16 Facts About Whitechapel


Whitechapel is a district in East London and the future administrative centre of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

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In 1902, American author Jack London, looking to write a counterpart to Jacob Riis's seminal book How the Other Half Lives, donned ragged clothes and boarded in Whitechapel, detailing his experiences in The People of the Abyss.

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Whitechapel's biographers disagreed and claimed that he gave no operational commands to the police, but a Metropolitan Police account states that the events of Sidney Street were "a very rare case of a Home Secretary taking police operational command decisions".

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Whitechapel concluded that English poverty was far rougher than the American variety.

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Whitechapel remained poor through the first half of the 20th century, though somewhat less desperately so.

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Whitechapel Road was the location of two 19th-century theatres: The Effingham and The Pavilion Theatre .

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The East London Mosque at the end of Whitechapel Road is a major symbol of the resident Islamic community.

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In 1985 this large, purpose built mosque with a dome and minaret was built in the heart of Whitechapel, attracting thousands of worshippers every week, and it was further expanded with the London Muslim Centre in 2004.

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Whitechapel is the setting of several novels by Jewish authors such as Children of the Ghetto and The King of Schnorrers by Israel Zangwill and Jew Boy by Simon Blumenfeld.

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Several chapters of Sholem Aleichem's classic Yiddish novel Adventures of Mottel the Cantor's Son take place in early 20th-century Whitechapel, depicted from the point of view of an impoverished East European Jewish family fleeing the pogroms.

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One of the episodes in Michael Moorcock's novel Breakfast in the Ruins takes place in 1905 Whitechapel, described from the point of view of an eleven year old Jewish refugee from Poland, working with his parents at a sweatshop, who is caught up in the deadly confrontation between Russian revolutionaries and agents of the Czar's Secret Police.

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Whitechapel is used as a location in most Jack the Ripper fiction.

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Whitechapel is one of the worldwide locations referenced in Edith Piaf's song C'est a Hambourg [2], describing the harsh life of prostitutes.

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In 2002, Whitechapel was used as the setting for a Sherlock Holmes film, The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, based on the Arthur Conan Doyle story The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire.

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Whitechapel was scheduled to be a stop on the Crossrail project, for which preparatory works began in September 2010 at a large site excavating 'Cambridge Heath Shaft' .

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Whitechapel is connected to the National Road Network by both the A11 on Whitechapel Road in the centre and to the south the A13 and The Highway A1203 running east–west.

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