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Brick Lane: A Contested Heritage?

Updated on May 17, 2015
Brick Lane street sign
Brick Lane street sign | Source


Brick Lane: East End Demystified

The vibrant and multicultural mystique of London's East End can be explored through a walking tour of the area. The places of interest would include large clusters of Sunday markets, and the vibrant night life in the Shoreditch area. This district of Central London is one tourist destination that is bruited about in various tour guides from around the world. It is where you find a cross cultural heritage that is unmatched anywhere else in London.

The East End is where you find the 'cockney rhyming slang' dialect, where words are substituted for like words that rhyme. An example of this would be the word, "apple and pears" - which is the cockney slang for stairs; or "plates of meat" with the equivalent slang word of "feet".

Brick Lane is a small diversified community that was named after a long road that traverse from Whitechapel, going to the north of Shoreditch. The place is also called Banglatown, due to the numerous migrants that came from India or Bangladesh. This can be seen in the various bilingual road signs that is strewn along the place to help newcomers who does not speak English, during the 1980s influx of migrants.

The tourist guides tend to depict Brick Lane, in terms of its historical framework. What is depicted in the by lines would be a rundown of the different communities that helped create the city to what it is today - a multicultural community that exemplifies the best that its diverse migrants can offer.

Among the best attractions in Brick Lane would be its street markets that offer the best bargains that money can buy. It has been bruited about that the extremely low prices may be due to the difficult road that leads to the market. The main market day is Sunday, in accordance with Jewish tradition and attracts a lot of tourist and locals alike to the site.


Brick Lane, East London

Source

Restaurants in East London

Tourist Attractions

Brick Lane is known for its curry cuisines, with the largest concentration found between Woodseer and Fournier Streets. Among the best restaurants and eating places are: Bengal Village, Brick Lane Beigel Bake, Britain's First and Best Beigel Shop, New Tayyabs, and Lahore Kebabhouse among many others. Other interesting joints would include: Tas Firin, Gourmet San, Pellici's, Mala, Laciero and the Mahogany Bar for drinks.

For the city's nightlife, the tourist guides would pick the following bars where one can have fun and bonding moments with friends and family. These would include: Verge Bar, Vibe Bar, 93 Feet East, LCB Surf Store and Coffee Shop, Old Truman Brewery and Cafe 1001 and many others.

Among the best attractions in Brick Lane would be its street markets that offer the best bargains that money can buy. It has been bruited about that the extremely low prices may be due to the difficult road that leads to the market. The main market day is Sunday, in accordance with Jewish tradition and attracts a lot of tourist and locals alike to the site.

Curry Restaurants in Brick Lane

Source

The reality of what Brick Lane is all about, can be seen in various online reviews made by visitors recently, to wit:

  • An interesting place but had gone downhill in recent years. The place reeks of the smell of marijuana, with hippies roaming around the streets selling battered shoes and clothes. A lot of artists can be seen roaming around, but their presence is marred by junks that you see on the streets.
  • The place is filthy with rubbish thrown around the streets. We saw a couple of rats in a one hundred (100) yard walk! Prostitutes ply their trade in broad daylight! We experienced an addict who accosted us on the streets and urinated in front of the children, asking for money!
  • A great to visit when in London with lots of interesting stalls that sells vintage clothes, furniture, bikes and artifacts, among many others. The street food is delicious, and inexpensive. The place is a bit edgy but peopled with real characters everywhere!
  • Lots of different food outlets and cafes that one can try on. There is an interesting supermarket with an international array of items on their shelves. It is not unusual for you to buy goats, unusually big fishes, and an array of ethnic spices and mixes. There also exists an interesting vintage clothing market, that sells items at bargain prices.
  • The whole area has a great feel to it. The markets are superb and you can find lots of original stuff. But the star of the scene is the food. The place has the best street food that money can buy anywhere in London. The covered food market has a variety of food that anyone can try to savor.
  • My friends and I were told that we have to get Indian foods at Brick Lane, so oft we went. The place is full of Indian food joints that you can choose from. In each joint, a man can be seen standing at the entrance to attract passers by with twenty percent (20%) discount off the food price. The restaurants though, seemed indistinguishable from one another. But the place that went to, had superb food. We were glad to have gone back to savor the sumptuous Indian food!
  • The place has its old world charm with brick houses that you can only see in the movies and photographs. The markets are full of wonderful things that are cheap to buy. You can have lunch in any of the eating places. We enjoyed eating in one Indonesian restaurant and the food was superb!
  • Brick Lane is one of those exotic places that you want to visit when you are in London. It may seem uncleaned at first glance, but it is also where you find the most interesting places. Among these would be: a mosque which is near smack a Bangladeshi deli outlet and near an oriental supermarket, where exotic ingredients and other oriental mixes can be bought from its shelves.
  • Brick Lane has become one of the hippies place in London. The place is full of wall graffiti and art that lends a nostalgic urban atmosphere which are visually stimulating. There are also numerous stalls that sell vintage clothes. In the back alleys, where you will find most of these stalls, would be a clothing paradise that is simply out of this world! You will also see young designer's, who sells their creations on the unused buildings and on the streets!
  • There are several highly acclaimed restaurants where you can savor the tastiest curry cuisines in all of London! There are choices of international food that can be bought in two big food markets in the vicinity. It is also where Beigel Bakeries is situated - where you can find the best pastries and bread; that are of top quality, and can be bought at cheap prices.


Conclusion

Brick Lane, which is a splice of the East side area of London, had in the past been known to be of ill-repute, due to incidences of crime and poverty. Today, it had unraveled itself to become a safe and exotic destination for any tourist to experience. Normal precautions are however, advised during the night. The people in the area are proud of their homes; hence, it is advisable for tourist to thread around the locals or regulars in pubs and bars, most carefully. By and large, the people are friendly and welcoming to any traveler that visits the place!

A markerBrick Lane, East London -
Brick Lane, London, UK
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Recent Developments, 2014

There are recent developments in London’s East Lane that hit the news lately, which foretell that East London is now on the upswing:

First, is the Elite Business Brick Lane Conference headed by the late Cabinet Minister, Michael Portillo which is to be held on April 10 to 11 at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane. It is expected to get an audience of around 15,000 company CEO’s. Business presentation and workshops are to be presented by Britain’s top business gurus.

The conference targets small to medium size firms who are expected to learn business models and network with companies that offer products that they need for expansion. Organizations joining the conference include the London Chamber of Commerce and Companies House, among others.

Second, is the recent Tower Hamlets votes to provide free meals for primary kids up to 11 years old at the East End. This move will start the next school year beginning September. All primary school children numbering 25thousand plus, will have free meals that are paid for by taxpayers in the amount of approximately £2.6 million a year.

Third, is the recent move of London Mayor Boris Johnson to bulldozed structures at the old Victorian workhouse at London’s East End. This move will pave the way to ease down the upward spiral of housing cost. It was agreed that part of Bow Road could be used for low cost housing.

Source:

http://www.eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk/

Brick Lane, London Travel Video

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    • austinhealy profile image

      Bernard J. Toulgoat 4 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

      I am a big time Anglophile and London is my favorite large city in the whole world. However, prior to reading your hub, I had never heard of Brick Lane. I looked at the place on Google images and I will definitely go there on my next trip to London in the Spring and have some Indian curry food. So thank you very much for your contribution to my education :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I hadn't heard of this. Thanks for providing a realistic account, from the good food to the rats and indecent exposure.

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