One of our occasional excursions on a Sunday morning is walk down Brick Lane, we often begin at the Columbia Road flower market and then immerse ourselves in the various delights of Brick Lane.
East London has been the location of waves of immigration over the centuries and a walk down the Lane gives plenty of reminders of its diverse past.
Brick Lane gets it names from the brick and tile manufacture in the area that began in the 15th century. Brewing was another industry that came to Brick Lane before 1680, one of the most famous brewers was Joseph Truman whose family to establish the Black Eagle Brewery on Brick Lane.
In the 17th century, French Huguenots bought their weaving skills to Spitalfields, they were followed by Irish immigrants and Ashkenazi Jews in the 19th century and early 20th century. In the later 20th century, Bangladeshis became the major group of immigrants especially from the Greater Sylhet region. Nicknamed ‘Banglatown’, sections of Brick Lane are known for the numerous curry houses that populate the streets.
So what is so special about Brick Lane on a Sunday? Well it is noisy, busy and chaotic which is always the sign of a good market. Street performers entertain the crowds to enhance the vibrant and lively atmosphere. The street art is some of the best in London, even Banksy has been known to daub his paint on the walls of Brick Lane.
Food from all around the world permeates the air and there are plenty of shops and stores to hunt for those unusual bargains.
The Rough Trade store is great for music lovers, up and coming designers can be found all over market and there is plenty of space to sit down and watch the world go by.
Brick Lane is a place where the past and present combine in a number of fascinating ways and illustrates the way how different waves of immigration create a cultural mix that creates a lasting legacy.