AN EAST END VILLAGE – THE PRACTICALS
Short read: Makes the new familiar…
Medium read: Heady stuff. Heady stuff because even Londoners – let alone tourists – don’t know this extraordinary London backwater.*
Long read: Heady stuff because the history is so rich and old and varied. Ditto (rich and varied) the mix of ingredients: architectural, biographical, ethnic, social, artistic, institutional, storied, long-memoried, true grit, powerful sense of identity, high wattage… well, you get the idea. By way of example, Stepney Green. It always comes as a revelation to visitors with its attractive terraced houses and green spaces. Turn the page there’s Queen Mary College – and trailing behind it a train of history that challenges comparison with all comers. Out it tumbles, that history, stories of almshouses, hospitals, the People’s Palace and Octagon library. Within the campus is the Novo Jewish Cemetery, dating back to the early 1700s. Trail go cold there? No chance. Later memories of the long-gone Jewish community are woven into the walk. It’s a pageant, really, that parade of memories and trace evidence. Memories that include an old-age home, synagogues, Stepney Jewish School, Rothschild Dwellings, a nursery and the Jewish Anarchist Club, whose non-Jewish leader Rudolph Rocker lived on Stepney Green. Heady stuff indeed.
Warranty read: The walk’s guided by Ms Efferfesence herself, the one-and-only Rachel. You want a cast-iron guarantee of a great walk – well, there it is from the get-go, in the personality and aura and the what’s between the ears of this award-winning author and guide.
*You want a rough North American equivalent? Imagine being from the Tidewater South and finding your way into a West Virginia Appalachian village. Ok, it’s a stretch but they are both notches on the Good heavens! spectrum.
An East End Village – Mile End & Stepney takes place at 10.45 am on TBA. Meet Rachel just outside the exit of Mile End Tube.