Brick Lane is an iconic street in East London from Bethnal Green to Whitechapel, which is famous for its bars, pubs, coffee and sweet treats, food, and vintage shopping.
No Shoreditch itinerary can miss a stop in Brick Lane, be it for shopping or food.
A Little History of Brick Lane
From the 15th to 18th centuries, Brick Lane was known as Whitechapel Lane and made its way across fields. In the 15th century, bricks and tiles began using the local brick earth deposits, hence the name.
The Woodcut map of London in the 16th century included this street, which began from the easterly edge of London and moved northwards. Before 1680, deep wells were used to draw water, and brewing began here. In 1683, Joseph Truman’s family member, Benjamin Truman, established Black Eagle Brewery on this street. During the 17th century, this street became a preferred location to sell fruits and vegetables outside the city.
In 1742, a Huguenot Chapel was named La Neuve Eglise on the corner of Fournier Street and Brick Lane. From 1809 onwards, the missionaries used this chapel as The Jews Chapel with an eye on the expanding Jewish community where they promoted Christianity. In 1819, the Protestant residents used this as a Methodist chapel.
In 1898, this chapel came to be known as Machzikei HaDath, Spitalfields Great Synagogue. The demographics of this region underwent a gradual change, with a decrease in the Jews count and an increase in the Bangladeshis count.
Due to this, in 1976, this construction was named the Great London Mosque or London Jamme Masjid to cater to the Bangladeshis’ requirements. This means one building has been a church, a synagogue and now a mosque which is quite remarkable.
The 19th century witnessed the immigration of Ashkenazi Jews and Irish people. Till the early 20th century, Jewish immigration continued. The major immigrants in the later 20th century were Bangladeshi Bengalis from Sylhet.
This was the second wave of Anglo-Indian cuisine development. Many Bengali immigrants worked in the docks and had come from the Chittagong port. In 1997, the ornamental Brick Lane Arch, which Meena Thakor designed, was erected close to Osborn Street as a mark for entry to Brick Lane and ‘Banglatown.’
Since the late 1990s, several reputed nightclubs, such as The Vibe Bar and 93 Feet East, have begun operations on Brick Lane. Here, you can find a regular display of street art related to artists such as Omar Hassan, Ben Eine, D Face, ROA, Stik, and Banksy.
Brick Lane Shops
There is everything on Brick Lane, from Asian restaurants, street food stalls, souvenir shops, vintage shops, some of which we have covered on the blog to the unmissable salted beef bagel shops, tattoo parlors and cafes. All sat comfortably along side each other in this colourful part of London. Below are some of the shops on Brick Lane.
- Brick Lane Mini Market London – 100 Brick Ln, London E1 6RL
- Thrifted.com – Vintage Market Shoreditch, Unit 30, 85 Brick Ln, London E1 6QL
- Backyard Market – 146 Brick Ln, London E1 6QL
- Brick Lane Souvenirs – 160a Brick Ln, London E1 6RU
- Cream Vintage London – 158 Brick Ln, London E1 6RU
- Rokit – 101 Brick Ln, London E1 6SE
- Brick Lane Vintage – 182 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA
- Kin Store London – 131 Brick Ln, London E1 6SE
- Serotonin Vintage London – 194 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA
- Non Stop Vintage – 117c Brick Ln, London E1 6HR
- Bankrupt Store – 145 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB
- Here After – 151 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA
- Beigel Shop – 155 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB
- Beigel Bake Brick Lane Bakery – 159 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB
- Vintage Paradise – 220 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA
- Hunky Dory Vintage – 226 Brick Ln, London E1 6SA
- Temple Cycles – 240 Brick Ln, London E2 7EB
Things To Do Near Brick Lane
There is plenty to do on this long lane in London’s Shoreditch. You can drop by the Shoreditch High Street nearby, you have plenty of markets, from clothing markets to food markets and the must-see Columbia Road Flower Market which runs on Sundays is close by.
Below are just a few things to do in Brick Lane and nearby.
- Brick Lane Market – It refers to the group of London markets in east London in Tower Hamlets on the Brick Lane. These markets sell many items, ranging from vintage clothing and street food to eight-track cartridge decks and antique books.
- Beigel Bake Bakery – The bakery is open round the clock producing 7,000 beigels per day. It sells beigels with fillings, such as salmon, cream cheese, chopped herring, hot salt beef with mustard, and some sweets and pastries.
- Backyard Market – This is the top artisanal market in East London, where you can buy a very large and varied selection of lifestyle products, homeware, beauty, fashion, and art.
- Spitalfields City Farm – This offers educational opportunities for adults and children in a multi-cultural, vibrant community to enable them to learn new skills, develop confidence, and overcome social isolation. There is another farm also close by which we have covered on the blog. Be sure to add Hackney City Farm to your list of places to visit in East London.
- Boxpark Shoreditch – In 2011, Shoreditch Boxpark became the first pop-up shopping mall in the world. It offers independent and familiar brands specializing in drinks, food, arts, and fashion.
- The Truman Brewery Market – This market offers a platform for new fashion, art, and design with an ethos that matches the Brewery. It is a secure site with bollards, barriers, alarms, CCTV, firm security procedures, patrolling SIA-accredited guards, and 24-hour security.
Getting To Brick Lane
The nearest station is Shoreditch High Street Station with the overground line. For additional tips on how to get here use the map below.