BETHNAL GREEN is a district in the
London Borough of Tower Hamlets .
Located 3.3 miles (5.3 km) northeast of
Charing Cross , it was
historically a hamlet in the ancient parish of
Following population increases caused by the expansion of London
during the 18th century, it was split off from
Stepney as the parish
Bethnal Green in 1743, becoming part of the Metropolis in 1855 and
County of London
County of London in 1889. The parish became the Metropolitan
Bethnal Green in 1900 and the population peaked in 1901,
entering a period of steady decline which lasted until 1981.
The economic history of
Bethnal Green is characterised by a shift
away from agricultural provision for the
City of London
City of London to market
gardening, weaving and light industry, which has now all but
disappeared. The quality of the built environment had deteriorated by
the turn of the 20th century and was radically altered by the aerial
bombardment during the
Second World War
Second World War and the subsequent social
housing developments. Some 173 people were killed at a single incident
Bethnal Green tube station in 1943.
Bethnal Green has formed part
Greater London since 1965.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Toponymy
* 1.2 Early history
* 1.3 The Green and Poor\'s Land
* 1.4 Other houses on the Green
* 3 Modern history
* 4 Geography
* 5 Demographics
* 6 Religion
* 7 Education
* 8 Transport
* 9 Sport and leisure
* 9.1 Location
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 External links
The place-name Blithehale or Blythenhale, the earliest form of
Bethnal Green, is derived from the Anglo-Saxon healh ("angle, nook, or
corner") and blithe ("happy, blithe"), or from a personal name Blitha.
Cambridge Heath (Camprichesheth), is unconnected with Cambridge
and may also derive from an Anglo-Saxon personal name. The area was
once marshland and forest which, as Bishopswood, lingered in the east
until the 16th century. Over time, the name became Bethan Hall Green,
which, because of local pronunciation as Beth'n 'all Green, had by the
19th century changed to Bethnal Green.
Parish of Bethnal Green, 1848
A Tudor ballad, the Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, tells the story of
an ostensibly poor man who gave a surprisingly generous dowry for his
daughter's wedding. The tale furnishes the parish of Bethnal Green's
coat of arms. According to one version of the legend, found in Thomas
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry published in 1765, the
beggar was said to be Henry, the son of Simon de Montfort , but Percy
himself declared that this version was not genuine. The Blind Beggar
public house in
Whitechapel is reputed to be the site of his begging.
Boxing has a long association with Bethnal Green.
Daniel Mendoza ,
who was champion of
England from 1792 to 1795 though born in
lived in Paradise Row on the western side of
Bethnal Green for 30
years. Since then numerous boxers have been associated with the area,
and the local leisure centre,
York Hall , remains notable for
presentation of boxing bouts.
In 1841, the
Nathaniel Woodard , who was to become a
highly influential educationalist in the later part of the 19th
century, became the curate of the newly created St. Bartholomew's in
Bethnal Green. He was a capable pastoral visitor and established a
parochial school. In 1843, he got into trouble for preaching a sermon
in which he argued that
The Book of Common Prayer should have
additional material to provide for confession and absolution and in
which he criticised the "inefficient and Godless clergy" of the Church
England . After examining the text of the sermon, the Bishop of
London condemned it as containing "erroneous and dangerous notions".
As a result, the bishop sent Woodard to be a curate in Clapton .
THE GREEN AND POOR\'S LAND
The Green and Poor's Land is the area of open land now occupied by
Bethnal Green Library, the V"> Brick arch and globe sculpture on
Roman Road, Bethnal Green,
Globe Town is directly to the right of
To the east of
Bethnal Green (and west of Bow and north of Stepney)
lies the neighbourhood of Globe Town, established from 1800 to provide
for the expanding population of weavers around
Bethnal Green attracted
by improving prospects in silk weaving. The population of Bethnal
Green trebled between 1801 and 1831, operating 20,000 looms in their
own homes. By 1824, with restrictions on importation of French silks
relaxed, up to half these looms became idle and prices were driven
down. With many importing warehouses already established in the
district, the abundance of cheap labour was turned to boot, furniture
and clothing manufacture.
Globe Town continued its expansion into the
1860s, long after the decline of the silk industry.
Globe Town has three globe sculptures situated in three corners of
the area. The main shopping area is known as
Globe Town Market, and is
located on the northern border with
Bethnal Green next to the
Cranbrook Estate . The area is home to a large Bangladeshi community.
London Buses routes 309 serves
Globe Town with 8 , D6 and night route
Part of Charles Booth\'s poverty map showing the Old Nichol
Bethnal Green Road Slum children in bed,
Bethnal Green, 1900-1910 Slum street in Bethnal Green, circa
The silk-weaving trade spread eastwards from
the 18th century. This attracted many
Huguenot and Irish weavers to
the district. Large estates of small two story cottages were developed
in the west of the area to house them. A downturn in the trade in 1769
led to the
Spitalfield Riots , and on 6 December 1769, two weavers
accused of 'cutting' were hanged in front of the Salmon and Ball
public house .
In the 19th century,
Bethnal Green remained characterised by its
market gardens and by weaving. Having been an area of large houses and
gardens as late as the 18th century, by about 1860
Bethnal Green was
mainly full of tumbledown old buildings with many families living in
each house. By the end of the century,
Bethnal Green was one of the
poorest slums in London.
Jack the Ripper operated at the western end
Bethnal Green and in neighbouring
Whitechapel . In 1900, the Old
Nichol Street Rookery was demolished, and the
Boundary Estate opened
on the site near the boundary with
Shoreditch . This was the world's
first council housing , and brothers
Lew Grade and Bernard Delfont
were brought up here. In 1909, the
Bethnal Green Estate was built
with money left by the philanthropist
William Richard Sutton which he
left for 'modern dwellings and houses for occupation by the poor of
London and other towns and populous places in England'.
On 3 March 1943 at 8:27PM the unopened
Bethnal Green tube station was
the site of a wartime disaster. Families had crowded into the
underground station due to an air raid siren at 8:17, one of 10 that
day. There was a panic at 8:27 coinciding with the sound of an
anti-aircraft battery (possibly the recently installed
Z battery )
being fired at nearby Victoria Park . In the wet, dark conditions the
crowd was surging forward towards the shelter when a woman tripped on
the stairs, causing many others to fall. Within a few seconds 300
people were crushed into the tiny stairwell, resulting in 173 deaths.
Although a report was filed by Eric Linden with the
Daily Mail , who
witnessed it, it never ran. The story which was reported instead was
that there had been a direct hit by a German bomb. The results of the
official investigation were not released until 1946. A plaque at the
entrance to the tube station commemorates it as the worst civilian
disaster of the
Second World War
Second World War and a memorial in nearby Bethnal Park
has been partially built; now awaiting funds for completion.
It is estimated that during the Second World War, 80 tons of bombs
fell on the
Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green , affecting 21,700
houses, destroying 2,233 and making a further 893 uninhabitable. There
were a total of 555 people killed and 400 seriously injured. Many
unexploded bombs remain in the area, and on 14 May 2007, builders
Second World War
Second World War 1 m long 500 lb (230 kg) bomb .
Family and Kinship in East London , based on materials
gathered in the 1950s, shows an improvement in working class life.
Husbands in the sample population no longer went out to drink but
spent time with the family. As a result, both birth rate and infant
death rate fell drastically and local prosperity increased. It is true
that the infamous gangsters, the Kray twins lived in
Bethnal Green in
the 1960s. However, by the beginning of the 21st century, Bethnal
Green and much of the old East End began to undergo a process of
Bethnal Green Infirmary, later the
London County Council
Bethnal Green Hospital, stood opposite
Cambridge Heath railway station
. The hospital closed as a public hospital in the 1970s and was a
geriatric hospital under the NHS until the 1980s. Much of the site was
developed for housing in the 1990s but the hospital entrance and
administration block remains as a listed building. The Albion Rooms
are located in
Bethnal Green where
Pete Doherty and
Carl Barât of the
Libertines used to live when the band was together. It became part of
music history as the band would hold Guerilla Gigs in the flat that
would be packed with people.
London Chest Hospital , founded in 1848 by Thomas Bevill Peacock,
was located in Approach Road and first opened in 1855. It closed on 17
April 2015 and its functions transferred to other sites of the Barts
Health NHS Trust .
A map showing the civil parish boundaries in 1870. A map
showing the wards of
Bethnal Green Metropolitan Borough as they
appeared in 1916.
Bethnal Green forms a part of Tower Hamlets and Hackney, centred
around the Central line tube station at the junction of Bethnal Green
Road, Roman Road and
Cambridge Heath Road.
The district is associated with the E2 postcode district , but this
also covers parts of Shoreditch,
Cambridge Heath .
Between 1986 and 1992, the name
Bethnal Green was applied to one of
seven neighbourhoods to whom power was devolved from the council. This
resulted in replacement of much of the street signage in the area that
remains in place. This included parts of both
Cambridge Heath and
Whitechapel (north of the
Whitechapel Road) being more associated with
the post code and administrative simplicity than the historic
Bethnal Green had a total population of 27,849 at the 2011 census,
based on the north and south wards of Bethnal Green. The largest
single ethnic group is people of Bangladeshi descent , which
constitute 38 percent of the area's population. Every year since 1999
the Baishakhi Mela is celebrated in Weaver's Field, Bethnal Green
which celebrates the Bengali New Year. The second largest are the
White British , constituting 30 percent of the area's population.
Other ethnic groups include Black Africans and Black Caribbeans .
The two main faiths of the people are
Christianity , with
Muslim and 34 percent Christians. Church of St John
Bethnal Green from Roman Road.
There are many historical churches in Bethnal Green. Notable churches
St John on Bethnal Green
St John on Bethnal Green , located near the Bethnal Green
tube station , on
Bethnal Green Road and Roman Road. The church was
built from 1826 to 1828 by the architect
John Soane . Other notable
churches include St Matthew - built by
George Dance the Elder in 1746.
St Matthew is the mother church of Bethnal Green; the church's opening
coincided with a vast population increase in the former village of
Stepney , resulting in the need to separate the area around Bethnal
Green from the mother Parish of St Dunstan\'s,
Stepney . All but the
bell tower, still standing today, was destroyed by fire and the church
again suffered devastating damage during the bombing campaigns of the
Second World War
Second World War , resulting in the installation of a temporary church
within the bombed-out building. St. Matthew's remains a major beacon
of the local East End community and is frequented on Sundays and other
religious occasions by a mixture of established locals and more recent
migrants to the area.
Other churches include St Peter\'s (1841) and St James-the-Less
(1842), both by
Lewis Vulliamy ,
St James the Great by Edward Blore
St Bartholomew by
William Railton (1844). The church
Bethnal Green was 1 in 8 people since 1900, and is
estimated around 100 people attend church today (only 10% attend
regularly in the UK ). Baptisms , marriages and burials have been
deposited nearly at all churches in Bethnal Green.
There are two Roman Catholic churches, St Casimir\'s and the Church
of Our Lady of the Assumption, in Bethnal Green. St Casimir serves
London's Lithuanian community and masses are held in both Lithuanian
and English. The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption hosts the
London Chinese Catholic Centre and Chinese mass is held weekly.
Other Christian churches include The Good Shepherd Mission, The
Bethnal Green Medical Mission, The
Bethnal Green Methodist Church.
The Quakers hold regular meetings in
Old Ford Road.
There are at least eight Islamic mosques or places of worship in
Bethnal Green for the
Muslim community. These include the Baitul Aman
Mosque and Cultural Centre,
Darul Hadis Latifiah , the Senegambian
Islamic Cultural Centre and the
Mosque and Cultural Centre.
London Buddhist Centre , at 51 Roman Road, is one of the largest
urban Buddhist centres in the West, and is the focus of a large
Buddhist residential and business community in the area.
List of schools in Tower Hamlets
Bethnal Green has numerous primary schools serving children aged
three to 11. St. Matthias School on Bacon Street, off Brick Lane, is
over a century old and uses the Seal of the old Metropolitan Borough
Bethnal Green as its badge and emblem. The school is over a century
old but underwent extensive remodelling in 1994 and added a new sports
hall on its Granby Street former playground site in 2006. The school
is linked with the nearby 18th century St. Matthew's Church on St.
Matthew's Row. The
Bangabandhu Primary School, named after the father
Sheikh Mujib , a non-selective state community school
, was opened in January 1989, moved to a new building in November
1991, and has over 450 pupils. 70% of the school's pupils speak
English as a second language , with a majority speaking Sylheti , a
dialect of Bengali , at home. In 2010, the
Ofsted inspectorate deemed
Bangabandhu a "successful and effective school" where pupils "achieve
well and make good progress". One of several independent schools in
Gatehouse School , near Victoria Park , was established in
1948, and follows a
Montessori -style curriculum for younger pupils.
Bethnal Green's oldest secondary school is Raine\'s Foundation School
, with sites on Old
Bethnal Green and Approach roads, a voluntary
Anglican school founded in 1719. The school relocated several
times, amalgamating with St. Jude's School to become coeducational
Bethnal Green Academy , is one of the top schools and sixth
form colleges in London, Other schools in the area include Oaklands
Morpeth School .
V&A Museum of Childhood on
Cambridge Heath Road houses the child
related objects of the
Victoria and Albert Museum .
The Bethnal Park and
Bethnal Green Library provide leisure facilities
London Overground :
Bethnal Green (not to be confused with the
London Underground station of the same name) on the Enfield & Cheshunt
Chingford Lines that opened in 1872 as
Bethnal Green Junction until
1946: it was also formerly served by trains on the Great Eastern Main
Line (GEML) via Stratford . Whilst the majority of
Street railway station which opened in 27 April 2010 is situated
Shoreditch in Hackney, the station entrance on Braithwaite
Street is actually within
Bethnal Green and the
London Borough of
Tower Hamlets. The station is served by
London Overground's extended
East London Line
London Underground :
Bethnal Green opened on the 4 December 1946
on the Central Line however construction of the Central line's eastern
extension was started in the 1930s, and the tunnels were largely
complete at the outbreak of the
Second World War
Second World War although rails were
not laid and was a site of a major wartime disaster during the war.
The station is part of the
Night Tube service since 2016.
London Buses : Routes 8 , 26 , 48 , 55 , 106 , 254 , 309 , 388 ,
D3 , D6 , N8 , N26 , N55 , N253 .
Santander Cycles : 14 docking stations presently in Bethnal Green.
SPORT AND LEISURE
Non-League football club
Bethnal Green United F.C.
Bethnal Green United F.C. plays at Mile End
Stadium . Now known as Tower Hamlets FC (since 2014-15 season), it
plays in the Essex Senior League. Another locally based team also
Mile End Stadium are Sporting Bengal FC. The boxer Joe
Anderson , 'All England' champion of 1897, was from Bethnal Green.
Bethnal Green is also home to London's only full-time self-defence
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NEIGHBOURING AREAS OF BETHNAL GREEN
Mile End and Bow
List of people from Tower Hamlets
List of schools in Tower Hamlets
Stepney Historical Trust
* ^ Census Information Scheme (2012). "2011 Census Ward Population
Greater London Authority. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
* ^ Bethnal Green: Settlement and Building to 1836, A History of
the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney,
Bethnal Green (1998), pp.
91-95 accessed: 6 December 2007.
* ^ Blind Beggar of
Bethnal Green (East
London History) Archived 30
October 2007 at the
Wayback Machine . accessed 3 December 2007
Archived from the original on 13 October 2004. Retrieved 28 January
2017. Missing or empty title= (help )
* ^ The Green, Land assessments records, Gascoyne's survey of 1703.
* ^ From 1801 to 1821, the population of
Bethnal Green more than
doubled and by 1831 it had trebled. These incomers were principally
weavers. For further details see: Andrew August Poor Women's Lives:
Gender, Work and Poverty in Late-Victorian
London pp 35-6 (Fairleigh
Dickinson University Press, 1999) ISBN 0-8386-3807-4
* ^ \'Bethnal Green: Building and Social Conditions from 1876 to
1914\', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney,
Bethnal Green (1998), pp. 126-32 accessed: 14 November 2006
* ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 August 2012.
* ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 January 2012.
Bethnal Green - disaster at the tube, Wednesday 24 September
2003, 19.30 BBC Two Archived 13 December 2007 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ Bethnal Green: Building and Social Conditions from 1915 to
1945, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney,
Bethnal Green (1998), pp. 132-135 accessed: 10 October 2007
* ^ "Families kept away by World War II bomb". BBC News. 16 May
2007. Retrieved 16 May 2007.
* ^ "The History of the
London Chest Hospital". Barts and the
London NHS Trust. Archived from the original on 2 April 2013.
Retrieved 27 May 2013.
* ^ "The
London Chest". Barts Health. n.d. Archived from the
original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
* ^ Tower Hamlets Borough Council Election Maps 1964-2002 accessed
14 April 2007
* ^ Services, Good Stuff IT. "Tower Hamlets - UK Census Data 2011".
UK Census Data. Retrieved 2016-05-13.
* ^ Neighbourhood Statistics. "ONS".
Neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
* ^ "St John on Bethnal Green". Archived from the original on 26
July 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
* ^ "St-Matthews". St-Matthews. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
* ^ Susan Gane. "
Bethnal Green Churches". Dickens-and-london.com.
Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 27 November
* ^ EoLFHS Parishes:
Bethnal Green Archived 19 August 2009 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ "Our Lady of the Assumption". Retrieved 13 February 2016.
* ^ "St Casimir\'s Lithuanian Church". Official website. Retrieved
24 February 2015.
* ^ "
London Chinese Catholic Centre". Retrieved 13 February 2016.
* ^ "Good Shepherd Mission". Good Shepherd Mission. Retrieved 13
* ^ "
Bethnal Green Medical Mission".
Bethnal Green Mission Church.
Retrieved 13 February 2016.
* ^ "Methodist Church in Tower Hamlets,
Bethnal Green Meeting". The
Methodist Church in Tower Hamlets,
Bethnal Green Meeting. Retrieved 13
* ^ "
Bethnal Green Friends".
Bethnal Green Quaker Meeting.
Retrieved 13 February 2016.
* ^ "mosquedirectory.co.uk". Retrieved 13 February 2016.
* ^ Services of Baitul Aman
Mosque Archived 16 January 2009 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ "Darul Hadis Latifah". Darulhadis.org.uk. Archived from the
original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
* ^ "
Ofsted inspection report for Saint Matthias School".
Retrieved 5 February 2009.
* ^ A-Z Services - Tower Hamlets Archived 26 September 2006 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ "Bangabandhu" (PDF). Ofsted. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 27
* ^ Bell, Walter George (1966).
Unknown London. Spring Books. p. 326.
* ^ Johnson, Malcolm (2001). Bustling Intermeddler? The Life and
Works of Charles James Blomfield. Gracewing. p. 109. ISBN
* ^ "About us". V&A Museum of Childhood. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
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