the urbanised part of an administrative area called the Tower Division, which had owed military service to the Tower of London since time immemorial. Later, as London grew further, the fully urbanised Tower Division became a byword for wider East London, before East London grew further still, east of the River Lea and into Essex.

The area was notorious for its deep poverty, overcrowding and associated social problems. This led to the East End's history of intense political activism and association with some of the country's most influential social reformers. Another major theme of East End history has been migration, both inward and outward. The area had a strong pull on the rural poor from other parts of England, and attracted waves of migration from further afield, notably Huguenot refugees, who created a new extramural suburb in Spitalfields in the 17th century,[1] Irish weavers,[2] Ashkenazi Jews,[3] and, in the 20th century, Sylheti Bangladeshis.[4]

The closure of the last of the Port of London's East End docks in 1980 created further challenges and led to attempts at regeneration, with Canary Wharf and the Olympic Park[5] among the most successful examples. While some parts of the East End are undergoing rapid change, the area continues to contain some of the worst poverty in Britain.[6]

While in 1676 - Sir William Petty called for London's centre of gravity to move westward from the City towards Westminster, upwind of the East End.

If great cities are naturally apt to remove their seats, I ask which way? I say in the case of London, it must be westward, because the winds blowing near three fourths of the year from the west, the dwellings of the west end are so much the more free from the fumes steams and stinks of the whole easterly pyle; which, where seacole is burnt, is a great matter.

— Sir William Petty, Political Arithmetick, [40]

In 1720 John Strype gives us our first record of the East End as a distinct entity, rather than a collection of parishes, when he describes London as consisting of four parts: the City of London, Westminster, Southwark, and "That Part beyond the Tower".

The relevance of Strype's reference to the Tower was more than geographical. The East End (including the Tower and its Liberties) was the urbanised part of an administrative area called the If great cities are naturally apt to remove their seats, I ask which way? I say in the case of London, it must be westward, because the winds blowing near three fourths of the year from the west, the dwellings of the west end are so much the more free from the fumes steams and stinks of the whole easterly pyle; which, where seacole is burnt, is a great matter.

— Sir William PettyIn 1720 John Strype gives us our first record of the East End as a distinct entity, rather than a collection of parishes, when he describes London as consisting of four parts: the City of London, Westminster, Southwark, and "That Part beyond the Tower".

The relevance of Strype's reference to the Tower was more than geographical. The East End (including the

The relevance of Strype's reference to the Tower was more than geographical. The East End (including the Tower and its Liberties) was the urbanised part of an administrative area called the Tower Division, which had owed military service to the Constable of the Tower (in his ex-officio role as Lord Lieutenant of the Tower Hamlets) for time immemorial, having its roots in the Bishop of London's historic Manor of Stepney. This made the Constable an influential figure in the civil and military affairs of the early East End.[41] Later, as London grew further, the fully urbanised Tower Division became a byword for wider East London, before East London grew further still, east of the River Lea and into Essex.

The contrast between the east and west ends was stark, in 1797 the Prussian writer and historian Archenholz wrote:

(The east)...especially along the shores of the Thames, consists of old houses, the streets there are narrow, dark, and ill paved; inhabited by sailors and other workmen... and by a great part of the Jews. The contrast between this and the west is astonishing

— 

The inhabitants of the extreme east of London knew nothing of the western localities and vice-versa. There was little c

The inhabitants of the extreme east of London knew nothing of the western localities and vice-versa. There was little communication or sympathy between the two ends of London.

…and thus the householders of Westminster were as distinct from householders of Bishopsgate Without, Shoreditch and all those localities which stretch towards the Essex side of the city, as they are from the inhabitants of Holland or Belgium.

The East End has always contained some of London's poorest areas. The main reasons for this include:

  • The medieval system of copyhold, which prevailed throughout the Ma

    In medieval times trades were carried out in workshops in and around the owners' premises in the City. By the time of the Great Fire of London in 1666 these were becoming industries, and some were particularly noisome, such as the processing of urine for the tanning industry, or required large amounts of space, such as drying clothes after process and dying in fields known as tentergrounds. Some were dangerous, such as the manufacture of gunpowder or the proving of guns. These activities came to be performed outside the City walls in the near suburbs of the East End. Later, when lead-making and bone-processing for soap and china came to be established, they too located in the East End rather than in the crowded streets of the City.[13]

    In 1817 the Lower Moorfields was built on and the gap with Finsbury was fully closed, and in the late 19th century development across the Lea in West Ham began in earnest.

    As time went on, large estates began to be split up, ending the constraining effect of short-term copyhold.[44] Estates of fine houses for captains, merchants and owners of manufacturers began to be built. Samuel Pepys moved his family and goods to Bethnal Green during the Great Fire of London, and Captain Cook moved from Shadwell to Stepney Green, where a school and assembly rooms had been established (commemorated by Assembly Passage, and a plaque on the site of Cook's house on the Mile End Road). Mile End Old Town also acquired some fine buildings, and the New Town began to be built.

    Accelerated 19th-century development[In 1817 the Lower Moorfields was built on and the gap with Finsbury was fully closed, and in the late 19th century development across the Lea in West Ham began in earnest.

    As time went on, large estates began to be split up, ending the constraining effect of short-term copyhold.[44] Estates of fine houses for captains, merchants and owners of manufacturers began to be built. Samuel Pepys moved his family and goods to Bethnal Green during the Great Fire of London, and Captain Cook moved from Shadwell to Stepney Green, where a school and assembly rooms had been established (commemorated by Assembly Passage, and a plaque on the site of Cook's house on the Mile End Road). Mile End Old Town also acquired some fine buildings, and the New Town began to be built.

    As the area became built up and more crowded, the wealthy sold their plots for subdivision and moved further afield. Into the 18th and 19th centuries, there were still attempts to build fine houses, for example Tredegar Square (1830), and the open fields around Mile End New Town were used for the construction of estates of workers' cottages in 1820. This was designed in 1817 in Birmingham by Anthony Hughes and finally constructed in 1820.[45]

    Globe Town was established from 1800 to provide for the expanding population of weavers around Bethnal Green, attracted by improving prospects in silk weaving. Bethnal Green's population trebled between 1801 and 1831, with 20,000 looms being operated in people's own homes. By 1824, with restrictions on importation of French silks relaxed, up to half these looms had become idle, and price

    Globe Town was established from 1800 to provide for the expanding population of weavers around Bethnal Green, attracted by improving prospects in silk weaving. Bethnal Green's population trebled between 1801 and 1831, with 20,000 looms being operated in people's own homes. By 1824, with restrictions on importation of French silks relaxed, up to half these looms had become idle, and prices were driven down. With many importing warehouses already established in the district, the abundance of cheap labour was turned to boot, furniture and clothing manufacture.[46] Globe Town continued its expansion into the 1860s, long after the silk industry's decline.

    During the 19th century, building on an ad hoc basis could not keep up with the expanding population's needs. Henry Mayhew visited Bethnal Green in 1850 and wrote for the Morning Chronicle, as a part of a series forming the basis for London Labour and the London Poor (1851), that the trades in the area included tailors, costermongers, shoemakers, dustmen, sawyers, carpenters, cabinet makers and silkweavers. He noted that in the area:

    roads were unmade, often mere alleys, houses small and without foundations, subdivided and often around unpaved courts. An almost total lack of drainage and sewerage was made worse by the ponds formed by the excavation of brickearth. Pigs and cows in back yards, noxious trades like boiling tripe, melting tallow, or preparing cat's meat, and slaughter houses, dustheaps, and 'lakes of putrefying night soil' added to the filth

    — Henry Mayhew London Labour and London Poor (1851), [47]

    A movement began to clear the slums. Burdett-Coutts built Columbia Market in 1869 and the "Artisans' and Labourers' Dwelling Act" passed in 1876 to provide powers to seize slums from landlords and to provide access to public funds to build new housing.[48] Philanthropic housing associations such as the Peabody Trust were formed to provide homes for the poor and to clear the slums generally. Expansion by the railway companies, such as the London and Blackwall Railway and Great Eastern Railway, caused large areas of slum housing to be demolished. The "Working Classes Dwellings Act" in 1890 placed[on whom?] a new responsibility to house the displaced residents and led to the building of new philanthropic housing such as Blackwall Buildings and Great Eastern Buildings.[49]

    By 1890, official slum clearance programmes had begun. These included the creation of the world's first council housing, the LCC Boundary Estate, which replaced the neglected and crowded streets of Friars Mount, better known as The Old Nichol Street Rookery.[50] Between 1918 and 1939 the LCC continued replacing East End housing with five- or six-storey flats, despite residents preferring houses with gardens and opposition from shopkeepers who were forced to relocate to new, more expensive premises. The Second World War brought an end to further slum clearance.[51]

    Industry and innovation

    roads were unmade, often mere alleys, houses small and without foundations, subdivided and often around unpaved courts. An almost total lack of drainage and sewerage was made worse by the ponds formed by the excavation of brickearth. Pigs and cows in back yards, noxious trades like boiling tripe, melting tallow, or preparing cat's meat, and slaughter houses, dustheaps, and 'lakes of putrefying night soil' added to the filth

    A movement began to clear the slums. Burdett-Coutts built Columbia Market in 1869 and the "Artisans' and Labourers' Dwelling Act" passed in 1876 to provide powers to seize slums from landlords and to provide access to public funds to build new housing.[48] Philanthropic housing associations such as the Peabody Trust were formed to provide homes for the poor and to clear the slums generally. Expansion by the railway companies, such as the London and Blackwall Railway and Great Eastern Railway, caused large areas of slum housing to be demolished. The "Working Classes Dwellings Act" in 1890 placed[on whom?] a new responsibility to house the displaced residents and led to the building of new philanthropic housing such as Blackwall Buildings and Great Eastern Buildings.[49]

    By 1890, official slum clearance programmes had begun. These included the creation of the world's first council h

    By 1890, official slum clearance programmes had begun. These included the creation of the world's first council housing, the LCC Boundary Estate, which replaced the neglected and crowded streets of Friars Mount, better known as The Old Nichol Street Rookery.[50] Between 1918 and 1939 the LCC continued replacing East End housing with five- or six-storey flats, despite residents preferring houses with gardens and opposition from shopkeepers who were forced to relocate to new, more expensive premises. The Second World War brought an end to further slum clearance.[51]

    Industries associated with the sea developed throughout the East End, including rope making and shipbuilding. The former location of roperies can still be identified from their long straight, narrow profile in the modern streets, for instance Ropery Street near Mile End. Shipbuilding for the navy is recorded at Ratcliff in 1354, with shipfitting and repair carried out in Blackwall by 1485.[52] On 31 January 1858, the largest ship of that time, the SS Great Eastern, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was launched from the yard of Messrs Scott Russell & Co, of Millwall. The 692-foot (211 m) vessel was too long to fit across the river, and so the ship had to be launched sideways. Due to the technical difficulties of the launch, after this, shipbuilding on the Thames went into a long decline.[53] Ships continued to be built at the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company at Blackwall and Canning Town until the yard closed in 1913, shortly after the launch of the Dreadnought Battleship HMS Thunderer (1911).

    Isambard Kingdom Brunel against the launching chains of the Great Eastern at Millwall in 1857
    Heading eastward from the Tower of London lie six and a half mile of former docklands; the most central of the docks - just east of the Tower, is St Katharine Docks, built in 1828 to accommodate luxury goods. This was built by clearing the slums that lay in the area of the former Hospital of St Katharine. They were not successful commercially, as they were unable to accommodate the largest ships, and in 1864, management of the docks was amalgamated with that of the London Docks.[54]

    The London Docks were built in 1805, and the waste soil and rubble from the construction was carried by barge to west London, to build up the marshy area of Pimlico. These docks imported tobacco, wine, wool and other goods into guarded warehouses within high walls (some of which still remain). They were able to berth over 300 sailing vessels simultaneously, but by 1971 they closed, no longer able to accommodate modern shipping.[55]

    The West India Docks were established in 1803, providing berths for larger ships and a model for future London dock building. Imported produce from the West Indies was unloaded directly into quayside warehouses. Ships were limited to 6000 tons.[56] The old Brunswick Dock, a shipyard at Blackwall became the basis for the East India Company's East India Docks established there in 1806.[57] The Millwall Docks were created in 1868, predominantly for the import of grain and timber. These docks housed the first purpose built granary for the Baltic grain market, a local landmark that remained until it was demolished to improve access for the London City Airport.[58]

    The first railway (the "Commercial Railway") to be built, in 1840, was a passenger service based on cable haulage by stationary steam engines that ran the 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from Minories to Blackwall on a pair of tracks. It required 14 miles (22.5 km) of hemp rope, and "dropped" carriages as it arrived at stations, which were reattached to the cable for the return journey, the train "reassembling" itself at the terminus.[59&

    The London Docks were built in 1805, and the waste soil and rubble from the construction was carried by barge to west London, to build up the marshy area of Pimlico. These docks imported tobacco, wine, wool and other goods into guarded warehouses within high walls (some of which still remain). They were able to berth over 300 sailing vessels simultaneously, but by 1971 they closed, no longer able to accommodate modern shipping.[55]

    The West India Docks were established in 1803, providing berths for larger ships and a model for future London dock building. Imported produce from the West Indies was unloaded directly into quayside warehouses. Ships were limited to 6000 tons.[56] The old Brunswick Dock, a shipyard at Blackwall became the basis for the East India Company's East India Docks established there in 1806.[57] The Millwall Docks were created in 1868, predominantly for the import of grain and timber. These docks housed the first purpose built granary for the Baltic grain market, a local landmark that remained until it was demolished to improve access for the London City Airport.[58]

    The first railway (the "Commercial Railway") to be built, in 1840, was a passenger service based on cable haulage by stationary steam engines that ran the 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from Minories to Blackwall on a pair of tracks. It required 14 miles (22.5 km) of hemp rope, and "dropped" carriages as it arrived at stations, which were reattached to the cable for the return journey, the train "reassembling" itself at the terminus.[59] The line was converted to standard gauge in 1859, and steam locomotives adopted. The building of London termini at Fenchurch Street (1841),[60] and Bishopsgate (1840) provided access to new suburbs across the River Lea, again resulting in the destruction of housing and increased overcrowding in the slums. After the opening of Liverpool Street station (1874), Bishopsgate railway station became a goods yard, in 1881, to bring imports from Eastern ports. With the introduction of containerisation, the station declined, suffered a fire in 1964 that destroyed the station buildings, and it was finally demolished in 2004 for the extension of the East London Line. In the 19th century, the area north of Bow Road became a major railway centre for the North London Railway, with marshalling yards and a maintenance depot serving both the City and the West India docks. Nearby Bow railway station opened in 1850 and was rebuilt in 1870 in a grand style, featuring a concert hall. The line and yards closed in 1944, after severe bomb damage, and never reopened, as goods became less significant, and cheaper facilities were concentrated in Essex.[61]

    The River Lea was a constraint to eastward expansion, but the Metropolitan Building Act of 1844 led to growth over that river into West Ham. The Act restricted the operation of dangerous and noxious industries from in the metropolitan area, the eastern boundary of which was the Lea. Consequently, many of these activities were relocated to the banks of the river. The building of the Royal Docks consisting of the Royal Victoria Dock (1855), able to berth vessels of up to 8000 tons;[62] Royal Albert Dock (1880), up to 12,000 tons;[63] and King George V Dock (1921), up to 30,000 tons,[64] on the estuary marshes helped extend the continuous development of London across the Lea into Essex.[65] The railways gave access to a passenger terminal at Gallions Reach and new suburbs created in West Ham, which quickly became a major manufacturing town, with 30,000 houses built between 1871 and 1901.[66] Soon afterwards, East Ham was built up to serve the new Gas Light and Coke Company and Bazalgette's grand sewage works at Beckton.[67]

    The years 1885-1909 saw a series of transportation milestones achieved in Walthamstow. In 1885, John Kemp Starley designeded the first modern bicycle,[68] while in 1892 Frederick Bremer built the first British motorcar in a workshop in his garden.[69] The London General Omnibus Company built the first mass-produced buses there, the B-type from 1908 onwards and in 1909, A V Roe successfully tested the first all-British aeroplane on Walthamstow Marshes.[70]

    The East End has historically suffered from poor housing stock and infrastructure. From the 1950s, the area was a microcosm of the structural and social changes affecting the UK economy. The closure of docks, cutbacks in railways and loss of industry contributed to a long-term decline, removing many of the traditional sources of low- and semi-skilled jobs.

    The docks declined from the mid-20th century, with the last, the Royal Docks, closing in 1980. Various wharves along the river continue to be used but on a much smaller scale. London's main port facilities are now at Tilbury and London Gateway (opened in 1886 and 2013 respectively), further downstream, beyond the Greater London boundary in Essex. These larger modern facilities can accommodate larger vessels and are suitable for the needs of modern container ships.[71]

    There has been extensive regeneration, and the East End has become a desirable place for business,[6] partly due to the availability of brownfield land. Much of this development has been of little benefit to local communities and has caused a damaging rise in property prices, meaning that much of the area remains among the poorest in Britain.

    <

    The docks declined from the mid-20th century, with the last, the Royal Docks, closing in 1980. Various wharves along the river continue to be used but on a much smaller scale. London's main port facilities are now at Tilbury and London Gateway (opened in 1886 and 2013 respectively), further downstream, beyond the Greater London boundary in Essex. These larger modern facilities can accommodate larger vessels and are suitable for the needs of modern container ships.[71]

    There has been extensive regeneration, and the East End has become a desirable place for business,[6] partly due to the availability of brownfield land. Much of this development has been of little benefit to local communities and has caused a damaging rise in property prices, meaning that much of the area remains among the poorest in Britain.

    The area had one of the highest concentrations of council housing, the legacy of slum clearance and wartime destruction.[72] Many of the 1960s tower blocks have been demolished or renovated, replaced by low-rise housing, often in private ownership, or owned by housing associations.[73]

    Transport improvements

    Brick Lane has been a centre for new immigration through the centuries

    Historically, the high death rates

    Historically, the high death rates experienced in cities has meant they needed inward migration to maintain their level of population. Inward migration has maintained and increased the area's large population, which has in turn become a source of people moving to settle in other areas.

    Inward migration

    The influence of the traditional Essex dialect on Cockney speech[86] suggests that a high proportion of early Londoners came from Essex and areas speaking related eastern dialects. Migrants from all over the British Isles have made the East End their home, and migration from overseas has also always been a significant source of new East Enders. As early as 1483, the Portsoken is recorded as having more aliens in its population than any ward in the City Of London.[87]

    traditional Essex dialect on Cockney speech[86] suggests that a high proportion of early Londoners came from Essex and areas speaking related eastern dialects. Migrants from all over the British Isles have made the East End their home, and migration from overseas has also always been a significant source of new East Enders. As early as 1483, the Portsoken is recorded as having more aliens in its population than any ward in the City Of London.[87]

    Lascars and Africans from the Guinea Coast. Large Chinatowns at both Shadwell and Limehouse developed, associated with the crews of merchantmen in the opium and tea trades. It was only after the devastation of the Second World War that this predominantly Han Chinese community relocated to Soho.[89]

    In 1786, the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor was formed by citizens concerned for the welfare of London's impoverished Black population, many of whom had been expelled from North America as Black Loyalists — former slaves who had fought on the side of the British in the American Revolutionary War. Others were discharged sailors and some a legacy of British involvement in the slave trade. The committee distributed food, clothing, and medical aid and found work for men, from various locations including the White Raven tavern in Mile End.[90] They also helped the men to go abroad, some to Canada. In October 1786, the Committee funded an expedition of 280 black men, 40 black women and 70 white women (mainly wives and girlfriends) to settle in the Province of Freedom in west Africa. The settlers suffe

    In 1786, the Committee for the Relief of the Black Poor was formed by citizens concerned for the welfare of London's impoverished Black population, many of whom had been expelled from North America as Black Loyalists — former slaves who had fought on the side of the British in the American Revolutionary War. Others were discharged sailors and some a legacy of British involvement in the slave trade. The committee distributed food, clothing, and medical aid and found work for men, from various locations including the White Raven tavern in Mile End.[90] They also helped the men to go abroad, some to Canada. In October 1786, the Committee funded an expedition of 280 black men, 40 black women and 70 white women (mainly wives and girlfriends) to settle in the Province of Freedom in west Africa. The settlers suffered tremendous hardships and many died, but the Province of Freedom proved to be a major milestone in the establishment of Sierra Leone.[91] From the late 19th century, a large African mariner community was established in Canning Town as a result of new shipping links to the Caribbean and West Africa.[92]

    In 1655 Cromwell agreed to the return of the Jews, previously banished by Edward I in the 13th century, and the East London became the major centre of Jews in England. In 1860, the Jews of the East End formed the East Metropolitan Rifle Volunteers (11th Tower Hamlets),[93] a short-lived reserve unit of the British Army.

    In the 1870s and 1880s, so many Jewish émigrés were arriving that over 150 synagogues were built. Today four active synagogues remain in Tower Hamlets: the Congregation of Jacob Synagogue (1903 – Kehillas Ya'akov), the East London Central Synagogue (1922), the Fieldgate Street Great Synagogue (1899) and Sandys Row Synagogue (1766).[94] Jewish immigration to the East End peaked in the 1890s, leading to agitation which resulted in the Aliens Act 1905, which slowed immigration to the area. In the mid and late 20th century many of the area's Jews migrated to more prosperous areas in the eastern suburbs and north London.

    From the late 1950s the local Muslim population began to increase due to further immigration from the Indian subcontinent, particularly from Sylhet in East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh in 1971. The migrants settled in areas already established by the Sylheti expatriate community, working in the local docks and Jewish tailoring shops set up in the days of British India.[95][page needed] During the 1970s, this immigration increased significantly. Today, Bangladeshis form the largest minority population in Tower Hamlets, constituting 32%[96] of the borough's population at the 2011 census; the largest such community in Britain.[97] The contribution of Bangladeshi people to British life was recognised in 1998, when Pola Uddin, Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green became the first Bangladeshi-born Briton to enter the House of Lords and the first Muslim peer to swear her oath of allegiance in the name of her own faith.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, London was the capital of the extensive British Empire, which contained tens of millions of Muslims, but London had no mosque. From 1910 to 1940 various rooms had been hired for Jumu'ah prayers on Fridays and in 1940, three houses were purchased on Commercial Road, becoming the East London Mosque and Islamic Culture Centre the following year. In 1985 the mosque was moved to a new purpose-built building on Whitechapel Road. Currently, the mosque has a capacity of 7,000, with prayer areas for men and women and classroom space for supplementary education.[98]

    Immigrants and minorities have not always been readily accepted. In 1517 the Evil May Day riots, in which foreign-owned property was attacked, resulted in the deaths of 135 Flemings in Stepney. The Gordon Riots of 1780 began with burnings of the houses of Catholics and their chapels in Poplar and Spitalfields.[99]

    Large scale, mostly Jewish, immigration, leading to anti-foreigner agitation by the British Brothers League, formed in 1902 by Captain William Stanley Shaw and the Conservative MP for Stepney, Major Evans-Gordon. Evans-Gordon overturned a Liberal majority in the 1900 General Election on a platform of limiting immigration. In Parliament in 1902, Evans-Gordon claimed that "not a day passes but English families are ruthlessly turned out to make room for foreign invaders. The rates are burdened with the education of thousands of foreign children."[100] The campaign led to the Aliens Act 1905, which gave the Home Secretary powers to regulate and control immigration.[101]

    On 4 October 1936, around 3–5,000 uniformed blackshirts from the British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Mosley and inspired by continental Fascism, assembled to begin an anti-Semitic march through the East End. Great numbers, of East Londoners, perhaps 100,000, turned out to oppose them and there were three-way clashes between the Fascists, their East End opponents and the Police. There were clashes at Tower Hill, the Minories, Gardiners Corner (the junction of Whitechapel High Street and Commercial Street) and most famously at British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Mosley and inspired by continental Fascism, assembled to begin an anti-Semitic march through the East End. Great numbers, of East Londoners, perhaps 100,000, turned out to oppose them and there were three-way clashes between the Fascists, their East End opponents and the Police. There were clashes at Tower Hill, the Minories, Gardiners Corner (the junction of Whitechapel High Street and Commercial Street) and most famously at Cable Street. These engagements, together known as the Battle of Cable Street, forced the fascists were forced to abandon their march, and instead conduct a parade in the West End. [102][103]

    In the mid-1970s, anti-Asian violence[104] culminated in the murder of 25-year-old clothing worker Altab Ali by three white teenagers in a racially motivated attack. Bangladeshi groups mobilised for self-defence, 7,000 people marched to Hyde Park in protest, and the community became more politically involved.[105] In 1998, the former churchyard of St Mary's Whitechapel, near where the attack took place, was renamed "Altab Ali Park" in commemoration. Racial tension has continued with occasional violence, and in 1993 the British National Party won a council seat (since lost).[106] A 1999 bombing in Brick Lane was part of a series that targeted ethnic minorities, gays and "multiculturalists".[107]

    As London extended east, East Enders often moved to opportunities in the new suburbs. The late 19th century saw a major movement of people to West Ham[66] and East Ham[67] to service the new docks and industries established there.

    There was significant work to alleviate overcrowded housing from the start of the 20th century under the London County Council. Between the wars, people moved to new estates built for this purpose, in particular at Becontree and Har

    There was significant work to alleviate overcrowded housing from the start of the 20th century under the London County Council. Between the wars, people moved to new estates built for this purpose, in particular at Becontree and Harold Hill, or out of London entirely.

    The Second World War devastated much of the East End, with its docks, railways and industry forming a continual target for bombing, especially during the Blitz, leading to dispersal of the population to new suburbs and new housing being built in the 1950s.[13] Many East Enders went further than the eastern suburbs, leaving London altogether, notably to the Essex new towns of Basildon and Harlow and a number of expanded towns in south Essex and elsewhere.

    The resulting depopulation accelerated after the Second World War and has only recently begun to reverse, though the Bangladeshi community, now the largest in Tower Hamlets and established East Enders, are beginning to migrate to the eastern suburbs. This reflects improved economic circumstances and in this, the latest group of migrants are following a pattern established for over more than three centuries.

    These population figures reflect the area that now forms the London Borough of Tower Hamlets only:

    By comparison, in 1801 the population of England and Wales was 9 million; by 1851 it had more than doubled to 18 million, and by the end of the century had reached 40 million.[45]

    Culture and Community

    Cockney identity

    Despite a negative image among outsiders, the people of the area take pride in the East End and in their Cockney identity. The term Cockney has loose geographic and linguistic definitions with blurring between the two. In practice people from all over the East End, the wider East London area and sometimes beyond, identify as Cockneys; some of these use the Cockney dialect to some degree and others not.

    A traditional definition is that to be a Cockney, one had to be born within the sound of Bow Bells, situated on Cheapside. The eastern topography is mostly low lying, a factor which combines with the strength and regularity of the prevailing wind, blowing from west-south-west for three quarters of the year,[114] to carry the sound further to the east, and more often. In the 19th century the sound would have been heard[115] as far away as Stamford Hill, Leyton and Stratford, but modern noise pollution means that the bells can o

    Despite a negative image among outsiders, the people of the area take pride in the East End and in their Cockney identity. The term Cockney has loose geographic and linguistic definitions with blurring between the two. In practice people from all over the East End, the wider East London area and sometimes beyond, identify as Cockneys; some of these use the Cockney dialect to some degree and others not.

    A traditional definition is that to be a Cockney, one had to be born within the sound of Bow Bells, situated on Cheapside. The eastern topography is mostly low lying, a factor which combines with the strength and regularity of the prevailing wind, blowing from west-south-west for three quarters of the year,[114] to carry the sound further to the east, and more often. In the 19th century the sound would have been heard&#

    A traditional definition is that to be a Cockney, one had to be born within the sound of Bow Bells, situated on Cheapside. The eastern topography is mostly low lying, a factor which combines with the strength and regularity of the prevailing wind, blowing from west-south-west for three quarters of the year,[114] to carry the sound further to the east, and more often. In the 19th century the sound would have been heard[115] as far away as Stamford Hill, Leyton and Stratford, but modern noise pollution means that the bells can only be heard as far as Shoreditch.

    The Cockney dialect has lexical borrowings from Yiddish, Romani, and costermonger slang, and a distinctive accent that includes T-glottalization, a loss of dental fricatives, diphthong alterations, the use of rhyming slang and other features. The accent is said to be a remnant of early English London speech, strongly influenced by the traditional Essex dialect,[86] and modified by the many immigrants to the area.[116] Cockney English is spoken widely in the East End, other areas of East London and in many traditionally working-class areas across London.

    The position of the Cockney dialect in London has been weakened by the promotion of Received Pronunciation (RP) in the 20th century, and by the scale of migration to London. This has included both gentrifying domestic migration (RP speakers) and the scale of international migration. Conversely, out-migration from East London has spread the Cockney dialect beyond the capital.

    The Cockney dialect taken beyond London is sometimes referred to as Estuary English, heavily influenced by Cockney and named after the Thames Estuary area where the movement of East Londoners to south Essex and to a lesser extent parts on north Kent led it to be most widely spoken.[117] Within London Cockney speech is, to a significant degree, being replaced by Multicultural London English, a form of speech with a significant Cockney influence.

    By tradition any child born at sea was considered a parishioner of Stepney[118] (the parish covered most of the East End at one time), and could claim Poor Relief there. They might, by extension, also be called an East-ender. The maritime association is remembered in the old rhyme:

    "He who sails on the wide sea, is a parishioner of Stepney"

    BellsGeoffrey Chaucer, then living in the City Wall's Aldgate gatehouse, recorded a pre-existing bell-founding industry, outside the wall in the Aldgate\Whitechapel area.

    Two of the six sets of bells featured in the Nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons are in the East End (Whitechapel and Two of the six sets of bells featured in the Nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons are in the East End (Whitechapel and Shoreditch), as well as that symbol of the East End - Bow Bells (at St Mary-le-Bow on Cheapside, within the former walls and therefore outside of the East End). Older versions of the rhyme include the bells at Aldgate, though this may instead reference the bell founding industry in that area. The Shoreditch bells that feature in the rhyme are used to represent Shoreditch in the Coat of arms of the London Borough of Hackney.

    The Whitechapel Bell Foundry opened in 1570, and until its closure in 2016 was the oldest manufacturing company in the UK.[119] The foundry built many of the most famous bells in the world including Big Ben, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and Bow Bells. Other Whitechapel cast bells of local significance include St Dunstan's in Stepney, and the parish churches of West Ham and Hackney. The Olympic Bell at the London Stadium – the largest harmonically tuned bell in the world and used in the opening ceremony of the 2012 games was jointly developed by Whitechapel, in partnership with a Dutch foundry.

    St Dunstan and Stepney

    Dunstan was a tenth century churchman, statesman and saint with strong links to the East End area. As Bishop of London he was also the Lord of the Manor of Stepney, an estate that included most or all of what would become the East End, and like subsequent bishops

    Dunstan was a tenth century churchman, statesman and saint with strong links to the East End area. As Bishop of London he was also the Lord of the Manor of Stepney, an estate that included most or all of what would become the East End, and like subsequent bishops may have lived in the manor. The extent of the manor, and the association with the Tower means the Tower division, also known as the Tower Hamlets may have been based on Stepney.[120]

    [121]) St Dunstan's Church in Stepney. This was initially the only church for the Parish of Stepney which, like the manor, originally included much or all of the East End area, with daughter parishes forming much later as a result of population growth. For this reason, St Dunstan's is known as The Mother Church of the East End [122] (not to be confused with St Mark's in Dalston, known as the Cathedral of the East End due to its size). As patron of Stepney, Dunstan is the closest East London has to a patron saint. He is also the patron saint of bell ringers and various types of metalworker. His feast day is 19 May.

    Dunstan's links to the area led to his fire-tong symbol being included in the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney, and the arms of its successor, the modern London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

    Brick Lane Mosque

    Dunstan's links to the area led to his fire-tong symbol being included in the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Stepney, and the arms of its successor, the modern London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

    Throughout its history, the East End has evolved in response to economic and social change, including migration, with its population being joined by large numbers of people from the UK and overseas. This is exemplified by the Brick Lane Mosque.[123][124]

    The mosque was first built as a church by Huguenot Protestant refugees who came to East London to escape persecution in France. After much of that community moved on from the Spitalfields area it was used as a Huguenot Protestant refugees who came to East London to escape persecution in France. After much of that community moved on from the Spitalfields area it was used as a Methodist chapel for a more widely based Christian congregation. It later became a synagogue, used by Jewish people who came to avoid pogroms in the Russian Empire and other parts of Europe. The Jewish community of the area dwindled, and in 1976 the building was taken on by the local Bengali community and is now used as a mosque.

    The Tower Division (also known as the Tower Hamlets), was a part of Middlesex, but managed the reserve forces and other county functions itself; it was independent of the Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex, having its own Lord Lieutenant, the Constable of the Tower. The Tower Hamlets men, or Hamleteers, supplemented the Tower of London's small Yeoman Warder garrison, and were also available for use in the field.[125] The first surviving reference to the service owed to the Tower dates to 1554, but it describes pre-existing obligations, so the association is likely to be considerably older.[126]

    Recruitment poster for the Tower Hamlets Rifles, c.1930

    Local forces continued to be primarily based on the Tower Division until its abolishment in 1900, though Tower Hamlets units remained part of the army until 1967. During th

    Local forces continued to be primarily based on the Tower Division until its abolishment in 1900, though Tower Hamlets units remained part of the army until 1967. During the twentieth century, army units were generally based on more local areas, for instance the Poplar and Stepney Rifles. The First World War saw a proliferation of local battalions, including several “Pals” units, but this representation was reduced in the Second World War due to the smaller size of the army and the reduced emphasis on units with small recruitment areas.

    Pearlies

    The Pearly Kings and Queens, or more usually pearlies, are a traditional part of London costermonger culture, their name derives from their clothes which are decorated with mother-of-pearl buttons.

    The Pearly Kings and Queens, or more usually pearlies, are a traditional part of London costermonger culture, their name derives from their clothes which are decorated with mother-of-pearl buttons.

    [127] Pearlies are part of the East End's heritage, but contrary to the widespread perception, they are not an exclusively East End institution, there are Pearly Kings and Queens across inner London. A parade of real-life Pearly Kings and Queens was featured at the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony.

    Politics and social reform

    Huguenot weavers arrived in the East End, settling to service an industry that grew up around the new estate at Spitalfields, where master weavers were based. They brought with them a tradition of "reading clubs", where books were read, often in public houses. The authorities were suspicious of immigrants meeting and in some ways they were right to be as these grew into workers' associations and political organisations. Towards the middle of the 18th century the silk industry fell into a decline – partly due to the introduction of printed calico cloth – and riots ensued. These "Spitalfield Riots" of 1769 were actually centred to the east and were put down with considerable force, culminating in two men being hanged in front of the Salmon and Ball public house at Bethnal Green. One was John Doyle (an Irish weaver), the other John Valline (of Huguenot descent).[128]

    In 1844, an Association for Promoting Cleanliness among the Poor was established, and built a bath-house and laundry in Glasshouse Yard, East Smithfield. This cost a single penny for bathing or washing, and by June 1847 was receiving 4,284 people a year. This led to an Act of Parliament to encourage other municipalities to build their own and the model spread quickly throughout the East End. Timbs noted that "... so strong was the love of cleanliness thus encouraged that women often toiled to wash their own and their children's clothing, who had been compelled to sell their hair to purchase food to satisfy the cravings of hunger".[129]

    William Booth