Spitalfields Market is well known for being one of the best spots for shopping in London. Full to the brim with independent eateries and market stalls, the area welcomes in a daily influx of locals and tourists, attracted to the magnificent gilded roof encasing it, alongside the rich history, commerce and business of the area surrounding it.
Encompassing a large district which includes Shoreditch, Spitalfields and the Old Spitalfields Market encompasses Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane and Liverpool Street, making it a prime destination for tourists thirsty for a taste of East London life. With the M by Montcalm Shoreditch Rooms nearby, your visit to the East End is a better time than ever to get to know the rich history of this magnificent area.
History of Spitalfields
The area of Spitalfields dates to the Roman era, when a large Roman cemetery was built in the area. This gravesite is thought to be the resting place of the first known Roman from Rome to have been buried in the UK, an embellished sarcophagus having been opened in the 1990’s, containing the remains of a woman in her mid 20s.
Despite its Roman ancestry, the area remained largely untouched until the 17th century. It was at this point that European Silk weavers known as the Huguenots, protestant refugees from France began moving into the area, and began to establish a thriving industry in Spitalfields.
This period of history can be explored at the Folgate Street based Dennis Severs House, where guests can explore a still life interior, exploring the life of Huguenot families.
After the gradual decline of the silk industry, Spitalfields began its turn into slums. During this period beggars and criminals frequented the area, an era popularised by the likes of Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist.
This period of back alley pubs and criminal underworlds became the setting for the infamous Jack the Ripper murders of 1888, which are still explored through walking street tours of the area. Guests at the M Hotel will be able to find a great deal of information on these tours in their hotel lobby. A great deal of the area’s tourist attractions is concerned with the Victorian era of this area.
20th Century Spitalfields
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the area became popular with Jewish immigrants. After the Blitz of World War 2, much of the area was heavily damaged by German bombing, and rebuilding led to a large Bangladeshi community moving into the area. With the textile industry in full swing, the area of Shoreditch and Spitalfields became an industrial hub.
Present Day Spitalfields
During the late 20th century and early 21st century, low house prices in East London led to a larger artists community moving in. This saw an influx of warehouse repurposing and studios being set up in the area. With the renewed interest in the arts, the area began to see more leisure activities seeping in, alongside a recent hub for startup tech businesses. These aspects of Shoreditch have transformed it into a trendy, independently driven area of London, and a treat for any visitor to dive into.