Brick Lane is one of the East End’s most well-known areas, as well as being an unmissable stop on walking tours in London.
It’s pretty safe to say that the East End has undergone a drastic change over the years. From its early associations with crime and poverty, in the era when the Ripper stalked the streets, to its modern approach to vintage markets and eclectic dining options available on every street, the East End’s transformation is remarkable.
But of all the streets in the area, Brick Lane has to be one of the most famous. The street is steeped in a rich history and cultural past, as well as finding itself the home of some of the district’s finest street art and shopping opportunities.
Thinking of heading down to see the sights of Brick Lane and the surrounding area for yourself? Check out our fact file for all of the essential information you will need for your visit.
How did Brick Lane get its name?
As the name suggests, Brick Lane was named after its former dominant industry of brick and tile manufacturing. The area was rich in clay and earth deposits perfect for brick making, with the production beginning as early as the 15th century. After the devastation of the Great Fire of London, demand for bricks and building materials increased. Locals installed a kiln at the northern end of Brick Road, from which newly-fired bricks were transported down the street to Whitechapel Road.
The area’s other main early industry was brewing. Truman’s Brewery is the most famous, established in 1666 and still going today, after a brief period of closure between 1989 and 2010. However, the area used to be home to another brewery too, Turner & Sons, a small operation surviving in the shadows beneath Truman’s landmark chimney.
Culture, History, Food and Shopping
When it comes to culture and history, you will be hard-pressed to find an area more diverse than Brick Lane. This is never demonstrated more clearly than in the building known today as Brick Lane Mosque, which has previously served as a Huguenot chapel, Methodist Church, and Jewish Synagogue since its creation in 1743.
For the foodies and shopaholics out there, Brick Lane is a melting pot of flavour explosions and shopping delights. The area’s markets boast vintage clothes, unique furniture and delicious food galore – don’t forget to make time to sample a curry from one of the astonishing 50 curry restaurants on Brick Lane!
Want to discover more about Brick Lane? Walking tours in London are the perfect way to get to grips with the sights and sounds of the East End. Browse our website to see our full range of tours and contact us to book your place today.