Spitalfields and City
Spitalfields is an area steeped in history, much of it exciting, some of it just plain sinister. Synonymous with the iconic market that has been a feature of the region since 1638, it has always been seen as a place that brings the customer together with the salesman.
From its foundation as a cemetery in Roman times, the priory known as St Mary in the Spital grew as a popular place to live, eventually becoming a parish of its own. The arrival of the French Protestant Huguenots with their trade skills and expertise in the silk industry bought in the roots of commerce. Spitalfields reputation was sealed as a bustling market with a license signed by Charles 1st which allowed the sale of fowl and root.
Today, the area has undergone significant redevelopment to become an extension of the City area, leading to increases in house prices and a general affluence that has lifted the parish far above the dank and fetid alleyways that witnessed the Whitechapel murders, and the specter of Jack the Ripper!
Docklands, Canary Wharf, Stratford
Formally known as the Port of London, the City Docklands area extends from Southwark to Greenwich and encompasses a great portion of the north side of the Thames. The old docks themselves are split into three distinct sections; the wet docks, the dry docks and the dockyards themselves.
But this historic area has seen great changes in recent years, mainly driven by the addition of the Docklands City airport, and the rejuvenation surrounding the siting of the 2012 Olympic village. Part of the reason that the Docklands area won the Olympic bid was because of the previous regeneration work that saw the construction of the ExCel exhibition and convention centre, and the building of the Millennium Dome.
The addition of the Docklands Light Railway and the City Airport have bolstered the area to make it one of the most up and coming desirable places to live in North East London. The East of the city has seen its share or poverty, but the new influx of banking and commerce companies has bought in a new affluence that has seen the area rise from the ashes again and again.
The cramped and disheveled pre-war streets have gradually give way to new and exciting developments that have seen the affluence of the East End rise. The traditional businesses associated with the docks or the railways have given way to high technology and high finance, bringing in people with the skills required.
The East End has always been seen as a social cauldron, and the tradition continues as artisans rub shoulders with financiers, making this area one of the most diverse in the capital.