Category: East London

Getting to grips with Tower Hamlets (the borough that begins immediately east of the City of London) can be confusing.

Looking at the statistics will tell you that this is one of the poorest boroughs, not only in London but in the country as a whole (it has the highest level of child poverty in the UK according to official figures).

Yet Tower Hamlets is also home to the prosperous business district of Canary Wharf and many lavish apartment developments along the north bank of the Thames. Wealthy bankers live and have their homes just strides away those in cramped flats and struggling to meets ends meet. If ever you wanted a picture of inequality, this is it.

But for me Tower Hamlets is a story change and transformation.

Over the last 500 years the area has undergone considerable development, with the East End (which is mostly contained within the borough of Tower Hamlets) and its docks having initially emerged as an overspill to the burgeoning City.

And today Tower Hamlets, following successive waves of immigrations, is one of the most diverse parts of the country.

St Mary Spital’s Charnel House

Take a look any map of medieval London and you can’t miss the 30 or so religious complexes dotted around the City and suburbs, housing the likes of monasteries, schools and hospitals. Surrounded by stone walls with secure entrances through gate houses, these private precincts grew into thriving […]

England’s Jerusalem – Jews in London

After a short break, Pastinthepresent.net returns. In my last post I was in Israel so, now back in London, it’s appropriate that I kick things off again today by tracing Jewish heritage across the capital. I’ve had a fascinating day visiting the oldest surviving synagogue in Europe, exploring […]