England // London //

The East End

Few places in London have engendered so many myths as the East End (a catch-all title which covers just about everywhere east of the City). Its name is synonymous with slums, sweatshops and crime, as epitomized by figures such as Jack the Ripper and the Kray Twins, but also with the rags-to-riches success stories of a whole generations of Jews who were born in these cholera-ridden quarters and then moved to wealthier pastures.

As the area is not an obvious place for sightseeing, and certainly no beauty spot – despite all the fanfare around the 2012 Olympic Village – most visitors to the East End come for its famous Sunday markets: cheap clothes on Petticoat Lane (Middlesex Street), clothes and crafts in trendy Spitalfields, hip vintage gear around Brick Lane and flowers on Columbia Road. As for the East End Docklands, including the vast and awesome Canary Wharf redevelopment, most of it can be gawped at from the overhead light railway.

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