The western section of the street (as far as today’s Greatorex St
reet) was certainly in evidence by the 1670s (known simply as Montague St
reet) and was probably built up when the east side of Brick Lane
was being developed in the 1650s. Much of the north side was rural at this time, however, with the south side comprising of scattered properties and gardens.
This state of affairs appeared to exist into the mid-18th century - the street was extended eastwards by this time but the newer pathways were as yet unnamed.
By the beginning of the 19th century, these easterly extentions were known as Rope Walk (later Chapel Lane) and Princes Row. This part eventually became Princes St
To the south of Princes St
reet was the Whitechapel
Workhouse, built on Whitechapel
Road by 1827 and abutting this was a burial ground, originally an overspill for St
Mary Matfelon. Adjacent to the workhouse was the Davenant Foundation School which had been founded in 1680.
In 1874, Montague St
reet and Princes St
reet were renamed Old Montague St
reet and the south side had become built up. The mortuary connected to the workhouse (invariably referred to as the Whitechapel
or Old Montague St
reet Mortuary) became the only such facilities in the district, amounting to little more than a shed and accessible by gates in Eagle Place.
Whitechapel Workhouse Mortuary, contemporary press illustration.
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