London Districts: Shoreditch (Tour Guide)


The district of Shoreditch falls under the
London Borough of Hackney in London’s East End. End. The most plausible story derives the name
from the Old English term ‘Soersditch’ which means ‘Sewer’s Ditch’. Old Spitalfields Market dates back to 1638.
It sells anything from fresh fruit and furniture to pastries and antiques. Shoreditch is without doubt a treasured part
of London well-known for art, culture, fashion and food and prides itself on creativity and
quirkiness. As one mural states, the melting pot is boiling over! The area known as the ‘Silicon Roundabout’,
essentially Old Street, is emerging as ‘the third-largest technology start-up cluster
after San Francisco and New York City’. Google, Amazon and Cisco have all set up shop
round there. You’ll be lucky to find a one-bedroom place for anything less than half a mill. For a long time, the focal point of Shoreditch
was its church. St Leonard’s is referenced in the traditional English nursery rhyme ‘Oranges
and Lemons’. The Boundary Estate of 1900 sits on the district
boundary as the oldest council estate in London. The soil from its foundations form the circular
centrepiece mound that is Arnold Circus which it loops itself around. The circus is topped
off with a community garden and bandstand. Brick Lane is a rainbow of colour and diversity,
idyllic for foodies and shopaholics. It is the heart of the city’s Bangladeshi community
and is named this way because it was rich in clay and earth deposits which became very
useful for creating bricks and tiles to rebuild areas after the Great Fire. Brick Lane used to sell goats, snakes, monkeys
and lion cubs until the RSPCA stepped in to close it down in the 80’s after thousands
of complaints were made. You’ll find vintage clothes, unique furniture and exotic food
and there over 50 curry restaurants to choose from on Brick Lane itself! A failed campaign
in 2006 tried to get Aldgate East tube station renamed as Brick Lane to improve tourist trade
before the 2012 Olympics. Network Rail has gifted this land to the Nomadic
Community Gardens for showcasing sculptures, paintings, weird structures, bee keeping,
clothing and growing stuff. It manages to forge urban beauty from random materials and
discarded junk all laced in spray paint. Speaking of spray paint Shoreditch is the
place for London street art and is used as the main reference point for areas becoming
more and more littered with graffiti, stickers, murals and event posters. Welcome to London Districts! Spray painters tag just about everything in
sight. Their designs are mostly complex requiring advanced skill to pull off. Masterpieces don’t
last long though. Once he finished this piece, it was replaced the very next day! The 24/7 Beigel Bake shop is probably the
most famous shop on the world-famous Brick Lane. They make thousands of salt beef bagels
a day, baked from scratch in-house. This flower market populates Columbia Road
every Sunday between 8 and 3pm come rain or shine. It’s a great place for flowers but
the world and his wife know about it. It gets extremely busy, especially on sunny days,
when crowd levels feel like the Notting Hill Carnival so arrive either very early or towards
the end to walk around more easily. Shoreditch is the birthplace of English theatre
in two forms. Shakespeare’s original playhouse, The Curtain Theatre of 1577, was rediscovered
in 2012 through excavation. The recovered remains will be housed in a large multi-purpose
development called ‘The Stage’ once completed in 2021.
The first playhouse in England was rightfully just called ‘The Theatre’. It was dismantled
and reassembled on the Bankside in Southwark as the Globe Theatre.

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