Brick Lane is a truly hidden London historical gem.
It nestles alongside the City of London in Spitalfields/Whitechapel and has probably been made home to more nationalities and refugees than anywhere else in London.
Nothing typifies this more than the food that has been served along this street.
Huguenots from the 1700s hung their garlic sausages at doorways and windows and brought ‘Oxtail Soup’ here alongside the Irish who brought their hearty stews, bacon and cabbage. The resident cockneys would eat stewed eels and drink Truman ale from the brewery who’s building still remains. Then the displaced and persecuted Jews came with bagels and chicken soup recipes.
The next wave of immigrants who replaced the Jewish population were the Bangladeshis who famously turned Brick Lane into the ‘Curry Street of London’.
The world keeps turning and to reflect full globalisation of London we have foods from around the globe on Brick Lane today.
One of the latest culinary additions is a gluten free and vegan Venezuelan cake parlour called Vida which typifies how London has and always will welcome hard working and ingenious folk from wherever they hail!
As we know the Huguenots were in Brick Lane from the 1700s, and it is said the French were some of the first to use street art as a way to highlight political views.
When it comes to street art Brick Lane and the Shoreditch area has something for everyone.
It is a great place for all the family to visit. One of the areas in London where teens and parents can enjoy together.
Here you can see Banksy the well known (or unknown!!!) artist. He can be seen on Rivington street by the club Cargo. Or if you are walking down Brick Lane take a look on Hanbury Street at the fabulous artwork by Reo. The beautiful large heron looking down at everyone.
You can also find the wonderful typography of Ben Ein, the huge ‘Extortionist’ can be found on Ebor street, his work can be seen in several places.
Another favourite is Dale Grimshaw. He is responsible for some of the large portraits to be seen. Large colourful faces very true to life.
And there is always stick man. Those lovely gentle stick people in interesting poses always put a smile on peoples faces.
As well as all of the culinary delights that Brick Lane and the surrounding areas has to offer, there is always space to find a small piece of art by someone unknown that will make you smile, confused or even angry. Sometimes political, sometimes clever. Some may believe it’s a little sad that we are starting to see advertisers using street art as a medium, but that will not take away from the pleasure of just stumbling across a beautiful piece of colour and shape in our daily travels.
Brick Lane has so much to see and enjoy – food, music, shopping, history, and art. What’s not to like?!