BETHNAL GREEN – Heart of the East End
This is the area most associated with the term ‘East End’, typified in the now legendary plucky resistance to the horrors of the Blitz.  To the surprise of many there is still a ‘green’ and many elegant 18c houses and grand Victorian ‘villas’.  A favourite haunt of Pepys, it soon declined from rural retreat to notorious Victorian slum, which gave rise to the founding of Victoria Park which the walk briefly visits. It is difficult to believe one is only 3 miles from the City  (+ 45 min. optional extension exploring evolution of social housing).

GANSTERS OF THE EAST-END – IN THE STEPS OF THE KRAY TWINS
Reggie and Ronnie Kray are now part of the folklore of the East End. These notorious and violent gangsters dominated and terrorised post-war London. The walk weaves round the backstreets of Bethnal Green and Whitechapel, tracing their life and crimes, ending at the infamous Blind Beggar Pub.

JEWISH LONDON – PERSECUTION AND PERSEVERANCE (inc. Bevis Marks Synagogue)
A walk tracing the history of the Jews in London, from their arrival with William the Conqueror, to the establishment of the Jewish East End. Visit the oldest synagogue still in use in England, at Bevis Marks (entry charge – subject to opening hours).

POPLAR
Lying a stone’s throw North of Canary Wharf yet a million miles away in atmosphere, Poplar is still a poor area. Although victim to creeping gentrification from the South, it still retains its East End community spirit, evolved during its pre-war era of deprivation. It became the test bed for post-war planning with the showcase ‘Festival of Britain’ housing estate. It is still dominated by social housing, but there are many surprising remnants of its earlier history.

SPITALFIELDS + WHITECHAPEL – IMMIGRANT LONDON
Only yards from the City of London, yet atmospherically a million miles away, this area has seen waves of immigrants since 17th century. See foundations of a medieval charnel house, Huguenot weavers’ houses, traces of the Jewish East End.  Now it is home to London’s  Bangladeshi community.  The walk can end with either a curry in Brick Lane, or a 10min extension through Whitechapel takes us to a more local Bangladeshi restaurant not yet on the tourist trail.

STEPNEY AND LIMEHOUSE
A linear walk through 2 of the East End’s contrasting ‘hamlets’ – Stepney, site of rich 18c merchant houses and many remnants of the Jewish East End, – and Limehouse, single-mindedly focused on its maritime heritage with its rope walks and seamen’s hostels.  The walk will pass 2 historic churches, the medieval parish church of Stepney and Hawkmoor’s massive St. Anne Limehouse. It will end with a drink at the 17c riverside Grapes pub, known to Pepys, Dickens and Oscar Wilde and now part-owned by Sir Ian McKellan.

STEPNEY + VICTORIAN PHILANTHROPY incl. visit Ragged School Museum
A walk (approx 1 ¼ hrs) through Stepney, with its impressive examples of Victorian social housing, designed to give context to a visit to the Ragged School Museum housed in a pair of canal-side warehouses purchased by Dr. Barnardo in 1876 for his ‘ragged’ school.  The walk will also pass traces of the older Stepney, a medieval parish church, 18c. merchants’ houses and remnants of the Jewish East End. (Weds. and Thurs. only).

SYLVIA PANKHURST AND THE EAST END SUFFRAGETTES
A walk round Bow, a less frequented area of the East End, but one associated with the East London Federation of Suffragettes, led by Sylvia Pankhurst.  This walk traces the life and work of Sylvia and the ELFS, particularly their initiatives to ameliorate the lives of factory girls. (We pass the Bryant and May Match factory).  Still an area of deprivation, but fast changing as a result of the ‘Olympic Effect’.

WAPPING AND ST. KATHERINE’S DOCK
These areas immediately East of the Tower were amongst the original 21 medieval ‘Tower hamlets’ of Stepney.  Whilst mainly subsumed into the great docklands of the 19c. and the regeneration of the 20/21c. some traces of their earlier colourful history remain.  Narrow cobbled streets, towering warehouses and old dock walls, riverside pubs, 17c charity schools, a Hawksmoor church and modern apartment developments all feature.

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