With such inner-city attractions as the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, it can be quite difficult to see past the city centre’s history and into that of the outer boroughs. London is well known for its sprawling districts, and you can glean a lot of history from exploring what lies outside the city centre.
Part of the reason for this is that London’s outer rims and eastern districts were in fact unincorporated into the UK capital’s official zone until the Victorian era or even the 1950s’. As relatively fresh areas of London, they still hold remnants of the time before their incorporation, revealing the former identities of the city’s outer limits and therefore exposing forgotten pasts and stories.
East London’s history is an easy area for guests at London City Suites to explore. Whilst the Barbican restaurants London show off the glamorous and modern side of London, scratching beneath the surface of the many historic attractions in this area – and beyond – will help you gain a deeper insight into the city’s true character.
The London Wall is a Roman-era structure that once spanned the border of Londinium. With parts of the wall still intact, you can find remnants of it close to the London City Suites Chiswell Street and just behind the Barbican. Dating back to the 2nd or rd century, this amazing wall holds many secrets to the city’s history.
Dennis Severs House
This one of a kind museum is situated on Folgate Street in the Shoreditch area of London and provides insight into the daily lives of 17th century to 20th century Londoners. Made up of sound installations and restored historic rooms, this house tells the story of several generations of Huguenot silk weavers through the ages.
Historic pubs of Shoreditch
Shoreditch has a history that predates the Victorian era, but its broad variety of cobbled lanes and public houses all have their roots and character very much ingrained within the 19th century. With pubs infamous for their Jack the Ripper connotations and the once slums of London now being a tourist haven, there’s a lot of history to your East London pint.
Shoreditch Town Hall
Shoreditch Town Hall was built and opened in 1866 and was one of the most popular vestry halls of the time. With it being the civic centre of Shoreditch, the building became a music hall and then boxing ring throughout the 20th century, all while pertaining its status as a community assembly point. Nowadays, the grand halls are open and rented for private vents, theatre shows and other performances. Located close to our very own Meeting Rooms City of London, this events space is a must-visit for international performance and art events.
Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge
Based in Chingford, Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge is located on the outskirts of Epping Forest and provided the 17th-century queen with a place at which to observe the Royal Hunts popular in Epping Forest. The lodge is open for visitors and still retains much of its Elizabethan structure, also providing information into the history of the building and that of the nearby ancient forest.
William Morris House
This Walthamstow historic hotspot was once the home of the famous Victorian textiles artist and philanthropist William Morris. The house is now dedicated to exhibiting the famous socialist’s old wares, as well as providing gallery space for up and coming and historic international artists. With a lot to see and a beautiful cafe and garden located behind it, this house is the crowning jewel of Walthamstow’s independent spirit.
Christ Church Spitalfields
Christ Church is a Spitalfields based church that dates back to 1714 and is part of the historic Commissioners Church plan, part of an 18th-century push to build 50 new churches in London. Part of the Anglican religion, this church is open to the public and provides a beautiful white interior and a tall gothic-styled spire.
Abney Park Cemetery
Part of the Magnificent Seven cemetery series, Abney Park Cemetery dates back to the 1840s’ and was part of a city-wide expansion of burial ground that was motivated by grave overcrowding. Like the other 6 on the list, Abney Park Cemetery is more than just a cemetery, providing beautiful woodlands and trails ina graveyard full of beautiful tombs and hundreds of years of history.
Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor
Based on Brune Street since 1902, this historic building was set up as a charity for Jewish immigrants who had escaped Eastern European persecution during the Victorian era. Due to a large amount of refugees and migrants, the East London community were regularly the subject of destitute living and squalid conditions, making the soup kitchens a necessity. You can still visit the kitchens today, now run by a Jewish charity.
The Geffyre Museum is based on Kingsland Road between Hoxton and Haggerston and hosts exhibitions concerning the home life of Londoners dating back to the turn of the 17th century. The museum showcases many historic interiors and furnishings and was opened in 1914 from a Grade I listed, 18th-century almshouse belonging to Sir Robert Geffyre.
Museum of London
The Museum of London is a human-focused museum that explores the history of London dating back to the prehistoric era. Located close to the Barbican, the museum is the largest collection of urban artefacts in the world, having collated over 6 million unique objects from the city’s history. From Roman-era tools and instruments to prehistoric stories of London’s marshy roots, the Museum of London provides a definitive guide to the history and evolution of the capital city.
Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood
The Victoria and Albert Musem of Childhood is an offshoot of the Victorian era design museum in South Kensington. This smaller enclave shifts the focus onto children from across the world and the way that they play. With thousands of artefacts exploring the growth of the toy industry and the cultures that spurned it, this museum is an interactive and absorbing free museum. Located in Bethnal Green and close to Overground and underground station, the museum is the perfect venue for an afternoon out with the family.