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Épater la Bourgeoisie
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Discussion Starter #1
Whitechapels heart is Whitechapel Road itself named for a small chapel of ease dedicated to St Mary: its earliest known rector was Hugh de Fulbourne in 1329.Whitechapel Road is now part of the A11 road though anciently it was the initial part of the Roman road between the City of London and Colchester exiting the city at Aldgate.
By the late 16th century the suburb of Whitechapel and the surrounding area had started becoming 'the other half' of London.Located east of Aldgate outside the City Walls and beyond official controls it attracted the more fragrant activities of the city particularly tanneries breweries foundries and slaughterhouses.
Population shifts from rural areas to London from the 17th century to the mid 19th century resulted in great numbers of more or less destitute people taking up residence amidst the industries and mercantile interests that had attracted them.By the 1840s Whitechapel along with the enclaves of Wapping Aldgate Bethnal Green Mile End Limehouse Bow Bromley-by-Bow Poplar Shadwell and Stepney had evolved or devolved into classic "Dickensian" London with problems of poverty and overcrowding.Whitechapel Rd. itself was not particularly squalid through most of this period—it was the warrens of small dark streets branching from it that contained the greatest suffering filth and danger such as Dorset St.(now a private alley but once known as "the worst street in London") Thrawl St. Berners St. (renamed Henriques St.) Wentworth St.and others.
In the Victorian era the basal population of poor English country stock was swelled by immigrants from all over particularly Irish and Jewish.Writing of the period 1883–1884 Yiddish theatre actor Jacob Adler wrote "The further we penetrated into this Whitechapel the more our hearts sank.Was this London?Never in Russia never later in the worst slums of New York were we to see such poverty as in the London of the 1880s.".This endemic poverty drove many women to prostitution.In October 1888 the Metropolitan police estimated that there were twelve hundred prostitutes "of very low class" resident in Whitechapel and about sixty-two brothels.Such prostitutes were the victims of Jack the Ripper (also called "The Whitechapel Murderer" at the time) who terrorised this part of London in the autumn of 1888.
The "Elephant Man" Joseph Carey Merrick (1862-1890) became well-known in Whitechapel - he was exhibited in a shop on the Whitechapel Road before being helped by Dr Frederick Treves (1853-1923) at the Royal London Hospital opposite the actual shop.There is a museum in the hospital about his life.
Whitechapel remained poor (and colourful) through the first half of the 20th century though somewhat less desperately so.It suffered great damage in the Blitz and the V1/V2 German "flying bomb" attacks of World War II.Since then Whitechapel has lost most of its notoriety though it is still thoroughly working class.The Bangladeshis are the most visible migrant group there today and it is home to many aspiring artists and shoestring entrepreneurs.

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Everyday i ride past #5 and its so upsetting! This magnificent building is just wasted, would be great if it could all be gutted and turned into some new shops, something of more interest. Does anyone know how or why the middle part is missing?
 

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Épater la Bourgeoisie
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Discussion Starter #8
^ The building was one of the East Ends major department stores - Wickhams it was completed in 1927.
When the old row of shops were being acquired to build the store in the early 1900s Speigelhalters a jewellers owned by Christian Moravians from Germany refused to part with their premises at any price.This led to the odd situation in which the new store was built around the jewellers shop which continued to trade when Wickhams opened on both its sides!
 
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