Here we dive to explore the ocean of life in this quirky, unique area of East London. While we’re likely to be bewildered by the combination of architecture and style in Spitalfields and Brick Lane, we will be saved by the logical outline of the historical development of these areas, which makes clear why the area is so strange. We will start from The Victorian Bath House.
We will discuss everything I know about St. Mary’s Hospital (Spital), from which Spitalfields got its name — because its history begins back in 1197! It will be interesting to know why the hospital had a market (and not only in this area!) We will talk about how the Great Fire of 1666 made the East End an area that attracted artisans and the working class. And of course, we will discuss the complex and mysterious Huguenots that Charles II welcomes, being under the impression that they bring with them … beetles!
Together we will figure out how the French of this area were joined by Jews (from the 1880s to the 1970s the area was one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe with more than 40 synagogues) and the Irish with their productions (for example, flax) and we will find weavers’ houses by wooden spools. We will understand why and who was exempt from certain taxes here and what a «top shop» (no, not the brand name) is, we will see a huge amount of completely different street art and we will prove that Banksy lived here, and maybe still lives.
And so it’s completely unsuitable to look for an ordinary museum in such an area, our museum on this tour will be the Old Spitalfields market. It is the perfect antidote to the mass market, where you can buy amazing things from emerging designers at low prices. It brings together small producers with local creatives and artisans, original and independent. Old Spitalfields Market is an indoor market in Spitalfields, London so the weather doesn’t matter, and has stood there for over 350 years!
In our third part of the tour, we will learn about the period when the area became a terrible place with the worst slums; it was the area with mass prostitution, crime, and cholera outbreaks, and it even made famous Jack the Ripper — the first serial killer in history! We will reveal the secret of how Banglatown appeared in the 1970s and saved the area — we will see the street of the best curry houses in the world! In addition to them, we are waiting for an amazing tea shop, Broccoli Man’s studio, designers, vintage sales, and delicious chocolate! We will see graffiti in the process of spraying and will finish in the first boxing park in Europe.
A delicious lunch awaits us with a tasting at the Bull in China shop! There is an extensive range of over 100 selected Japanese and Scottish whiskey that can be enjoyed as a cocktail or neat in a highball with handmade ice. A subtle presence of the Orient is everywhere — subdued lighting and luxurious banquettes against the backdrop of whitewashed brick walls, as well as an eclectic collection of oriental ornaments, will greet us. The food… let it be a surprise, but it is insanely delicious!