London History

.’. Brick Lane .’.

Brick Lane must be one of the most famous streets of London. Situated at East End London, Brick Lane is known for its great hip public and art at every corner.

Winding through fields, the street was formerly called Whitechapel Lane but derives its current name from former brick and tile manufacture, using the local brick earth deposits, that began in the 15th century. By the 17th century, the street was being built up from the south. Successive waves of immigration began with Huguenot refugees spreading from Spitalfields, where the master weavers were based, in the 17th century. They were followed by Irish, Ashkenazi Jews and, in the last century, Bangladeshis. The area became a centre for weaving, tailoring and the clothing industry, due to the abundance of semi- and unskilled immigrant labour.

Brewing came to Brick Lane before 1680, with water drawn from deep wells. One brewer was Joseph Truman, who is first recorded in 1683, but his family, particularly Benjamin Truman, went on to establish the sizeable Black Eagle Brewery on Brick Lane.

The Brick Lane Market, developed in the 17th century for fruit and vegetables, sold outside the city. The Sunday market, like the ones on Petticoat Lane and nearby Columbia Road, dates from a dispensation given to the Jewish community. It is centred around the junction with Cheshire Street and Sclater Street and sells bric-a-brac as well as fruit, vegetables and many other items. Nearer to the junction with Hanbury Street are two indoor markets; Upmarket and Backmarket. The Brick Lane Farmers’ Market opened every Sunday in nearby Bacon Street on the 6th June 2010.

Emma Elizabeth Smith was viciously assaulted and robbed in Osborn Street, the part of Brick Lane that meets Whitechapel High Street, in the early hours of 3 April 1888. It was one of the first of the eleven Whitechapel Murders, some of which were attributed to the serial killer, Jack the Ripper.

In 1742, La Neuve Eglise, a Huguenot chapel, was built on the corner of Brick Lane and Fournier Street. By 1809, it had become The Jews’ Chapel, for promoting Christianity to the expanding Jewish population, and became a Methodist Chapel in 1819.

Early Bangladeshi immigrants in the area attracted more larger immigration from Bangladesh in particular from the Greater Sylhet region, where many settled in the area of Brick Lane. These settlers helped shape Bangladeshi migration to Britain, families from Jagannathpur and Bishwanath tend to dominate in the Brick Lane area.

But what really makes Brick Lane this amazing place is the fact that everywhere you look art is there. And new artists can express themselves in different ways and make our day a colourful day.

Have a walk at Brick Lane, enjoy every step and keep your eyes open to what can surprise you.



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