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There are a lot of inconsistencies between underground-station and tube-station in the links, which I will try and fix according to WikiProject London. --/Mat 10:57, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Jacob Adler[edit]

Don't know if anyone wants to use it, but Jacob Adler had some very telling comments about the poverty of Whitechapel, when he arrived there in the winter of 1883-1884: "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." He further describes seeing men pushing barrows who looked as if they "had come out of their mothers already gray and old. [Adler, 1999, 232-233]

There are 20-30 pages of interesting material about Whitechapel (and 1880s Jewish London in general) in his book.

Reference: Adler, Jacob, A Life on the Stage: A Memoir, translated and with commentary by Lulla Rosenfeld, Knopf, New York, 1999, ISBN 067941351.


Should the article really refer to "Bangladeshis" rather than "Bengalis"? The former is a national designation, the latter an ethnic one. I would imagine that a lot of the Bengalis in Banglatown are not Bangladeshi, but I don't know the neighbourhood all that well, so I could be mistaken. -- Jmabel | Talk

'Bangladeshi' is correct and generally in use (in fact TH council once tried to market the Brick Lane area as 'Banglatown' after Chinatown). And not only are most Asians hereabouts of Bangladeshi origin, but the majority of those are from one specific area of Bangladesh, the Sylhet region. Tarquin Binary 20:33, 25 October 2005 (UTC)
Thanks. Sounds like Bangladeshi is fine if that is where they are from. Yes, I was familiar with the designation Banglatown, but I believed that only implies Bengal: isn't it the "-desh" that means "land"? -- Jmabel | Talk 06:55, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, and of course Bangladesh can be said to be a subset of Bengal. But it's all down to the partition of India and the subsequent independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan - and a crude definition of Bangladesh would be the Muslim area of Bengal. (But note, before 1971, all Bangladeshis in the UK would have been known as Pakistanis). As it happens, the vast majority of Asians in Tower Hamlets are Muslims, while Hindus are heavily concentrated in Southall in West London. (It's not quite that ghettoised, of course, there is quite a dispersal of ethnic groups all across the city.) It's not always easy to figure out why one ethnic group settles in a particular area, but there is some evidence that in the case of Bangladeshis this may have been due to the wide employment of East Indian (as it was originally) seamen on British merchant ships who were known as lascars (Wikipedia contradicts itself on this entry, anyway, the term is widely used by Joseph Conrad, but likely considered offensive if used in any other way than historically now), but that term included Hindu seamen, and those from Africa and the Middle East too, so it does not explain everything. In any case, Bangladeshis from the Sylhet region have a long acquaintance with the sea and would have become very familiar with East London from serving on British ships. Tarquin Binary 14:31, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Additional. Re: 'Banglatown', the term is not really used any more. It was TH council's bright idea once upeon a time, but it is apt to raise a sneer today. The area that was labelled that has reverted to what we always called it: 'Brick Lane' (which includes surrounding streets). Tarquin Binary 14:41, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
The ward is still called "Spitalfields and Banglatown" MRSC 15:09, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Oops didn't know that. Still it's TH council. Wouldn't be seen dead using it conversation, and feel it hasn't really taken off in common parlance... Tarquin Binary 18:06, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
It was the name against "Ward:" on my voting card but if you go to their website and search for "ward map" you can also see it that way. I seem to remember there were a few news stories at the time about the change as it was considered newsworthy. I remember I once used the term to describe the area - and the person I was talking to accused me of being racist. MRSC 18:34, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't think it's racist, and IIRC, when they first started to promote the name, TH council was actually trying to support the Bangladeshi community, I think (though their past record had been a trifle erratic). I do think it's sort of tacky, though, in a way that 'Chinatown' isn't, but it's hard to explain why... Tarquin Binary 19:33, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Neither do I. I think the person I was speaking to was unsure of what is currently PC. MRSC 19:44, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Classic, like people here in the U.S. who blanch when Native Americans call themselves "Indians". Which many do. When I was last in London (about 4 years, I live on the opposite side of the globe these days) the name Banglatown seemed reasonably current, and certainly was being used on signs of neighborhood businesses owned by Bangladeshis, who were hardly likely to be using an offensive term for their own ethnicity and neighborhood.
BTW, before 1971, when Pakistan had two "wings", there a lot more people in the UK who remembered the Raj, and the word Bengali (as an ethnicity, sometimes meaning only Muslim Bengali's, sometimes including the Hindus) probably had some currency in London, though I don't really remember (most of my time in London is mid-'70s, probably only one visit before '71). -- Jmabel | Talk 23:05, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Yes, I see where you're coming from, I moved to London in '73 myself, and searching my memory, 'Bengali' was largely used, but that was only just after independence, Bangladesh was a new and unfamiliar country to UK citizens. (One might argue that it was put on non-Bangladeshi people's mental maps, sadly, by natural disaster (and George Harrison)). Also the Bangladeshi community was smaller then. Tarquin Binary 23:19, 27 October 2005 (UTC)


Am I mistaken in believing that more than a century before the major influx of Jews and Irish, there was an influx of Huguenots? Certainly true in the area immediately around Brick Lane, I don't know farther soutn/east in Whitechapel as well.

Huguenots were throughout the area from Shoreditch to Bethnal Green (Huguenot weaver riots led to two ring leaders being hanged outside the Salmon & Ball for 'cutting cloth' - damaging the product). Weaving was homeworking, with piecework being taken to the masters (in Spitalfields) for onward sale. Huguenots were also active in furniture and boot making - around the area; and further afield in clock and instrument making - around Clerkenwell.
There were several Huguenot chapels in the area, many reused as synagogues and latterly as mosques. One of my ancestors came here in 1585, but most arrived at the end of the 17th century. Since the community was pretty close, marriages took place within it and the last identifyingly 'french' name in my family died out about 1900 in Bethnal Green. There were many Huguenot charities and societies, including 'reading clubs' many of these led to early workers' associations, trade unions and other socialist organisations Kbthompson 15:51, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Whitechapel Art Gallery[edit]

Shouldn't we mention Whitechapel Art Gallery? -- Jmabel | Talk 08:35, Feb 20, 2005 (UTC)

Absolutely, yes! I will do something about this soonest. One of my hobbyhorses, (that I haven't had time to pursue) is that given its importance in East London, contemporary art in the area is covered very poorly indeed in Wikipedia, but the overall subject needs a proper revamp. In the meantime, it's well naff to leave the Whitechapel out. Tarquin Binary 19:40, 26 October 2005 (UTC)
Added. -- Jmabel | Talk 23:13, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Nice one! I fixed the redlink to the gallery, though. It does actually have a pedia entry, which I think I or someone else should strive to get a pic for. There's a lot of good material in this piece, actually, but I do think it needs organising into sections, which will generate a contents menu for a start. And more pix will help with layout too. Tarquin Binary 23:26, 27 October 2005 (UTC)


Don't know if it merits mention/link, but the Grave Maurice pub in Whitechapel was one of the Kray twins haunts. -- Jmabel | Talk 08:39, Feb 20, 2005 (UTC)


Another possible source to mine for the article: a page on the Whitechapel Workhouse and Poor Law Union. -- Jmabel | Talk 08:45, Feb 20, 2005 (UTC)

Flowery phrase[edit]

Jmabel, I wote this article a couple years ago and it has stayed basically the same since (not that it should always stay the same, I'm just establishing I'm no casual editor on this one). I'll go with your deletion of that "flowery phrase that implies malign divine intervention, and tells reader he/she must believe in it", at least until I think it over more. I'm afraid, though, that you've misinterpreted it and also that one man's flowery is another man's well-turned. It is the latter point that concerns me most, actually, because I fear this general tendency to make the tone of all articles on all subjects match the tone of sci/tech articles is extremley damaging to the project. I think the best editors do believe in variety for variety's sake, and an article on a colorful hard-scrabble neighborhood presents a fine opportunity for a varying tone and spirit. It makes me think of what the best zoos have done in recent decades: instead of havng absolutely every animal locked down in a tightly caged exhibit, some have been given space to run and fly. Sure, you can clip every bird's wings and have an endlessly neat aviary. But is it better than having a few exhibits in which the birds can zing around and show off a little? Not to me.

For reference's sake, here's the removed sentence: "Regardless of one's politics, it is difficult to read either How the Other Half Lives or The People of the Abyss without wondering if such deep, large scale social ills (poverty, homelessness, exploitive work conditions, prostitution, infant mortality, etc.) are caused, or at least abetted, by something or somebody more culpable than fate."

As its author I can tell you there is no implication of malign divine intervention. The implication is that the wealthy of Olde London, those basically of the Ebeneezer Scrooge cast, as most of the wealthy in most cultures, had been so industrious over generations in concentrating the great majority of resources into their own hands that they must share some culpability for the bad condition of all these hundreds of thousands whose antecedents had not been so acquisitive (or one might even say "rapacious"). Perhaps malign, definitely not divine.

That covers the "somebody" of the sentence. The "something" also does not imply God/gods but points to greed itself as a disembodied force.

I admit the phrase is ornate and rather throwback in tone (as you can see, I'm fond of writing this way). But I submit that this sort of writing is not always inferior to the direct, clipped approach employed as the default in Wikipedia. Come now, when we are honest we admit that we enjoy Dickens more than we enjoy Hemingway. That's not to say that in the end we get more from Dickens than from Hemingway, but it is to say that the ornate familiar voice can sometimes have its place. Think it over. JDG 10:25, 11 August 2005 (UTC)

  • It wasn't the ornateness of the phrase I had a problem with (and I've had people do similar things to my prose; see this example. If you can rewrite the sentence to indicate a bit more clearly where you are saying the blame lies, I'm all for restoring nice proseAfter someone else had deleted the sentence and you had restored it, I re-read it several times trying to make sense of it. If an educated reader, reading carefully, could misunderstand as I did, some rewording is probably in order. To be honest, my second guess after a malign divinity was that somehow you were blaming them and saying they somehow deserved this to happen to them. I think "Regardless of one's politics…" may be what threw me off of what you say was your intended reading: it seemed to suggest, precisely, rejection of a political explanation, so it eliminated the reading you apparently intended. "…something or somebody more culpable than fate" could be anything, so I took my cue from the other phrase: how can you both reject and embrace a political explanation in the same sentence? -- Jmabel | Talk 18:44, August 11, 2005 (UTC)

A Philosophical Question[edit]

Where does Whitechapel end and Spitalfields begin? This is confusing me. For instance Jack the Ripper's depredations are often referred to as the 'Whitechapel Murders'. However the infamous Ripper pub, 'The Ten Bells' is adjacent to Christ Church, Spitalfields and the site of Mary Kelly's murder is just a few yards away.... Colin4C 09:06, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

In terms of the Ripper, should sort this out for you. In more generality, I don't know the precise borders, or even whether there are legally established borders of anything other than the City. - Jmabel | Talk 00:24, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Off the top of my head, Whitechapel was a distinct region of London, part of Stepney - with an eponymous 'chapel of ease'. Spitalfields originated as 'the open land beyond Bishopgate and Whitechapel' related to the old Bethlehem Hospital (the original Bedlam, lies beneath Liverpool Station) - either because it funded it, or because it was where the patients worked. So, Spitalfields had no seperate identity, but became attached to the name both of a C17th estate and an C18th market that later occupied the site. If demanded, I can probably dig out references. I have maps, but they're only photocopies. It was also a 'tenter ground' being used for the dying of cloth - so, might be one of the origins of the area's associations with the rag trade. HTH Kbthompson 16:05, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

External links[edit]

Any particular reason for the inclusion of the link to "Barts and The London NHS Trust"? Nothing actively wrong with it, but we have plenty of good external links here, and we don't usually link a hospital. I realize that this one is a somewhat more than routinely important local institution; I still can't see why it would be of particular interest to most people who would look up this article. What is the rationale? - Jmabel | Talk 06:53, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Maybe more should be made of the hospital; important historically; important for colour - like Joseph Merrick; important for being the base of HEMS and taking up such a large chunk of prime real estate (even more soon). A museum, Edith Cavell and Eva Luckes. 'Black' items on the ripper and Dr Crippen.
I know hospital websites are more like corporate 'things' now, and there is a separate article on the Royal London (apparently in need of loving care and attention, as it's uncited ... but most seems to come from the website).
I think the principal should be, if there's a good mention in the article, and an organisation has its own website, then it's in. If it hangs in cyberspace, without explanation, then it's probably out ... Maybe hospitals should be like 'Administration' and get a link in the template? Kbthompson 10:33, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

There is really very little about the neighborhood in the Barts and The London NHS Trust site. Removing. If someone wants to write about the Royal London Hospital, fine. - Jmabel | Talk 16:33, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Blue Bs[edit]

Is it really necessary to have luminous blue B's in the text to denote that someone was born in Whitechapel???? Colin4C 20:43, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I've split the section into 'born' and 'associated with' subsections (and put list into alphabetical order). Better? Squiddy | (squirt ink?) 00:05, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
It does obviate the need to write born here, all over the place; but I suspect it's not particularly friendly to 'talker' software for the blind - it probably reads 'Caps-blue-B-normal' each time it comes across it, which definitely isn't preferable to the full expression. I think the guideline on page design is kiss; keep it simple.
There's a crop of natives breaking out all over the East End, while I'm sure the editors mean well, there are some contexts in which I could see it causing offence. The heading should be Residents (that includes people who were born in a place, usually). They're also attaching themselves to individual district pages, whereas I seem to have seen them in the past most commonly attached to the borough page, with a simple 'raised/lived/fought a duel/perished/hanged in Whitechapel' pointing out the particular relationship with the locality; that way information doesn't get duplicated across multiple districts (like perhaps Capt Cook - Whitechapel and Stepney Green), and such turf wars can be played out in one place.
it would also have the advantage that when the list gets inordinately long it can be spun into a 'famous residents of XXXXX' page - like many of the major cities have. I don't see the point of maintaining multiple lists. That's what categories are for.
Harrumph, edit conflicts, yes, probably ... Kbthompson 00:09, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Whitechapel (band)[edit]

how would I make an article about the death metal band named whitechapel —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 07:40, 12 February 2007 (UTC).

You would need to be signed in, to create an article. If the band were considered non-notable, or the article were considered self promotion, it would likely be deleted at an early stage. A quick web search shows it to be a relatively new US band, and it might be more appropriate to wait until they were better known. Kbthompson 12:29, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
For the technicalities of the matter, see Wikipedia:Disambiguation. - Jmabel | Talk 18:55, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Whitechapel is a fairly large American grindcore band that released their full length debut "The Somatic Defilement" in 2007 under S.O.A.R Records. They have just signed to Metal Blade and are releasing another full length album "This Is Exile" in July. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:22, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

... and they are mentioned on the whitechapel (disambiguation) page at the head of this article. Kbthompson (talk) 14:44, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Whitechapel (band) !! Artlondon (talk) 15:11, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

19th century Prostitution[edit]

I have restored the referenced encyclopediac and relevent bit on 19th century prostitution and its relation to the endemic poverty of the area. Such prostitution was high-lighted by Jack the Ripper's attacks and mentioned by all 19th century social commentators on Whitechapel. See 'The Bitter Cry of Outcast London' by Mearns and Jack London's book, plus the social survey by Booth etc etc.Colin4C 19:52, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Hello Colin. I'm the original author of this article (this doesn't give me any particular status, I say it so you will know I'm not someone coming from out of the blue here). I think your version of the paragraph has a number of problems I don't have time to go into (for instance, the "prostitutes of very low class" statement-- unencyclopedic and subjective). Are you willing to work on a compromise? JDG 09:41, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
That sounds to me to be a quote from the police blotter of the time, and perhaps (if it remains) should be in quotes, or explained. From contemporary accounts these were desperate women. One of the Ripper accounts mentions one of the victims going out to 'turn a trick' to obtain a loaf of bread and the rent money. Given their druthers, I would think they would do anything else, and these women drifted between work (when they could get it) and prostitution. Kbthompson 10:16, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I think the 'low class' epithet was from contemporary police files. The Victorians were very conscious and explicit about the class divisions in society (which still exist, except that we now use euphemisms like 'socially excluded' etc or pretend that we live in a classless society). Booth in his maps of London even shaded in different colours the class distinctions of the populace of the streets of London. The 'low class' prostitutes of Whitechapel were to be distinguished from higher class prostitutes of Mayfair and the West End etc who would typically solicit for custom in the foyers of theatres and music-halls, such as the Empire, Leicester Square (such higher class prostitutes are noted both by Winston Churchill in his Autobiography and depicted by Charlie Chaplin in the film 'Limelight'). However, by contrast, according to Rumbelow the prostitutes of Whitechapel were indeed of the quality Kb suggests: often ragged, unwashed, drunk, middle-aged, with blackened teeth and a penchant for wearing steel toe capped boots to deter aggressive males and female competition. Not like the fantasy women you see in the movies...
As for invidious or subjective language, we could tie ourselves in knots trying to formulate some PC euphemisms to describe such social phenomena. Personally I think the term 'prostitute' itself is an invidious label. 'Fallen women' sounds much nicer...Colin4C 17:53, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Huh. To me, "prostitute" is a simple statement of "sex for money" and carries no inherent judgment. "Fallen woman" is inherently moralistic. I can immediately think of at least three people in my close acquaintance who have been prostitutes but would certainly not have considered themselves in any sense "fallen" (and one of them is not even a "woman"). - Jmabel | Talk 18:58, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
My personal feeling is that the expression in the article should merely be referenced and appear in quotes. I don't think there's any judgement there, just use of contemporary accounts - they may well be judgemental. I got the impression that JDG was in favour of censoring it, and that Colin was merely discussing the undesirability of euphemism. The modern reader is well able to make their own mind up. Kbthompson 19:33, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
I've added some quote marks. As for terminology I think 'prostitute' is no more or less value-neutral than 'fallen woman'. 'Common prostitute' in the UK is a legal term used to label and stigmatise women caught soliciting for sex. It is not a value-neutral descriptive term: it is rather the verbal equivilant of physically branding them (as also used to happen to women of that class). There is no such thing as value-neutral language: all language and terminology encodes cultural values. Colin4C 21:39, 6 March 2007 (UTC)


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.

Not quite true, the ancient trackway from London to Colchester lead along Old Street-BG Rd-Roman Road->Old Ford. The Romans altered the course of this, by linking in London Bridge. The road from Aldgate lead only into Tower Hamlets. 'Bethnal Green: Communications', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney, Bethnal Green (1998), pp. 88-90. Kbthompson 22:02, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

The Old Street route bypassed Londinium completely: as far as I'm aware it was part of a Roman road connecting Silchester and Colchester (the old Roman capital), before Londinium (to the south) was even thought of. To access this route from Londinium and London Bridge you'd either have to go north through Bishopsgate up Ermine Street (aka Shoreditch Highstreet) and turn right about where Shoreditch church is now (which sounds like an odd procedure) or exit via a linking roman road from Aldgate, which is definately Roman. There are no other possibilities: there are no Roman gates between Aldgate and Bishopsgate. Therefore your source does not appear to make sense of the geography of London....Colin4C 12:40, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
It's called authoritative; the Victoria history is a peer reviewed collection; and yes, the road from London Bridge/Londinium joined the ancient trackway via Ermine Street to outside St Leonards. It makes sense when you recall that much of Stepney was a marsh in Roman times, and that the tidal reach of the Lee was Hackney Wick. The route to Colchester lay across the marshes, via a causeway to Leyton.
The Roman road layout didn't all go through the City, they probably had a congestion charge ... but they did seek to control passage, so there may well have been a roman fort near St Leonards (for which I have no evidence whatsoever ...) Kbthompson 14:17, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Your interpretation makes some sense out of the rather obscure wording of your 'authoritative' source. Which is not to say that either the source or your interpretation of it is necessarily true. I myself have contributed articles to hard-cover encyclopedias for the Cambridge University Press etc and I don't regard myself or the peers who reviewed my articles as 'authoritative': just skilful bluffers in back-slapping world of corporate Academe. Now where did I put that map of Roman London I used to have??? Colin4C 15:22, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
is this what you're looking for? No wonder you're always getting lost ... and I thought I was having trouble following the Victorian street maps. There's no Aldgate, and the gate doesn't seem to be around Bishopsgate, but a compromise between the two. It doesn't seem to mark Old Street at all, but I notice the Jubilee line is marked! Kbthompson 15:40, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
What a weird map! Looks like it was drawn in biro by some drunken archaeologist on the back of an envelope after having imbibed 12 pints of London Pride. Or possibly put out to confuse treasure hunters as to where exactly the Roman loot is concealed...Colin4C 15:53, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

OK, but what are we going to do with your purple prose, at best it's misleading, at worst the drunken ramblings of an archaeologist, who has no fellow feeling for his colleagues. - or, are you not convinced yet? BTW: They place great store by the Victoria History of Middlesex, it is supposed to be the definitive history of London. More often than not, I've found it to be right - but of course, the evidence may be reinterpreted at a later date. Kbthompson 16:06, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

I admire your faith in definitive knowledge. What I discovered after several years studying at uni was that mostly 'nobody knows nothing'...and that errors are repeated ad infinitum, though I think Socrates put the point in a more elegant form...Anyway, I wasn't saying the Vic Hist of Middlesex was wrong, merely that it was completely incomprehensible... Anyway I digress.... To get back to the point I have actually found my Roman map of London - part of the grandly titled 'Tabula Imperii Romani' series - and it seems that (on the map you referenced and my map) the angle of the wall through which the road on the right is traversing in a NE direction is actually the site of Aldgate! Our mental maps of London are both wrong: Algate and the road going through it take a NE route, not a due easterly route as we must both have imagined. Therefore this Roman road, going north-east on the general line of Aldgate High Street and Whitechapel Road will avoid the marshes and eventually intersect with the Old Street-Hackney Road Roman Road. However this latter is all just pure logic on my part - I admit I have not got a reference stating that Whitechapel Road is part of the Roman road to Colchester... Colin4C 22:03, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

It's my background in fundamental computing, all technologists are like that ... I too seem to have mislaid my Roman A-Z guide to Stepney. I don't really think we can say that Whitechapel Rd is a Roman Rd. There are aspects that suggest it, but the bridge it runs straight as a die to, wasn't built until the 14th century. The whole area is strange anyway, because the history of the 'waste' isn't dealt with, and is a little invisible in the histories - as is the Whitechapel Mound (roughly where the hospital is); and apparently a pile of ordure, much as Nova Scotia Gdns. I'd say remove the statement, and continue looking into it, until either one or t'other of us has anything to report. Kbthompson 00:08, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

There are two interesting things you can say about the road.

  1. Shakespeare's fool morris dancing to Norwich, started here
  2. Geese & Turkeys walked the other way - one lot with socks on to protect their feet!

Kbthompson 00:23, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

I notice that the Vic History of Middlesex references Margary's 'Roman Roads of Britain'. I will see if I can obtain this latter volume and see if Margary can account for the mystery or at least give us a nice quote. If we posit that a Roman road left the city at the Roman gate of Aldgate, using computer logic, there must be a finite number of routes it could have taken, therefore there is at least a possibility that it took the Whitechapel Road route. I'm off to the library, be back soon... Colin4C 09:51, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Right ... well I found you a reference. The Roman Rd exits the city at Aldgate, but then turns up Petticoat Lane to join Hackney Rd - an ancient trackway. However, of the main rd, Its straightness between Aldgate and the junction with the Romford road in West Ham indicates a Roman origin. The name Stratford given to the settlements on both the Middlesex and Essex sides (Stratford Langthorn), in conjunction with the name Old Ford, suggests the existence of two fords and of a metalled road in use with a ford well before the bridge. I'll have to rewrite Bow, as well ... Kbthompson 11:26, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Er...just to say that Petticoat Lane does not lead to Hackney Road...If you look in your A-Z you will see that its leads to Bishopsgate...I have never heard that Petticoat Lane (aka Middlesex Street) is of Roman origin....Where is your reference?
And just to say (back from the library...) that I have found TWO references which provide SOME confirmation of what I was saying earlier. This from 'London: City of the Romans' (1983) by Ralph Merrifield:

The road to Camulodunum (Colchester) was...accomodated by Aldgate...Beyond Aldgate traces of gravel metalling have been found on natural clay 10ft (3m) below the present street level of Aldgate High Street, which presumably follows its line. Its course EASTWARD of Whitechapel High Street is quite unknown, however, until the approach to the Lea crossing at Old Ford was reached (page 123).

The above quote implies that Whitechapel High Street follows the course of this old Roman Road. From another book 'Medieval London Suburbs' (1978) by K.G.T. McDonnel I further discover:

The [Roman] road ran from Aldgate to Old Ford, crossed the Lea there and went on to Stratford Langthorne, whence one branch went into Essex and the other turned north-eastwards towards East Anglia. It seems Old Ford was the junction between this road and the northern Old-Street-Hackney Road Roman by-pass. However McDonnel further comments (pages 68-9) that this old route via Old Ford was abandoned in the 12th century and a new route to the east was established via Bow Bridge and Bromley. 'Old Ford' as a crossing was deemed to dangerous and a new bridge was built at Bow.

Now.....looking at my 'Geographer's Map of Greater London' spread out in front of me it seems that the eastern part of contemporary Whitechapel High Street (east of Vallance Road) is deviating to the south of a putative straight (Roman) alignment towards Old Ford and is heading towards towards the 12th century onwards Bow Bridge. So its all more simple and complicated than we thought....Colin4C 12:27, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Ah, I thought I'd read the Middlesex St ref in BG comms, but I can't find it. It did however, form the extra-mural road. My later quotation (from BG comms) supports the notion that the road led to Old Ford, but infers a second ford at Bow Bridge - probably only usable at some states of the tide. The ref to BG comms (that I placed in the article) supports the notion that WHS has a Roman origin - so, what are we arguing about now? This page is getting overly long, shall I adapt it for auto archiving? Kbthompson 13:02, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not arguing: just trying to make sense out of the geography of East London...(just to add though that I don't think that a book about Bethnal Green is necessarily the ideal way for discovering something about Towers Hamlets)...As for your last point I refuse to get drawn into the 'how long is a piece of string' argument, no matter how much you provoke me...(JOKE) Colin4C 17:04, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Cite sources[edit]

Please can people remember to make it a priority to cite sources in the appropriate form for all material added to date as well as any new material. Cosmopolitancats 00:09, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

I have reverted your unnecessary edits: material here is cited. Try to be more creative with your time and energy! Colin4C 11:18, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

It's not cited according to wikipedia standards. Links to separate wikipedia pages does not meet verifiability requirements. If you disagree, please refer to the Talk:Bow, London page for an explanation of this point by an Administrator. Cosmopolitancats 11:30, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

For further reference, please note the official guideline Wikipedia:Citing sourcesand WP:CITE#HOW Cosmopolitancats 11:37, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

This page DOES cite sources. I don't see what your problem is and I don't need your advice on wikipedia guidelines. This article is one of wikipedia's best and does not need to be disfigured by otiose citation notes. Do you have any positive information on Whitechapel or are you just one of those people who revel in negativity and pedantry? Colin4C 11:42, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry you find the need to respond as you do. 'Best' is an assessment that can only be made after a structured evaluation. So far as I am aware this article has never been subjected to a wikipedia evaluation as it has no assessed standard attributed to it. Would you like me to get somebody to assess it to clarify whether you or I are correct in our assertions. Alternatively I could ask User:JPD the administrator who reviewed and commented on sourcing for the Bow, London article and its citation to review this one also and advise. Maybe that would be best? For the record I'm certainly not denying that a lot of good work has gone into this article, nor that most of it can be verified from reliable sources. I'm only suggesting that the approach to sourcing does not conform to wikipedia standards and that this article could get a better assessed grade when it is assessed if it did. Cosmopolitancats 12:12, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not claiming to be authoritative or anything, but while the article is indeed quite good, it could definitely be improved by citing more sources. Putting general tags at the top is not necessarily the best way to achieve this, and arguing about it here is definitely less productive than actually finding the references. It woudl be more helpful to add footnotes to soem of the statements in the article. Having said that, inline citations are often over-emphasised - it would even be good to simply relable some of the external links as references, if they were indeed used as such. JPD (talk) 16:37, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Jack the Ripper[edit]

The serial killer known as 'Jack the Ripper' has been called such from 1st October 1888, in the midst of the cycle of killings up to the present day. The horrible death of Mary Kelly was ascribed to 'Jack the Ripper' by contemporaries at the time in 1888. There were eleven murders in total known as the 'Whitechapel Murders'(1888-91) in the police files, however they were almost certainly not committed by one single 'Whitechapel Murderer'. Also the first two murders in the sequence attributed to the 'Whitechapel Murderer', were almost certainly not committed by the serial killer known as 'Jack the Ripper'. The first was indeed probably commited by a gang. Therefore it is imprecise and misleading to equate a putative and most probably non-existent single 'Whitechapel Murderer' with the serial killer known as 'Jack the Ripper'. 'The Whitechapel Murderer' is an inaccurate expansion of meaning of the term 'Whitechapel Murders'. For instance are all the murders committed in London this year the work of the 'London Murderer'? It is illogical....Whereas there was a serial killer 'known as' 'Jack the Ripper' who was almost certainly responsible for 5 of the the total of 11 Whitechapel Murders. Jack the Ripper was of course not his real name, but there was a single person behind at least 5 of the Whitechapel murders. Similarly the 'Yorkshire Ripper' has been equated with Peter Sutcliffe. Its a question of semantics....Colin4C 11:04, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

This is what I wrote about the Whitechapel Murders on the Jack the Ripper page of the wikipedia before a pair of the editors there made it their business that it should deleted and worked tirelessly day and night reverting it. Anyway make your own mind up. People who have known me long on the wikipedia usually give me SOME credit for knowledge about a subject I have studied for many years:

The Whitechapel murders were a series of eleven unsolved brutal murders of women committed in Whitechapel, London between 1888 and 1891. Some or all of them have been ascribed to the mysterious individual known as Jack the Ripper.

The Murders 1. Emma Elizabeth Smith, born c 1843, was attacked in Osborn Street, Whitechapel April 3, 1888, and a blunt object was inserted into her vagina, rupturing her perineum. She survived the attack and managed to walk back to her lodging house with the injuries. Friends brought her to a hospital where she told police that she was attacked by two or three men, one of whom was a teenager. She fell into a coma and died on April 5, 1888. This was the first 'Whitechapel Murder', noted in contemporary police files.

2. Martha Tabram (name sometimes misspelled as Tabran; used the alias Emma Turner; maiden name Martha White), born on May 10, 1849, and killed on August 7, 1888. She had a total of 39 stab wounds. Of the non-canonical Whitechapel murders, Tabram is named most often as another possible Ripper victim, owing to the evident lack of obvious motive, the geographical and periodic proximity to the canonical attacks, and the remarkable savagery of the attack. The main difficulty with including Tabram is that the killer used a somewhat different modus operandi (stabbing, rather than slashing the throat and then cutting), but it is now accepted that a killer's modus operandi can change, sometimes quite dramatically. Her body was found at George Yard Buildings, George Yard, Whitechapel.

3. Mary Ann Nichols (maiden name Mary Ann Walker, nicknamed "Polly"), born on August 26, 1845, and killed on Friday, August 31, 1888. Nichols' body was discovered at about 3:40 in the early morning on the ground in front of a gated stable entrance in Buck's Row (since renamed Durward Street), a back street in Whitechapel two hundred yards from the London Hospital.

4. Annie Chapman (maiden name Eliza Ann Smith, nicknamed "Dark Annie"), born in September 1841 and killed on Saturday, September 8, 1888. Chapman's body was discovered about 6:00 in the morning lying on the ground near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields.

5. Elizabeth Stride (maiden name Elisabeth Gustafsdotter, nicknamed "Long Liz"), born in Sweden on November 27, 1843, and killed on Sunday, September 30, 1888. Stride's body was discovered close to 01:00 in the early morning, lying on the ground in Dutfield's Yard, off Berner Street (since renamed Henriques Street) in Whitechapel.

6. Catherine Eddowes (used the aliases "Kate Conway" and "Mary Ann Kelly," from the surnames of her two common-law husbands Thomas Conway and John Kelly), born on April 14, 1842, and killed on Sunday, September 30, 1888, on the same day as the previous victim, Elizabeth Stride. Ripperologists refer to this circumstance as the "double event". Her body was found in Mitre Square, in the City of London.

7. Mary Jane Kelly (called herself "Marie Jeanette Kelly" after a trip to Paris, nicknamed "Ginger"), reportedly born in either the city of Limerick or County Limerick, Munster, Ireland ca. 1863 and killed on Friday, November 9, 1888. Kelly's gruesomely mutilated body was discovered shortly after 10:45 am lying on the bed in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller's Court, off Dorset Street, Spitalfields.

8. Rose Mylett (true name probably Catherine Mylett, but was also known as Catherine Millett, Elizabeth "Drunken Lizzie" Davis, "Fair" Alice Downey or simply "Fair Clara"), born in 1862 and died on December 20, 1888. She was reportedly strangled "by a cord drawn tightly round the neck", though some investigators believed that she had accidentally suffocated herself on the collar of her dress while in a drunken stupor. Her body was found in Clarke's Yard, High Street, Poplar.

9. Alice McKenzie (nicknamed "Clay Pipe" Alice and used the alias Alice Bryant), born circa 1849 and killed on July 17, 1889. She died reportedly from the "severance of the left carotid artery" but several minor bruises and cuts were found on the body. Her body was found in Castle Alley, Whitechapel.

10. "The Pinchin Street Murder", a term coined after a torso was found in similar condition to the body which constituted "The Whitehall Mystery", though the hands were not severed, on September 10, 1889. The body was found under a railway arch in Pinchin Street, Whitechapel. An unconfirmed speculation of the time was that the body belonged to Lydia Hart, a prostitute who had disappeared. "The Whitehall Mystery" and "The Pinchin Street Murder" have often been suggested to be the works of a serial killer, for which the nicknames "Torso Killer" or "Torso Murderer" have been suggested. Whether Jack the Ripper and the "Torso Killer" were the same person or separate serial killers of uncertain connection to each other (but active in the same area) has long been debated by Ripperologists.

11. Frances Coles (also known as Frances Coleman, Frances Hawkins and nicknamed "Carrotty Nell"), born in 1865 and killed on February 13, 1891. Minor wounds on the back of the head suggest that she was thrown violently to the ground before her throat was cut. Otherwise there were no mutilations to the body. Her body was found under a railway arch, Swallow Gardens, Whitechapel. After this eleventh and last 'Whitechapel Murder' the case was closed.

The Police Investigation The investigation into the Whitechapel murders was initially conducted by Whitechapel (H) Division C.I.D. headed by Detective Inspector Edmund Reid. After the Nichols murder Detective Inspectors Frederick Abberline, Henry Moore and Walter Andrews were sent from Central Office at Scotland Yard to assist. After the Eddowes murder, which occurred within the City of London, the City Police under Detective Inspector James McWilliam were also engaged. The murderer or murderers were never found and the case remains unsolved to this day.

References Stewart P. Evans and Donald Rumbelow (2006) Jack the Ripper: Scotland Yard Investigates. Sutton: Stroud.


It is something of a common canard to claim that the East End is downwind of the City. Winds tend to be somewhat variable, and the most polluting occasions both in modern times, and historically, occur when there's no wind and a temperature inversion keeps the smog within the confines of the city streets and the wider Thames valley. The East End is downriver - but that doesn't really affect Whitechapel, and anyway the greater volume of water coming in downstream pushes a lot of that muck back up where it came from - that's why Bazelgette sited his works at Beckton.

The phrase as stands conveys what is needed to be said, without controversy.

I think both Alan Palmer The East End, John Murray, London (1989), and William J. Fishman, East End 1888: Life in a London Borough Among the Labouring Poor (1989) highlight and dispute the canard - but if you've got reputable evidence to the contrary ... Cheers Kbthompson 22:47, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Well, you've already called it a canard, so just how reputable must my source be to overcome your position? When I included that tidbit in the original Whitechapel article back in `03, I was channeling a British university prof. who'd been interviewed in a TV documentary on the unearthing of Roman corpses from East End locales. Presumably he would be reputable enough, but I didn't take down his name. A quick Google search turns up dozens of folks making the claim, but perhaps they've all bought into this "common canard"... One thing I do know is that winds are quite unmistakably prevailing west-to-east at London, or perhaps our ideas of "prevailing" differ. What would qualify as prevailing to you? 60%, 70?, 80? JDG
What would an archaeologist know about prevailing winds? I was on that dig, by the way, digging up Roman skeletons behind the Providence Row Hostel in Spitalfields. The latter was allegedly haunted by the ghost of Mary Kelly, though I never saw her...Anyway better sign off as I perceive a grey shadow looming up behind me...Colin4C 19:40, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

And there was me thinking I was changing something, explaining it and providing references. No offence intended, and I apologise for any taken. I looked for a modern on-line reference and the nearest seemed to be related to GLA incinerator patterns, which were a bit partisan, but indicated wind patterns to be ovoid SW-NE (mainly to cover as much population as possible). In Tudor times, the 'stink' industries were indeed located around Whitechapel, but by the early 19th they'd been banished to Essex, with most of Middlesex being small scale manufactury, such as furniture, boot making (often in private houses), brewing - but that needed to be near its markets. You're correct to say that over the British Isles the prevailing winds are westerly, but the thames valley has this enormous river up the middle, so within the tidal part, the predominant effect is warm to cold (i.e off land in day, off river at night). I searched the Met Office site, they have the information, and will sell it to you - but it's not free. There's a fact sheet on London Smogs, but nothing on winds. I think Colin's just on something ... Kbthompson 20:32, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Ironically the worst wind which afflicted London was the NE wind which blew the Great Fire of London in a westerly direction from Pudding Lane near Eastcheap as far as Whitefriars, burning all the grand public buildings of the City and leaving the crummy East-End dwellings untouched. Colin4C 10:03, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
There was something about the Whitechapel Bell Foundry being a replacement for one destroyed by the fire. I think originally it was at Aldgate, and this one provided larger premises to their buildings on the North side of the road at the same site - but when did they move from Aldgate - was that fire related? BurlingtonBertie 14:29, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
The Aldgate and Whitechapel area were unaffected by the Great Fire of London: see map at that latter article. As for a foundry catching fire, I guess that that was not an uncommon occurence considering the nature of that particular industrial process. Colin4C 10:02, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Unclear sentence[edit]

Until 1985 a large purpose built mosque with a dome and minaret was built in the heart of Whitechapel, attracting thousands of worshippers every week, until it was further expanded with the London Muslim Centre in 2004.[10]

What is meant there? I suspect a broken transition from the previous sentence... --Jim Henry (talk) 22:26, 20 May 2010 (UTC)


Check Virginia Woolf's Flush! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:22, 27 August 2012 (UTC)


On my display at present, the section heading Literature appears superimposed over the photo of the East London Mosque. Going into edit mode, I can't really see what the problem is (just too many images further up the page?). Anyway, it looks pretty dreadful: can somebody try to fix it? Thanks. GrindtXX (talk) 01:16, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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