Old Castle Street, E1

Road in/near Spitalfields, existing between 1676 and now

 HOME  ·  ARTICLE  MAP  STREETS  BLOG 
3.85.245.126 
MAPPING YEAR:1750180018301860190019302019Fullscreen map
Road · Spitalfields · E1 ·
MARCH
30
2017

Old Castle Street runs north-south from Wentworth Street to Whitechapel High Street, the southern section of which incorporates the former Castle Alley, murder site of Ripper victim Alice McKenzie.

Discovery of the body of Alice McKenzie, Castle Alley, from the Penny Illustrated Paper, July 1889.
Credit: Penny Illustrated Paper
Castle Alley appears (though unnamed) in maps as early as 1676, joining Castle Street via a narrow passage to Whitechapel High Street. By the mid-18th century, Castle Street had been given the ’Old’ prefix and the future Castle Alley was known as ’Moses and Aaron Alley’ a name it appears to have kept until c.1800. In 1830, it appears as ’Castle Court’. The name Castle Alley was certainly in use by the mid-19th century.

The Whitechapel Wash House (built 1846-51 in Goulston Street) backed onto Castle Alley, which at this time was extremely narrow and entered via a covered archway from Whitechapel High Street. Castle Alley was lined on its west side by warehouses and the Wash House and on its east side by smaller properties. The confluence of the alley and Old Castle Street took the form of a sharp bend which was to be the site of the Old Castle Street Board School, built 1873. The narrowest part of the alley was also earmarked for widening in 1876 as part of the Cross Act (a slum clearance scheme).

The body of Jack the Ripper victim Alice McKenzie was found on the west side of Castle Alley by PC Walter Andrews at 12.50am om 17 July 1889, lying near some market traders’ carts, just to the south of the Wash House.

Soon after the murder (1890), properties on the east side at the junction with with Whitechapel High Street were demolished, although there were still concerns as to the narrowness of the entrance in the 1900s. It was properly widened c.1908.

By 1916 it had been renamed as part of Old Castle Street. By the 1930s, the Board School had been replaced by LCC flats (Herbert House) and a walkway had been constructed across the street as part of the Brooke Bond tea warehouses on the west side.

War damage on the eastern side led to the redevelopment of adjacent Newcastle Street and other small thoroughfares, resulting in the construction of the New Holland estate (Bradbury House, Ladbroke House and Denning Point) between 1965 and 1971

Spitalfields

Spitalfields is near to Liverpool Street station and Brick Lane.

The area straddles Commercial Street and is home to several markets, including the historic Old Spitalfields Market, and various Brick Lane Markets on Brick Lane and Cheshire Street. Petticoat Lane Market lies on the area's south-western boundaries.

The name Spitalfields appears in the form Spittellond in 1399; as The spitel Fyeld on the 16th-century Civitas Londinium map associated with Ralph Agas. The land belonged to St Mary Spital, a priory or hospital erected on the east side of the Bishopsgate thoroughfare in 1197, and the name is thought to derive from this. An alternative, and possibly earlier, name for the area was Lolsworth.

After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Spitalfields was inhabited by prosperous French Huguenot silk weavers. In the early 19th century their descendants were reduced to a deplorable condition due to the competition of the Manchester textile factories and the area began to deteriorate into crime-infested slums. The spacious and handsome Huguenot houses were divided up into tiny dwellings which were rented by poor families of labourers, who sought employment in the nearby docks.

The area has recently attracted a IT-literate younger population.
Print-friendly version of this page


COPYRIGHT TERMS:
Unless a source is explicitedly stated, text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Articles may be a remixes of various Wikipedia articles plus work by the website authors - original Wikipedia source can generally be accessed under the same name as the main title. This does not affect its Creative Commons attribution.

Maps upon this website are in the public domain because they are mechanical scans of public domain originals, or - from the available evidence - are so similar to such a scan or photocopy that no copyright protection can be expected to arise. The originals themselves are in public domain for the following reason:
Public domain Maps used are in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights.

This tag is designed for use where there may be a need to assert that any enhancements (eg brightness, contrast, colour-matching, sharpening) are in themselves insufficiently creative to generate a new copyright. It can be used where it is unknown whether any enhancements have been made, as well as when the enhancements are clear but insufficient. For usage, see Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag.