April 2014

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnshelton/sets/72157643201502074//

If you watched the recent very much over-the-top detective series on Whitechapel on TV, you would think that Whitechapel was full of dark alleyways and rather scary streets – but it is not – especially as you move eastward towards Bow with it lovely Georgian housing squares and terraces.

That’s not to say that there aren’t echoes of a scary past at least: the first photo I have is of the Blind Beggar pub – where William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army) preached his first sermon. Just a short distance down the road is a mural showing him and others, and a statue – both of which I have also photographed. Whilst that is, of course, not at all scary, many years after William Booth was in the Blind Beggar, Ronnie Cray shot a member of the rival Richardson gang dead in the bar in broad daylight. I can still remember queuing for the 68 bus at Waterloo in the 1970s when day after day the huge armed police entourage went past taking the Crays each day to the Old Bailey.

Outside the pub is the Whitechapel street market and I have photographed a carpet stall.

There’s a photo of the East London Mosque looking back towards the City and also of a typical rag trade shop in the area around Commercial Street – on which the City towers encroach ever more.

I have taken some photos of the Cambridge Heath Road area (just off Whitechapel High Street) and the Whitechapel end of Cambridge Heath Road is made up of densely packed post War red brick housing in blocks up to about seven storeys in height. Not very photogenic – but I have provided one photo to show what it is like – including one block that is definitely not red brick.

Finally are a few snaps of Stepney and the increasingly gentrified Stepney Green. At the present pace, soon everywhere in London will be “gentrified” – and where will people who exist on or close to the minimum wage live then?

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