By John Marriott
From Jewish garments retailers to Bangladeshi curry homes, historical docks to the 2012 Olympics, the world east of town has consistently performed an important function in London's historical past. The East finish, because it has been recognized, was once the house to Shakespeare's first theater and to the early stirrings of a mass exertions stream; it has additionally characteristically been visible as a spot of darkness and depression, the place Jack the Ripper devoted his grotesque murders, and cholera and poverty stalked the Victorian streets.In this superbly illustrated historical past of this iconic district, John Marriott attracts on twenty-five years of study into the topic to give an authoritative and without end attention-grabbing account. simply by copious maps, archive prints and pictures, and the phrases of East Londoners from seventeenth-century silk weavers to Cockneys in the course of the Blitz, he explores the connection among the East finish and the remainder of London, and demanding situations some of the myths that encompass the realm.
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Extra resources for Beyond the Tower: A History of East London
9 Theatre became increasingly professional, secular and cosmopolitan. Classical drama was revived, tragedies made their appearance, and there was a considerable appetite for straight history, all of which was staged with comic interludes. Beyond the reach of City censorship and taxation, and yet close enough to attract audiences, Stepney and Shoreditch were well situated to host such entertainment. The staging of plays in the courtyards of inns had long been established but in 1567 John Brayne, a grocer, opened what was arguably the first purpose-built theatre with a stage and galleries at the Red Lion in Whitechapel.
During the sixteenth century many of the great voyages of discovery had departed from Blackwall, and in 1606 three ships set sail from there filled with passengers who would colonize Virginia. 49 In 1614 it was chosen by the East India Company as the site for a new dockyard, and so began the making of Poplar. The Company had been granted a charter by Elizabeth in 1600 conferring monopoly trading rights with India, China, Japan, Sumatra and Java. These rights were exploited to the full. The five ships used on the Company’s first voyage had been purchased from private individuals, but the ambitions of the Company, coupled with the demand for larger ships capable of sustaining the rigours of an arduous return journey to the East, encouraged the directors to consider building their own fleet.
8 The reference made by Stow to the enactment of stage plays was no aside, for at the time of his survey, Stepney and neighbouring Shoreditch were at the vital heart of English theatre during its formative period. Since mediaeval times a large variety of dramatic productions, including miracle and mystery plays, mummings, pageants, dances and jigs, had been performed by strolling players in towns and the countryside wherever a suitable site could be found. Most of the productions were ephemeral, had little status and were therefore rarely published.