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Bethnal Green area guide

Bethnal Green | E2

Area Guide

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Bethnal Green Area Info

Bethnal Green Area Info

Unpretentious and diverse, Bethnal Green has a distinctly different character to it’s nearby hipster neighbours, Hoxton and Shoreditch. Perhaps this links to the fact that it was the most heavily bombed area in east London during World War II and as a result has a high percentage of social housing. However, amid the estates you’ll still find plenty of Victorian streets as well as converted period buildings including former bathhouses, biscuit and soap factories as well as listed tower blocks.

Some of the most desirable streets lie on the Jesus Green Estate conservation area, just adjacent to Columbia Road flower market, where you’ll find lovely two and three bedroom period cottages, originally built for local hospital workers. Close to the Young V&A (formerly The V&A Museum of Childhood) is Cyprus Street, which suffered huge civilian loss of life in the Second World War. However, it retains some particularly elegant period homes, as do many of the roads that run off it.

Whether renting or buying, property here offers excellent value for money when compared to surrounding areas, and attracts a wide range of people from young professionals and creatives to young families, who rub shoulders happily with the old school east enders and Bangladeshi families that also reside here. Transport wise, Bethnal Green is extremely well connected, with its tube station on the Central line just one stop from London Liverpool Street. There is Overground access at Bethnal Green and Cambridge Heath, too, as well as at Shoreditch High Street and Hoxton.

All of Bethnal Green’s primary schools are rated good or better by Ofsted. The outstanding primaries are Globe on Gawber Street, Mowlem on Bishops Way and Thomas Buxton on Buxton Street. The outstanding comprehensive schools are Morpeth on Portman Place and Swanlea on Brady Street.

Things To Do In Bethnal Green

Bethnal Green is home to some of London’s best weekend markets, most notably the Sunday flower market at Columbia Road, where you’ll also be able to grab a flat white to go along with your freesias. Bick Lane’s food, antique and clothing market is another must visit too, a place where you can browse for hidden treasures amid the hustle and bustle while feasting on the most fabulous street food.

Of an evening, we’d recommend you pop back to Brick Lane for some authentic Indian cuisine, with more than 20 curry houses to choose from. The Bengal Village is a favourite of ours, with the tender, slow-cooked garka lamb an absolute winner. There’s plenty of bars here too to slake your thirst and even a ten pin bowling venue, All Star Lanes, which also has a bar and restaurant serving cocktails and burgers.

For a more traditional evening, the Birdcage on Columbia Road won’t disappoint. This lovingly restored Victorian pub offers great craft beer, proper pub food and the odd cocktail thrown in for good measure, and also just happens to be the favourite watering hole of comedian Micky Flannagan.

If it’s large open spaces you’re seeking, however, then Weavers Field is the place to go, offering over 15 acres off open lawns, wooded walks and even an outdoor gym. Or just over the border into Hackney, you’ll find Haggerston Park, which has the added attraction of being home to Hackney City Farm, where you can roam among the geese and chickens and meet the pigs, sheep and goats up close and personal.

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History of Bethnal Green

Bethnal Green forms part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets a district in the East end of London. It was historically an agrarian hamlet in the ancient parish of Stepney, Middlesex and lies 3.3 miles (5.3 km) northeast of Charing Cross.

Bethnal Green's economic history is characterised by a move away from agricultural provision for the 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 reformed by the severe bombings of World War II and the subsequent social housing developments. Sadly 173 people were killed in a single incident at Bethnal Green tube station in 1943. A war memorial still stands on a wall in Cyprus Street, in honour of 26 of its residents that lost their lives during WWI. Bethnal Green has formed part of Greater London since 1965.

Boxing has a long and successful association with Bethnal Green. One of the areas first known champions was Daniel Mendoza, originally from neighbouring Aldgate, Mendoza lived in Paradise Row on the western side of Bethnal Green for over 30 years. Since then numerous boxers have been associated with the area, most recently Darren Barker formerly of Repton Boys defeated Daniel Geale for the IBF Middleweight title, whist York Hall in Old Ford Road remains the spiritual home of British boxing. England's World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore was also a familiar face of the area, he ran the Salmon & Ball pub on Cambridge Heath Road for many years.

The infamous Kray twins lived in Bethnal Green in the 1960s during their reign on East London's underworld, their family home was on Vallance Road.

By the beginning of the 21st century, Bethnal Green and much of the old East End began to undergo a process of gentrification. More recently young creatives have migrated from areas such as Shoreditch and Hoxton, prompting a property price boom and pushing other artists, sculptors and designers to search further afield for period terraces and studio space.

The infamous Kray twins
The infamous Kray twins

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