Just hearing the phrase the East End summons up images of slums and dark alleyways, with Jack the Ripper appearing from the mist, or housing estates and pubs where you might find the Kray twins. It is a place of poverty and menace, yet these images can prevent us from seeing the reality of life east of the City of London, and of its dark history. This study features stories of crimes and misdeeds that show what life was like in this area before the ‘East End’ existed. They also reflect the changes caused as the settlements of the Tower Hamlets became absorbed by the new metropolis of London. As there is nothing new under the sun, so these stories find their modern counterparts in our times. However, they also take us into unfamiliar territory as they bring to light the often forgotten past that underlies the present-day streets and lurks behind the faades of some of the areas older buildings. Many of the stories will be unfamiliar and indeed strange, but yet they show how the character and notoriety of the Citys famous shadow has been formed. Paying scrupulous attention to place, this volume features a wealth of specially-commissioned photographs, allowing the reader to locate these stories in the present-day London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
The Dark Side of East London