diamond geezer

 Thursday, June 08, 2006

The East London line: Whitechapel

It's only right that the East London line passes through the very heart of London's East End. And Whitechapel is very much a place of 'passing through'. It grew up as a medieval village on the main road into town from East Anglia, a last staging post before the city walls at Aldgate. Being outside the jurisdiction of the City it attracted workers, traders and chancers, but also ever-increasing poverty. A succession of Irish, Jewish and German immigrants moved in, worked their way a few rungs up the ladder and moved out. Generations of salt-of-the-earth Cockneys grafted a living crammed into back-to-back terraces. Since the 1970s the Bangladeshi community has been on the ascendant, absorbing their culture into the local mix. The worst slums may be long swept away, but the colourful heritage of this historic neighbourhood continues to evolve.

Whitechapel Road, which passes the front of the station, shows the contrast more than most [photo]. The white chapel which gave the area its name is long gone, and a tall modern mosque stands proud over the roadway. The street market still sells fruit, clothing and carpets but with an Asian flavour. Blacksmiths, tailors and pawnbrokers have been replaced by betting shops, sari emporia and Poundbusters [photo]. The vast Royal Hospital, home to London's air ambulance, is due to be almost completely replaced by a landmark 18-storey monstrosity within the next six years. The Grave Maurice pub, haunt of the Krays and the odd Morrissey cover, has been transformed into a charmless salsa bar [photo]. The famous Whitechapel Library has been closed down, replaced further along the street by a gleaming glass 'Idea Store' [photo]. The bland shell of the East London Mail Centre, where the Royal Mail's miniature underground railway once terminated, looks ripe for demolition. And the stableyard in Buck's Row, where Jack the Ripper slashed his first victim, has been razed and replaced by an anonymous parking bay [photo]. History doesn't hang around for long in Whitechapel.

In just two days' time this will be the end of the line. That's nothing special because the East London line always terminates at Whitechapel on a Saturday, but it won't be going any further for several years after tomorrow. Platform 6, awkwardly located over a winding footbridge, can be mothballed. There'll be no more trains arriving round the curve from Shoreditch [photo], not until 2010 or thereabouts when the upgraded ELL extension finally opens. But by 2015(ish), when Crossrail finally arrives, today's Whitechapel station will be almost unrecognisable [plans] [plans]. An enormous new ticket hall will be slammed down on top of the open-air District line platforms. Long escalators will burrow down to a new interchange concourse beneath the East London line tracks. Two deep wide-bore tunnels will help whisk commuters away to Heathrow, Docklands and Romford. The whole station will become a complex mix of sleek modern engineering and an endearing Victorian shambles. Like I said, it's always all change around here, but the past never quite fades away.

Whitechapel

Opened: as Whitechapel (Mile End) in 1869
Renamed: Whitechapel in 1901
Distance from Shadwell: 1.0km
Change here for: District and Hammersmith & City lines (up the stairs from platform 5) [photo]
Change here one day for: Crossrail (a bit contentious, this one)
Platforms: a deep brick cutting, half open to the elements, crossed by various roads and railways [photo]
Up at the far end of the platforms: lots of huts and portakabins
Platform murals: cuddly local scenes in vibrant colour
Exit: up some old steps into the old ticket hall, through new ticket barriers
Outside the station: non-white, no chapels
Annual passenger throughflow: 8.9 million


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
853
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
scaryduck
blue witch
the great wen
onionbagblog
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
tired of london
in the aquarium
round the island
christopher fowler
thamesfacingeast
one bus at a time
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
uk general election 2015

read the archive
Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
cube routes
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv