diamond geezer

 Wednesday, January 21, 2004

... say the bells of Shoreditch

1st century: The Romans build Ermine Street from London to Lincoln, passing through what will one day be Shoreditch.
12th century: The area is still mostly fields. St Leonard's church is founded.
16th century: A prosperous village. Richard Burbage opens "The Theatre" in Shoreditch (because playhouses have been banned inside the City). One of the actors in his company is a young William Shakespeare, and Romeo and Juliet is first performed here.
17th century: Burbage is buried in St Leonard's, known as "the actors' church".
18th century: St Leonard's church is rebuilt (see photo). The spire is an imitation of Wren's steeple on St Mary-le-Bow in Cheapside.
19th century: Shoreditch descends into poverty, crime and prostitution.
1900: A huge area of slums to the east of the High Street is reborn as the magnificent Boundary Estate.
1940s: The area is heavily bombed in the Blitz, and later heavily redeveloped.
1990s: Artists move into Shoreditch seeking cheap studio space. The White Cube gallery opens in Hoxton Square, trendy bars, clubs and restaurants follow, and Shoreditch is suddenly the hip arty place to be and to be seen.
21st century. It's all a bit passé now, darling.

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