A Whitechapel Walk

Route & what to see


A 2 mile walk from Whitechapel tube station to Aldgate East tube station. Note: Redevelopment work including Crossrail means some of this route (indicated in red text) may be inaccessible at present. Please ensure you have a map so you can make diversions.

Whitechapel Station was built for the Metropolitan Railway in 1884 and until 1902 was the end of the District line. Adjacent was the Working Lads Institute.

Exit the station go left along Whitechapel Road
There is a street market here. Beyond Brady Street is the colourful Ideas Store by Adjaye Associates (2003-4).

Go left into Albion Yard
The present Sainsbury's car park gives a view of the rear of the former Albion Brewery. This was rebuilt for Mann, Crossman & Paulin in 1860-8 and enlarged in 1902-5. It closed in 1979 and became the supermarket and flats in 1993-4.

Return to Whitechapel Road and continue to the left.
The frontage of the brewery is best viewed later. Just beyond this is the Blind Beggar pub, associated with the Kray twins.

Cross at the traffic lights and return along Whitechapel Road
Albion Brewery. Further along the left hand side is dominated by the buildings of the Royal London Hospital, opened in 1757. The Grocers' Company wing to the east was designed by Charles Barry Jnr in 1875-6. The corresponding Alexandra wing to the west was rebuilt in 1978-82 and includes a helipad.

Go into the main entrance of the hospital
There are plaques recording the names of past presidents/patrons and chairmen.

Exit ahead into the hospital garden
The statue of Queen Alexandra was erected in 1907. She became President in 1904 and took an active interest in the hospital until her death in 1925. The plinth shows Edward VII, Frederick Treves and Sydney Holland watching a demonstration of the Finsen Light treatment for TB of the skin. This equipment from Denmark had been a gift from Alexandra in 1899. The Garden House was opened in 1991 as a children's unit. Former nurses homes are being redeveloped.

Continue ahead along Philpot Street
The houses here were built in 1839. The student hostel Flyover House was designed by E Maufe in 1934 and the School of Nursing & Midwifery by TP Bennett & Son in 1965-7. Walden Street to the right was restored to provide nurses' homes.

Right along Varden Street and right at New Road.
This was constructed as a turnpike road to Wapping in 1772 along the line of the City's Civil War defences of 1642.

Right along Walden Street and left at Turner Street
The new buildings on the left are the medical school by Alsop. Beyond this is Gwynne House of 1934.

Right at Newark Street
The former church of St Philip now provides library facilities (staff only) and the hospital museum (open to the public). Opposite St Philips National School was built in 1842 and the former vicarage by AW Blomfield in 1864.

Left at Philpot Street and left along Stepney Way
The Good Samaritan pub was constructed in 1937. The hospital Outpatients Department designed by Rowland Plumbe was opened in 1903. The adjoining annexe was originally the Department of Massage & Medical Electricity (1936).

Cross New Road and continue along Fieldgate Street
This was once a lane leading across fields to St Dunstan's Church! On the right Tower House, a former Rowton House of 1902, has been converted to apartments.

Left along Parfett Street
The terraced houses of the 1790s were renovated at the same time as the model dwellings further along the street were constructed (1890s).

Left at Commercial Road
On the left is the former Red House Coffee Palace of 1900 by Edward Burgess.

Left along Myrdle Street
The Grenfell School was designed for the LCC by TJ Bailey in 1905.

Right at Fieldgate Street then left along New Road
Mount Terrace was built by the Corporation of London in 1808.

Left at Whitechapel Road
The Davenant Centre is housed in the former foundation school of 1818. It was remodelled in 1896 and extended onto the former workhouse burial ground [
website]. The East London Mosque was built in 1982-5 and the Muslim Centre added in 2003-4.

Detour into Plumber's Row to view the premises of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry
This firm has been on the site since 1738 when it took over the Artichoke Inn. The early 19th century workshops were extended in 1981. There is access to a display area from the Whitechapel Road entrance.

Continue along the main road then left into Adler Street
St Boniface RC German Church was built in 1959-60 to replace a church of 1875 destroyed in WWII.

Walk diagonally through Park
This was the site of St Mary Matfelon Church. The white chapel, which gave the area its name, began in 1270 as a chapel of ease to St Dunstan Stepney. It was rebuilt in the 14th century and became the parish church in 1694. It was rebuilt in 1875-7 but demolished in 1952 after war damage. In 1989 the site was renamed Altab Ali Park. There is an abstract martyr's monument 'Shahid Minar', a poem by a Bengali poet embedded in the path and a memorial entrance arch by David Peterson.

Detour into Whitechurch Lane to view a Victorian drinking fountain and the former clergy house of 1894.

Continue along the High Street
The Whitechapel Art Gallery was founded by Canon & Henrietta Barnett and designed by Charles Harrison Townsend in 1898-1901. This building and the adjoining former Passmore Edwards library are undergoing renovation work.

Left into Commercial Road. Cross and go right along Alie Street.
On the corner are the former gunproofing works. The Royal Bank of Scotland occupies premises on a area known as Goodmans Fields. This has been market gardens, a tenter ground and the site of the goods depot of the London Tilbury & Southend Railway (1886). St George's Lutheran Church was built in 1762-3 and funded by a local sugar baker from the German community. Tel 020 7794 4207 to arrange access. Adjacent is the former German & English Voluntary School (1877). Further along are houses of 1820 and the late 18th century.

Go left into St Mark Street
This area was a former tenter ground. The encircling roadway was laid out in 1829.

Detour into East Tenter Street to view tenements of 1900.

Return to and continue along St Mark Street
St Mark's Church was built in 1838-9 and demolished in 1927. The warehouse that replaced it incorporated the vicarage as offices. The Scarborough Arms pub was built in 1855.

Right at Prescot Street
The London Hospital was established as the London Infirmary in 1740 and moved here in 1741. It expanded from occupying one house to five before moving to its present site. Number 23 is a survivor of the 1770s. The RC Church of the English Martyrs was designed by Pugin in 1875-6 and served the Irish dockers. Tel 020 7488 4654 to arrange access.

Return and continue along Prescot Steet
The former Whitechapel County & Police Courts were built in 1858-9. The Princess of Prussia is a 1880s pub. Kingsland House on the left has striped cladding and a corner tower.

At the end cross into Hooper Street opposite to view the engine house of LTSR's goods depot.

From her go right along Leman Street
There are a number of Co-op premises in this street. Former offices on the corner of Prescot Street were built in 1930-3 and have bronze gates. On the east side are buildings of 1885-7 with a clock tower, an extension of 1910 and the former drapery warehouse of 1929-30. On the west side is a former police station (1960) on the site of an early watch house. Mr Pickwick was formerly the Garrick Tavern with a theatre to the rear. Number 66 is a town house of the 1760s which later became a lodging house. The tenements were built in 1901
Beyond Alie Street is the Eastern Dispensary founded in 1782 and housed in a building of 1858-9. Further along is the former German Mission Day School of 1863. Beagle House opposite was designed by Seifert & Partners in 1976.

Cross Whitechapel High Street to Aldgate East tube station.


london-footprints.co.uk 2008

Buildings of England London 5: East by Cherry, O'Brien & Pevsner
The Royal London Hospital - A Brief History by Sheila M Collins

The Royal London Hospital [website]

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