The East End – At the Center of London’s Culturally Diverse History

Brennan Marilla is a respected Boston executive who enjoys travel in his free time. During recent trips, Brennan Marilla had the opportunity to take in the sights of Paris and London. The image many tourists have of England’s capital centers on Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye. A historic city, London also rewards travelers who explore its distinctive neighborhoods, such as the culturally diverse, traditionally working-class East End.

Originally a village situated just outside London’s Roman walls, the East End was inhabited by waves of French Huguenots, who were seeking to flee religious oppression. By the19th century, Irish and Jewish immigrants formed the neighborhood’s ethnic base, which was supplanted by Bangladeshis in the 20th century.

At the center of the East End is Regent’s Canal, which provided a vital transportation conduit for the distribution of goods in London during the days before the automobile. Famous for its Cockney slang, the East End also has its sinister side. Jack the Ripper went on his murder spree here in 1888, and Alfred Hitchcock began his directorial career here with Gainsborough Studios. The vibrant neighborhood today is known for its boutiques and art galleries and an ethnically diverse makeup.