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Sunday, 26 September 2010

It's like collecting blue plaques in Nazi Germany part II

So we find our guide outside the Bishopsgate entrance to Liverpool Street station and soon our motley band is assembled and we debarked across the road through a maze of what were once East India Company warehouses, mute witnesses to the trade that made the city great and of course one of the driving imperatives of the immigrant communities.

We found ourselves on Middlesex Street otherwise known as Petticoat Lane, not that there was an awful lot of activity at 11a.m. on Saturday and spotted the Blue Plaque dedicated to the Jewish Board of Guardians for the Relief of the Jewish Poor again a reminder not only of the Immigrant community but also to the immense poverty in the area. Which is of course why Petticoat Lane market and its schmutter is there. We also spotted a discarded Pilsner Urquell half pint glass which made its way mysteriously inside M's carrier bag. Next stop on the trail was the discreetly hidden Sandy's Row Synagogue which looked so damnedly intriguing. But it being a Saturady and a high holiday as well there was no chance of gaining entry. We found our way down past a couple of the best preserved Hugenot shops around Gun Street and Artillery Lane so called for the Tudor armshouses created by Henry VIII to an old Almshouse used by many of the working girls of the area - Not least Mary Kelly the last of the canonical Ripper victims and across the way a soulless carpark on the site of a warren of old streets including Millers Court where Jack has his way with her... and she was his final victim. The culmination of a long hot summer of mounting insanity. London Walks has a couple of Ripper Walks which Id like to go on but there was a bit of crossover on this walk the alleys of Whitechapel and its teeming hordes providing Jack with his choice of victims. We turn from BellLane and its faded adverts for businesses long closed and turn East past Spitalfields Market. On either side of the entrance to Fournier Street are gorgeous Christchuch Spitalfields a Hawksmoor church saved from the demolition and on the other The Ten Bells which again has Ripper connections. "It was widely rumoured that Annie Chapman had been seen in a pub near Spitalfields Market at c.5.00 A.M. on the morning of her murder" and Mary Kelly's pitch was outside the pub and Mary Kelly was also reported to have been drinking there the night before her death...

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