Brick Lane

Nuggets – bite size chunks of London


Brick Lane

 
Brick Lane is a mar­ket street in Spi­tal­fields, run­ning south from Shored­itch towards Aldgate East and not­ed for its Bangladeshi com­mu­ni­ty and south Asian cui­sine. Its name derives from the mak­ing of bricks and tiles in the imme­di­ate area since the 16th cen­tu­ry; and was first record­ed in 1542. Joseph Tru­man estab­lished a brew­ery here in the late 17th cen­tu­ry and built some hous­es to its south that also sur­vive. A mar­ket began to oper­ate in the 18th cen­tu­ry and Brick Lane became a ‘high street’ for London’s Russ­ian and Pol­ish Jews from the late 19th cen­tu­ry. In the ear­ly 1970s, immi­grants from Bangladesh began to set­tle here and the first ‘Indi­an’ restau­rant opened in 1974. Brick Lane now has the largest con­cen­tra­tion of cur­ry hous­es on one street in the coun­try and a cul­tur­al com­mu­ni­ty cen­tred on the old Tru­man brew­ery, which has been con­vert­ed into stu­dios for artists, musi­cians and fash­ion design­ers. The annu­al Brick Lane Fes­ti­val began in 1997 and attracts tens of thou­sands of vis­i­tors with its glob­al mix of food, his­to­ry and cul­ture.

Brick Lane is also the title of a nov­el (2003) by Mon­i­ca Ali, telling the sto­ry of Nazneen, a teenage girl who moves from a Bangladeshi vil­lage to an East End tow­er block fol­low­ing her arranged mar­riage. She finds an escape from her domes­tic con­straints in a rela­tion­ship with a young polit­i­cal activist. The book was filmed in 2007.
 
Brick Lane