Like many pockets of East London, Brick Lane has a long and diverse history. Noted in the history books from the 1500’s as a pathway through a field, the street attracted an influx of Flemish settlers who made it their home and built scores of brick kiln’s that later lent themselves to the name.
During the 1680’s French Huguenots fled persecution in France, largely populating the area and bringing with them the lace and garment making of their culture, an energy that lives on to this day.
During this time the movement of jewish communities also heavily influenced the street, with tailoring being a hugely popular business and the brewing industry setting up a stronghold in the area with The Truman Brewery opening its doors during the 1700’s.
In the 1940’s, whilst the war took hold of London, many settlers arrived from Bangladesh creating businesses such as the famous curry houses that now are synonymous with the area.
Fast forward to today and the influence of these varying cultures can be felt in every business and every vendor that walks the wondrous strip. Curry houses, vintage fashion and the always popular beigel shops are just a portion of sights to explore. Not only are the businesses covering a huge array of cultures but the very air seems to be heavy with a multicultural and diverse flair.
Head along to the Truman brewery for a glance at an original building, where you can enjoy a host of incredible events, markets, exhibitions and gigs aplenty are held year round at the venue. For a taste of Jewish cuisine, Beigel Bake is the original cafe that introduced the Salt Beef craze to British shores and still has queues round the block for a taste of the exotic snack. The curry houses that dominate are all highly recommended, and you can usually find an authentic dish for under £20.
Alongside the hospitality, Brick Lane’s vintage shops are the go-to for fashionista’s of every age, with genuine gems to be found in every pop-up and unassuming store. Noted for its long historical fashion roots, many designers still use the area today for coveted end of season and sample sales, with brands such as YSL and D&G to name but a few.
If music is more your flavour, head to Vintage Vinyl Brick Lane for unique and rare collections, or Rough Trade East for album launches and niche artist’s work.
If art is your greatest love, then a simple stroll will offer a feast to the eyes with some of the biggest names in street art offering their works to the walls and pavements. For a more formal setting, head to Brick Lane Gallery that features regular events and exhibitions.
If you happen to be in the office on a Sunday or you fancy exploring your area beyond the 9-5, then you will be greeted with a market that sells everything from antiques to modern art.
By James Cridland – CC BY 2.0, wikimedia.org
By Clem Onojeghuo clemono2 – CC0
By Alan Stanton – CC BY-SA 2.0
By Garry Knight from London, England – Street Photography Video – Brick Lane – 11, CC BY 2.0
By Andy oxford – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
By Bridge over Brick Lane by Steve Daniels, CC BY-SA 2.0
By Wilhelm-von-Trier – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0