Whites Row, E1

Road in/near Spitalfields, existing between 1650 and now

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Road · Spitalfields · E1 ·
MAY
31
2017

White’s Row is a narrow thoroughfare running east-west from Commercial Street to Crispin Street.

White’s Row looking east, showing bomb damage, 1943
It originally formed the northern boundary of the Tenter Ground estate from around 1650 and the southern side was built up by Nathaniel Tilly quickly thereafter.

The northern side followed suit in the 1670s. By the late 1600s, the street was known as ’New Fashion Street’. By 1707, the Tilly properties were owned by Nathaniel Shepherd (their names were commemorated in Shepherd Street - now Toynbee Street - and Tilley Street, now demolished) and under Shepherd’s lease, No.5 White’s Row was built in the 1730s (and is still standing). Access to the Tenter Ground Estate was also accessible by a large covered arch known as Shepherd’s Place, constructed in the early 1800s.

By the late 19th century, White’s Row had become considered part of the slums of Spitalfields. It was home to a number of lodging houses, Nos. 8 (Spitalfields Chambers), 26, 35 and 36, although the latter three had been closed by 1854.

Spitalfields Chambers was home to possible Ripper victim Annie Millwood at the time she was attacked on 25 February 1888.

The ’Paul’s Head Tavern’ public house on the northern corner with Crispin Street was where the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee held a meeting on 13 November 1888 in order to consider how they may be able to assist the police following the murder of Mary Jane Kelly.

Apart from No.5, much of White’s Row was redeveloped in the 20th Century. The western end was destroyed by bombs during the Second World War. The most significant change came in 1963 with the demolition of the northern side to make way for a van and lorry park, opened in April 1964. The current White’s Row Multi-storey car park was built c.1971 in its place.


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White’s Row looking east, showing bomb damage, 1943
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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.
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