ListMoto - Stepney

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is a district of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets
London Borough of Tower Hamlets
in London's East End that grew out of a medieval village around St Dunstan's church and the 15th century ribbon development of Mile End Road called Stepney
Green. The area built up rapidly in the 19th century, mainly to accommodate immigrant workers and displaced London poor, and developed a reputation for poverty, overcrowding, violence and political dissent.[2] It was severely damaged during the Blitz, with over a third of housing totally destroyed; and then, in the 1960s, slum clearance and development replaced most residential streets with tower blocks and modern housing estates. Some Georgian architecture and Victorian era
Victorian era
terraced housing survive in patches: for example Arbour Square, the eastern side of Stepney
Green, and the streets around Matlock Street.[2][3] The area has not yet experienced the levels of gentrification seen in nearby Bow, Wapping
and Limehouse
but some redevelopment has taken place, including the former Arbour Square
Arbour Square
Police Station and the East End Mission building. Stepney
is roughly bounded by Commercial Road, part of the A13, in the south, the Liverpool Street to Stratford Railway line adjacent to the east to west section of Bancroft Street in the north and the Regent's Canal in the east. The western boundary with Whitechapel
is rather ambiguous. It is administered by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.


1 History 2 Governance 3 Geography 4 Demography 5 Stepney
Green 6 Landmarks 7 Sports 8 Transport 9 Education 10 Notable people 11 In popular culture 12 Stepney
Historical Trust 13 References

History[edit] As with most of the East End of London, Stepney
was sparsely populated marshland until the 19th century, when the development of London's docks and railways, combined with slum clearance, pushed the displaced poor and various immigrants looking for work into cheap housing being built in the area. The first community developed around the church of St Dunstan's, which was founded in 923. Its name was recorded around 1000 AD as Stybbanhyð, "Stybba's landing-place". The Domesday Book
Domesday Book
survey of 1086 gives the name as Stibanhede and says that the land was held by the Bishop of London
Bishop of London
and was 32 hides large, mainly used for ploughing, meadows, woodland for 500 pigs, and 4 mills. There were over 100 serfs, split between villeins who ploughed the land, and cottars who assisted the villeins in return for a hut or cottage.

Bishop William held this land in demesne, in the manor of Stepney, on the day on which King Edward was alive and dead. In the same vill Ranulph Flambard
Ranulph Flambard
holds 3½ hides of the bishop.[4]

The Manor of Stepney
was held by the Bishop of London
Bishop of London
in compensation for his duties in maintaining and garrisoning the Tower of London. Further ecclesiastic holdings came about from the need to enclose the marshes and create flood defences along the Thames. Edward VI
Edward VI
passed the land to the Wentworth family, and thence to their descendants, the Earls of Cleveland. The ecclesiastic system of copyhold, whereby land was leased to tenants for terms as short as seven years, prevailed throughout the manor. This severely limited scope for improvement of the land and new building until the estate was broken up in the 19th century.[5] In the early 20th century, Stepney
was one of the most Jewish neighbourhoods in England;[6] it was eventually replaced by Stamford Hill.[7] The Siege of Sidney Street
Siege of Sidney Street
took place in Stepney
in 1911. Governance[edit] Stepney
formed a large ancient parish in the Ossulstone
hundred of Middlesex; bounded by Bromley
and West Ham
West Ham
to the east, the River Thames to the south, Shoreditch
and Hackney to the north and the City of London and the Liberties of the Tower of London
Tower of London
to the west.[8] The parish included the hamlets of Mile End
Mile End
Old Town, Mile End
Mile End
New Town, and Ratcliff. At its early extent it additionally included Whitechapel, Wapping, Stratford Bow, Shadwell, Spitalfields, Bethnal Green, Limehouse
and Poplar. Over time the parish was broken up with these settlements forming new independent parishes, leaving a residual parish of 830 acres (340 ha) comprising Mile End
Mile End
Old Town, Mile End New Town and Ratcliff.[8] Stepney
is an episcopal area in the Anglican Diocese of London, which covers the London boroughs of Hackney, Islington
and Tower Hamlets, and has its own suffragan bishop.[9] The Metropolitan Borough of Stepney
Metropolitan Borough of Stepney
was formed in 1900, then dissolved in 1965 when it was absorbed into the newly created London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Tower Hamlets
which currently administers the area.[2] Geography[edit] Stepney
is located 3.6 miles (5.8 km) east north-east of Charing Cross. It is roughly bounded by Commercial Road
Commercial Road
( Shadwell
lies to the south), part of the A13 and the various side streets that make up the boundary with Limehouse
in the south, part of the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML) and Cephas Street with Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green
and Globe Town
Globe Town
and the southern leg of Bancroft Road forms an borderline with Mile End due to both a hospital of the same name and Queen Mary University. The western boundary with Whitechapel
is considered to be Cambridge Heath Road and Sidney Street.

Nearest places

Bethnal Green Globe Town Limehouse Mile End Shadwell Whitechapel

Demography[edit] Due to the availability of cheap housing, the East End of London
East End of London
and London Borough of Stepney
has been home to various immigrants who have contributed to the culture and history of the area, such as the Huguenots in the seventeenth century,[10] the Irish in the eighteenth century,[11] Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
fleeing pogroms in Eastern Europe towards the end of the nineteenth century,[12] and the Bangladeshi community settling in the East End from the 1960s.[13] The area still contains a range of immigrants, particularly young Asian families, as well as elderly East Enders, some students, and the beginnings of a young middle-class.[3] Based on the 2001 UK Census, Bangladeshis were the largest ethnic group (43%), followed by White British (39%). The 2011 Census, revealed that: The population of Stepney
was 47% Bengali; the highest percentage of Bengalis in Southern England.[14] Stepney
Green[edit] Stepney Green
Stepney Green
developed as a street of residential housing off the Mile End Road
Mile End Road
in the 15th century, and is now a conservation area.[15][16] A brewery was founded in 1738 that developed into Charrington and Co. in 1897. The brewery building, the Anchor Brewery, was on the north side of Mile End
Mile End
Road, opposite Stepney
Green; and is now the site of the Anchor Retail Unit, owned by Henderson Global Investors,[17] though the Brewery Offices still remain on the corner of Mile End Road
Mile End Road
and Cephas Avenue.[16] Landmarks[edit] St Dunstan's, founded in 923, is Stepney's oldest church. The present building dates principally from the 15th century. St Dunstan's has a long association with the sea, being responsible for registration of British maritime births, marriages and deaths until the 19th century. Malplaquet House is a Grade II listed building. Stepney City Farm
Stepney City Farm
has been a feature in Stepney
since opening as Stepping Stones Farm in 1979. A community resource, the farm aims to provide the people of East London a chance to experience rural life and engage in educational, environmental and creative projects. Stepney
City farm is home to donkeys, cows, goats, pigs, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens, rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs. As a working farm, eggs and vegetables are regularly sold. The Leonard Montefiore memorial fountain on Stepney Green
Stepney Green
is named after a young writer and philanthropist, Leonard Montefiore who at the time of his death in 1879 was known for his philanthropic work in the East End of London. Montefiore attended Balliol College, Oxford
Balliol College, Oxford
where his posthumous memoire reports that he was a devotee of Ruskin. Whilst at Balliol he became a friend of Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
who, after Montefiore's death allegedly proposed to his sister Charlotte. [18]. He was also influenced by Arnold Toynbee
Arnold Toynbee
and Benjamin Jowett. Montefiore was Chief assistant to Samuel Barnett in his work regarding the extension of Oxford University to London and was secretary of the Tower Hamlets branch of the Society for the extension of University Teaching.[19] The Jewish
Encyclopedia[20] says "Montefiore was associated with many philanthropic movements, especially with the movement for women's emancipation." Montefiore died at Newport, Rhode Island, aged 27. According to the Women's rights activist Emily Faithfull
Emily Faithfull
in her book "Three Visits to America" published in 1884 Montefiore died "While he was visiting the United States, in order to see for himself what could be learned from the political and social condition of the people, must ever be deplored. The world can ill afford to lose men of such deep thought and energetic action."[21] The memorial fountain has the following poem engraved on its side: "Clear brain and sympathetic heart, A spirit on flame with love for man, Hands quick to labour, slow to part, If any good since time began, A soul can fashion such souls can." Sports[edit] Stepney
F.C. is a non-league association football team which currently plays in the Tower Hamlets-based Inner London Football League.[22] The district's Senrab Street gave its name to Senrab F.C., a youth team now based in Wanstead Flats
Wanstead Flats
and notable for producing many future professional players.[23] Transport[edit]

Stepney Green
Stepney Green
tube station.

In the northern part of the district, Stepney Green
Stepney Green
on the Hammersmith & City and District lines. In the southern part of the district laying just outside Stepney
in neighbouring Limehouse
is Limehouse
for the Docklands Light Railway. The station is also served by c2c, from Fenchurch Street station. It was formerly in Stepney
and known as Stepney
East. Education[edit]

For details of education in Stepney
see the List of schools in Tower Hamlets

Notable people[edit] See also: Category:People from Stepney. The great English physician Richard Mead, responsible for advances in understanding transmissible diseases, was born in Stepney. The entertainer Des O'Connor was born in Stepney,[24] as were actors Steven Berkoff,[25] Terence Stamp
Terence Stamp
and Craig Fairbrass, playwright Arnold Wesker, gardener and television presenter Rachel De Thame, television executive, presenter and former BBC1 and BBC2 controller Alan Yentob, artist Frank Paton, drummer Kenney Jones, musician and writer Jah Wobble,[26] singer/record producer Kenny Lynch
Kenny Lynch
and his sister, also a singer, Maxine Daniels, also singer Charles Coborn. In sport, Stepney
lays claim to footballers Ledley King, Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole
and Darren Purse, and heavyweight boxer "Bombardier" Billy Wells. Charlie Magri became world flyweight champion in 1983. He learnt his trade at the Arbour Youth Boxing
Club in Stepney Green
Stepney Green
from the trainer, Jimmy Graham. Former armed robber, bare-knuckle boxer and businessman Roy Shaw was born in Stepney, as was former British featherweight boxing champion Sammy McCarthy, and sportswriter and author Norman Giller, whilst clergymen John Sentamu, formerly Bishop of Stepney, and Father Richard Wilson, founder of the Hoppers' Hospitals at Five Oak Green, Kent, lived in the borough at one time.[27] Actors John Lyons, Ben Onwukwe and Roy Marsden were born in Stepney, as was EastEnders actress Anita Dobson. Danny Shea, the first footballer to be transferred for £2,000, was born in Wapping
in 1887. Monty Norman (The composer of the James Bond
James Bond
theme) was also born in Stepney. Actor Bernard Bresslaw who starred in many popular Carry On films. Lionel Bart known for creating the book, music and lyrics to the production Oliver!. In popular culture[edit]

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In the Rolling Stones' song Play with Fire, the lyrics detail remarks made by the protagonist (singer) to a woman with whom he is having a dalliance. The woman is told to view her situation in comparison to her mother, who went from living extravagantly to living among the poor: "Now she gets her kicks in Stepney/Not in Knightsbridge anymore." Earlier in the song it is indicated that the woman's mother owned "a block in St. John's Wood," another pricey neighbourhood in London. Living (or buying drugs?) in Stepney
is used as an indicator for the woman's descent from privilege. In Elton John's partly autobiographical album Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, the song "Bitter Fingers" contains the lyrics "When I worked the good old pubs in Stepney", referring to his early days as a musician in and around London. In the Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
musical Pacific Overtures, the song "Pretty Lady" is sung by three British sailors who lament being "a million miles away from Stepney
Green." In her 2002 memoir Call the Midwife, Jennifer Worth
Jennifer Worth
writes a graphic account of 1950s Stepney
at the height of its urban decay describing bombsites, condemned buildings, filth, and rampant prostitution. Stepney
Historical Trust[edit] The Stepney
Historical Trust was set up in 1989 to advance the public's education in the history of Stepney
and the surrounding areas. It is based in the London Dockers Athletic and Social Club[28] and has installed a series of plaques on sites of historic interest.[29] References[edit]

^ " Tower Hamlets
Tower Hamlets
Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 17 October 2016.  ^ a b c Christopher Hibbert, Ben Weinreb, The London Encyclopaedia, p 877. Pan Macmillan, 2008, ISBN 1-4050-4924-3. Retrieved 20 May 2010.  ^ a b "Hot neighbourhoods: Stepney, E1 – Time Out London". www.timeout.com. Retrieved 19 May 2010.  ^ Domesday Book
Domesday Book
– A Complete Translation Folio 127V: MIDDLESEX. Penguin Books. Nov 2002. ISBN 0-14-100523-8 ^ Stepney, Old and New London: Volume 2 (1878), pp. 137–142 accessed: 17 November 2007 ^ Jones, Catherine (27 September 2001). "Immigration and Social Policy in Britain". Routledge – via Google Books.  ^ Kosher in the country The Economist
The Economist
1 June 2006 accessed 14 August 2007 ^ a b T.F.T. Baker (1998). "Stepney: Early Stepney, A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney, Bethnal Green".  ^ Stepney
Episcopal Area accessed 10 May 2007 ^ "Bethnal Green: Settlement and Building to 1836 - British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk.  ^ Irish in Britain John A. Jackson, p. 137–9, 150 (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964) ^ "The Jews - British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk.  ^ The Spatial Form of Bangladeshi Community in London's East End Iza Aftab (UCL) ^ Services, Good Stuff IT. "St Dunstan's and Stepney Green
Stepney Green
- UK Census Data 2011". UK Census Data.  ^ " Stepney
– Communications". British History Online. Retrieved 21 May 2010.  ^ a b Stepney Green
Stepney Green
Conservation Area towerhamlets.gov.uk ^ "Anchor Retail Park – Scheme Overview on Completely Retail". www.completelyretail.co.uk. Retrieved 20 May 2010.  ^ The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, Neil Mckenna, Randon House, 2011-02-28 ^ Essays and Letters by Leonard A. Montefiore, in Memoriam, Page 10, Privately Printed, Chiswick
Press; C Whittingham and Co. London 1881 ^ "MONTEFIORE". JewishEncyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2017-10-07.  ^ Three Visits to America, Chapter 19, Emily Faithful, Publisher Fowler and Wells, 753 Broadway 1884 ^ " Stepney
FC". Inner London Football League. Retrieved 6 June 2017.  ^ Alex (4 August 2005). "All Aboard". Londonist. Retrieved 5 June 2017.  ^ Dec O'Connor on IMDb ^ Steven Berkoff: The real East Enders The Independent
The Independent
4 January 2007 accessed 10 May 2007 ^ Jah Wobble, Memoirs of a Geezer, p. 1. ^ The hoppers of Kent (BBC Kent) accessed 21 December 2007 ^ "London Dockers Social & Athletic Club". Tower Hamlets. Retrieved 28 November 2016.  ^ " Stepney
Historical Trust". Open Plaques. Retrieved 28 November 2016. 

v t e

London Borough of Tower Hamlets


Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green
(Cambridge Heath) Blackwall Bow (Bow Common, Fish Island) Bromley-by-Bow East Smithfield Hackney Wick Isle of Dogs
Isle of Dogs
(Canary Wharf, Cubitt Town, Millwall, North Greenwich) Leamouth Limehouse Haggerston Mile End
Mile End
(Bow Common) Old Ford
Old Ford
(Fish Island) Poplar (South Bromley) Ratcliff Roman Road St Katharine Docks Shadwell Shadwell
Basin Spitalfields Stepney Tower Hill Wapping Whitechapel


Brick Lane Christ Church, Spitalfields Dennis Severs' House Fournier Street Museum of Childhood Museum of Immigration and Diversity Museum in Docklands Ragged School Museum Royal London Museum and Archives St Katharine Docks Spitalfields
City Farm Stepney
City Farm Tower Bridge Tower of London Traitors' Gate Whitechapel
Art Gallery London Olympic Park

Street markets

Petticoat Lane Brick Lane Columbia Road Old Spitalfields Roman Road

Parks and open spaces

Altab Ali Park Bartlett Park Island Gardens Langdon Park Mile End
Mile End
Park Mudchute Tower Hamlets
Tower Hamlets
Cemetery Victoria Park


London borough council Directly elected mayor Civic mayor/speaker of council Constituencies: Bethnal Green
Bethnal Green
and Bow Poplar and Limehouse

Bridges and tunnels

Blackwall Tunnel Greenwich
foot tunnel Rotherhithe
Tunnel Tower Bridge

Tube and rail stations

Aldgate East All Saints Bethnal Green Bethnal Green Blackwall Bow Church Bow Road Bromley-by-Bow Cambridge Heath Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf
(DLR) Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf
(tube) Crossharbour Devons Road East India Heron Quays Island Gardens Langdon Park Limehouse Mile End Mudchute Poplar Shadwell Shadwell South Quay Stepney
Green Tower Gateway Tower Hill Wapping
railway station West India Quay Westferry Whitechapel

Other topics

Council Grade I and II* listed buildings People Public art Schools

Category Commons

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Areas of London

Central activities zone

Bloomsbury City of London
City of London
wards Holborn Marylebone Mayfair Paddington Pimlico Soho Southwark Vauxhall Waterloo Westminster

Town centre network


Belgravia Knightsbridge West End


Bromley Croydon Ealing Harrow Hounslow Ilford Kingston Romford Shepherd's Bush Stratford Sutton Uxbridge Wood Green


Angel Barking Bexleyheath Brixton Camden Town Canary Wharf Catford Chiswick Clapham
Junction Dalston East Ham Edgware Eltham Enfield Town Fulham Hammersmith Holloway Nags Head Kensington High Street Kilburn King's Road
King's Road
East Lewisham Orpington Peckham Putney Queensway/Westbourne Grove Richmond Southall Streatham Tooting Walthamstow Wandsworth Wembley Whitechapel Wimbledon Woolwich

Districts (principal)

Acton Beckenham Bethnal Green Brentford Camberwell Canada Water Carshalton Chadwell Heath Chingford Clapham Crystal Palace Coulsdon Cricklewood Dagenham Deptford Dulwich Edmonton Elephant and Castle Erith Feltham Finchley Forest Gate Forest Hill Golders Green Greenwich Harlesden Hampstead Harringay Hayes (Hillingdon) Hendon Hornchurch Kentish Town Leyton Mill Hill Mitcham Morden Muswell Hill New Cross New Malden Northwood Notting Hill Penge Pinner Purley Ruislip Sidcup Southgate South Norwood Stanmore Stoke Newington Surbiton Sydenham Teddington Thamesmead Tolworth Tulse Hill Twickenham Upminster Upper Norwood Wanstead Wealdstone Welling West Ham West Hampstead West Norwood Willesden
Green Woodford

Neighbourhoods (principal)

Abbey Wood Alperton Anerley Barnes Barnsbury Battersea Beckton Bedford Park Bermondsey Bow Brent Cross Brockley Canonbury Charlton Chelsea Chessington Chipping Barnet Chislehurst Clerkenwell Elmers End Gidea Park Greenford Gunnersbury Hackbridge Hackney Ham Hampton Hanwell Hanworth Harold Wood Highams Park Highbury Highgate Hillingdon Hook Holloway Hoxton Ickenham Isle of Dogs Isleworth Islington Kensal Green Kew Lambeth Manor Park Mortlake Neasden Northolt Nunhead Plaistow (Newham) Poplar Roehampton Rotherhithe Seven Kings Seven Sisters Shoreditch Stamford Hill Stepney St Helier Surrey Quays Tottenham Upper Clapton Walworth Wapping West Drayton Worcester Park Yiewsley

Lists of areas by borough

and Dagenham Barnet Bexley Brent Bromley Camden Croydon Ealing Enfield Greenwich Hackney Hammersmith
and Fulham Haringey Harrow Havering Hillingdon Hounslow Islington Kensington and Chelsea Kingston upon Thames Lambeth Lewisham Merton Newham Redbridge Richmond upon Thames Southwark Sutton Tower Hamlets Waltham Forest Wandsworth Westminster


Canley (borough) (The Bill: TV soap) Charnham (suburb) (Family Affairs: TV soap) Gasforth (town) (The Thin Blue Line: TV series) London Below (magical realm) (Neverwhere: TV series, novel) Walford
(borough) (EastEnders: TV soap)

The London Plan 2011, Annex Two: London's Town Centre Network – Greate