Locale East End

One of those geographically imprecise terms for an area of London (cf West End), the East End is nevertheless well defined in the minds of most Londoners (and many non-Londoners too). Most would classify the East End as beginning at the easterly edge of the City -- that is around Aldgate and the [Tower Of London]? and spreading eastwards towards the docks (now Docklands) and beyond out to at least [West Ham]? and [East Ham]?. Quite where the East End ends, and East London begins, is a matter for serious debate and argument over a pint!

One suggestion is that the East End is a region of inner East London, bounded by the City at the west, the River Thames at the south, the River Lea at the east and Grand Union Canal (the Hertford Union Canal and Regent's Canal stretches) at the north. It thus comprises Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, [Locale Stepney]?, Mile End, Wapping, Shadwell, Limehouse, the Isle of Dogs, Poplar and Bow; it includes the Docklands geographically, if not spiritually. It does not include Hackney.

As the centre of London's industry and dockyards, the East End was a major target for the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, and The Blitz was actually responsibly for clearing vast swathes of slum housing, much of which wasn't finally rebuilt until the 1960s, and the arrival of modern concrete housing estates and tower blocks. The East End has also had its fair share of notoriety and infamy, being the stalking ground of Jack the Ripper, and the birthplace and "manor" of [The Krays]?.

The East End is famed for its markets, which arose here due to its proximity to the Thames and the City. Indeed, one could argue that the City is really spiritually part of the East End - the City's traders may deal in part-ownership of companies, imaginary piles of zinc, and incomprehensible derivatives instead of meat and vegetables, but they're still a bunch of chancers.

For centuries the East End has been synonymous with the run-down difficult living conditions suffered by London's poor -- both the indigenous residents and recent immigrants. Successive waves of immigration over the past few hundred years have made the East End their home: in the 17th century Huguenots, the 19th century Irish and Jews, and in the 20th century a large Bangladeshi community. Many of these communities were centred around Shoreditch -- especially Brick Lane -- and Whitechapel.

The East End is the natural home of the Cockney. Since it covers Bow, and therefore also Bow Church, many believe that true Cockneys are supposed to have been born within the sound of this church's bells, but in fact bow bells refers to the church of St Mary le Bow in the City of London.

(much more needs to be added to this entry!)

Last edited 2006-12-10 16:52:07 (version 11; diff). List all versions.