- Tube stations: Whitechapel, Aldgate East, Shadwell
- Location: east of the City, west of Stepney and south of Spitalfields
- Borough: Tower Hamlets (www.towerhamlets.gov.uk)
- Postcode: E1
Royal London Hospital has been in Whitechapel since 1757 is in the midst of a redevelopment set to finish by the 2016. It seems like ages away, but future hospital visitors should expect an 18-storey building of metal and glass. No word on whether the Elephant Man exhibit in the hospitals museum will be still open.
Probably the world’s most famous unidentified murderer, Jack the Ripper stalked Whitechapel in 1888, murdering prostitutes and eluding police.
Whitechapel’s population consists of mostly families from the West Indies, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Its proximity to the artsy-fartsy enclaves of Hoxton and Shoreditch means there are a fair few trendy kids wandering about.
Whitechapel was filled to bursting with all types of immigrants by the 19th century, and the place eventually became known for prostitution – during the 1880s there were 80 brothers and about 1400 prostitutes within Whitechapel’s boundaries. Many of the slums were torn down or eventually bombed during WWII, and the area today, although not particularly posh, has almost no resemblance to the infamous area that was synonymous with vicious crime and murder.
Pub quiz facts:
Whitechapel Bell Foundry (www.whitechapelbellfoundry.co.uk) is the oldest manufacturing company in Britain. They’re responsible for casting Big Ben and the Libery Bell in Philadelphia. Although the Liberty Bell cracked on the first stroke, Big Ben has proven to be well worth the £572 it cost to make.
Pete Doherty has a flat in Whitechapel, although you wouldn’t know it since he spends most of his time staggering around the streets and being arrested.
When it’s hot:
At Whitechapel Market, across from the Royal London Hospital, you can buy loads of Asian spices, jewellery and clothing. It might look a bit messy but it smells fantastic.
When it’s not:
Whitechapel Art Gallery (www.whitechapel.org) has been bringing some much needed culture to the area since 1901. It’s currently expanding the building with plans to double in size by 2008.