Life in the East End is unique, varied, and completely different from life anywhere else within London. City life always has an inimitable appeal, but this is never more apparent than in the East End. From the vibrant shops and world-class restaurants to the Jack the Ripper pub, famous for being the favoured haunt of the Ripper himself, the East End is full of hidden secrets.
But with such a varied life, especially taking the area’s rich history and culture into account, the East End is full of charismatic personalities and a remarkable charm all of its own. For a real snapshot of East End life, it is important to get to know the people behind the region.
A Vibrant History
As the area became more industrialised, many foreign visitors and refugees arrived to make the East End their new home. The ease of access from the Dockland area made arrivals come thick and fast, leading to a large influx of people which the quarter was not necessarily equipped to manage effectively.
Some of the earliest visitors were the Huguenot refugees in the 17th century, on the run from persecution in France. Many of these people picked up work in Spitalfields in the weaving trade, earning themselves elegant homes and a reputation among the city’s master weavers. However, most of these beautiful homes were soon repurposed, as the arrival of the Victorian era brought yet more people to the East End, tempted into the city by the industrial revolution.
Pay a Visit to the Jack the Ripper Pub
The East End at this time was a byword for poverty, crime and violence. Locals struggled to make ends meet, living conditions were dangerously crowded, and to top things off, Jack the Ripper was on the prowl. From the Ten Bells, the infamous Jack the Ripper pub, to the East End as a whole, people were terrified of becoming the Ripper’s next victim.
Soon, those who could afford to move out did so, leaving only those deepest in poverty behind. However, this became the catalyst for philanthropists working to improve the quality of life and raise the area out of poverty. The East End became the headquarters of the Suffragette movement as well as the first Barnados Ragged School and Home for Boys. When it comes to politics, today’s Labour Party owes much of its beginnings to the area.
Today, the East End is a vibrant melting pot of different cultures all coming together to celebrate diversity in the most remarkable of ways. While the area has definitely had a turbulent past, one thing is for sure – life within the East End is certainly never boring!