East End District
The label East End essentially describes all of London to the east of The City. Home to the cockney, to many the East End is the "real" London.
It is the industrial heartland of the capital, an association dates back to the 15th century when metalworkers were deemed to be too noisy to be located in The City. They re-located to the east of The City and you can still see evidence of this in Fieldgate Street, where the Whitechapel Bell Foundry still operates - it was founded in 1420!
The industrial hey day of the area, and of London as a whole, was the 18th and 19th century. As the empire expanded, London became one of the busiest ports in the world and the East End of London thrived. The Docklands of today are the lasting legacy of this era.
The East End of London also has a long association for poverty and crime, and this was particularly true in Victorian times. It was this part of London that was the setting for many of Dickens' novels, for example Oliver Twist. And it was in Whitechapel that Jack the Ripper stalked his victims.
Apart from the quintessential cockney, the East End has also been long associated with immigrants. Over the years the district has been home to, among others, French, Jewish, Irish, German and Indian immigrants.
The result today is a lively cosmopolitan atmosphere, and a London that is not quite so sterile as some of the more "touristy" areas. Whilst there is still a great deal of poverty around, this shouldn't put you off exploring the East End, for there are lots of good markets, museums and churches waiting to be discovered.
The most well-known East End districts include Whitechapel, the Docklands, Hackney, Bethnal Green and Wapping.
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