The home of successive waves of immigrants, from the Huguenots in the seventeenth century to the Jews in the nineteenth and Bangla-Deshis today, London’s East End has been the scene of its worst poverty and exploitation, and has inspired its greatest philanthropists, reformers and radicals. The East End is, and always has been, a place where conditions are tough, crime violent and work hard, but in which Cockney optimism and love of life are proverbial.

In this text, the area’s turbulent past and continuing traditions are accurately explored in text and pictures. If East End … More

Born OTD in 1946, English children’s novelist, poet, and the author of 140 books, Michael Rosen. In this humorous and moving memoir, Michael Rosen recalls the first twenty-three years of his life. Born in the North London suburbs, his parents, Harold and Connie, both teachers, first met as teenage Communists in the 1930s Jewish East End. The family home was filled with stories of relatives in London, the United States and France and of those who had disappeared in Europe.

Unlike the children around them, Rosen and his brother Brian grew up dreaming of a socialist revolution. Party meetings were … More

Born OTD in 1873, Rudolf Rocker. Historically one of the most prominent forms of social anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism is a school of thought that views labour unions as a potential force for revolutionary social change, capable of replacing capitalism and the State with a new society democratically self-managed by the workers.

The basic idea behind anarcho-syndicalism is to create an industrial workers’ union movement based on anarchist ideas, aiming eventually to … More

Born OTD in 1876, John Griffith London, AKA Jack London. The People of the Abyss is a book by Jack London about life in the East End of London in 1902. He wrote this first-hand account after living in the East End for several weeks, sometimes staying in workhouses or sleeping on the streets. In his attempt to understand the working-class of this deprived area of London the author stayed as a lodger with a poor family. The conditions he experienced and wrote about were the same as those endured by an estimated 500,000 of the contemporary London poor.

As well as being a literary masterpiece, The People of the Abyss stands as a major sociological study. While other … More

This is London’s East End in the 1940s – polyglot, violent, poor. We visit ‘the local’, the blitz & an all-day wedding feast. A vibrant area, but for Jimmy despair awaits when even his father steals from him. And how will Pinkie get on in these changing times? London E1 is introduced by Rachel Lichtenstien.

On the back cover of the first edition of Robert Poole’s long-forgotten first, and only, published novel, London E1 (Secker … More