Exploring The Victorian History of East London


London is well known for its long history, the city itself dating back to 46 AD. That’s almost two thousand years of architecture, mythology and landmarks amassed across a 1500 square kilometre, 32 borough expanse. However, the easiest eras to see in the city are the ones that are freshest in our memories. The Victorian era was very distinct in its style and was an era of cultural revolution in London and the wider UK. It’s unsurprising then, that it is very easy indeed to see its fingerprints across the city, especially in East London.

From cathedrals to regenerated Finsbury Square restaurants, Victorian landmarks are prominent in the East London boroughs, though some have been lost to time or the Blitz of World War 2, which severely damaged the area. This blog will explore some of the attractions that exemplify this, and the reasons for East London's association with the era.

East London And The Victorians 

East London, centred around the area of Shoreditch, saw a huge population growth during the 19th century due to the roughly 80 year long industrial revolution which began in the 1760s. This shift in technology led to the area of East London opening many factories, increasing the number of slums and poverty as its industry grew. East London was becoming so populous in fact, that in the 1880s, Tower Bridge was developed to accommodate travellers commuting across the river into the district.

Nowadays, guests of the Montcalm Royal London House will probably associate East London with its thriving nightlife and entertainment scene, and this wasn’t much different in the Victorian era either. The area was once thriving with theatre venues that hosted the likes of Charlie Chaplin in its later years and thriving music halls throughout the 29th century. Whilst many of these no longer exist, the area actually began its relationship with the entertainment industry all the way back in the Elizabethan era, though a period of neglect gave way to the 19th century resurgence. 

Dennis Severs House 

For those who want to experience the Victorian era in East London, Dennis Severs House is a unique attraction on Folgate Street that explores the fictionalised life of one family living in East London over several generations. Spanning the time period of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, the house’s rooms are designed with meticulous period detail, each moving forward in time and backed up with sound effects, lighting and even smells to give the impression that the owners have just left the room. This attraction is a great way for guests of London hotel packages to really experience Victorian middle class life in East London. 

Jack The Ripper Tours 

Jack the Ripper tours might seem like a bit of fun to some, but through exploring the victims of the infamous and anonymous killer, the scores of tours that focus on this subject in Shoreditch and Whitechapel are actually great and easy to engage with what London was like during the period. Jack The Ripper tours take guests through the side streets of Shoreditch and even into the Victorian era pubs where the murderers victims frequented.