Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

The East End of London is a fascinating place to explore – history abounds all over the place!  Around every street corner you’ll find decrepit looking buildings juxtaposed with upmarket modern flats and offices. The Spitalfields area has long been associated with the rag trade and there are so many shops and markets in the area it’s hard to choose which one to go to. Old Spitalfields Market on Commercial Street is open several days a week including an antique market on Thursdays (see here for further info) but we were heading off on this particular Sunday morning to explore one of our daughter, Mlle’s favourite places, the famous Brick Lane Market. En route we passed through the curiously named Frying Pan Alley, weaved our way through the street stalls of the Sunday clothing and bric-a-brac market at Petticoat Lane (actually held in Middlesex Street) and went past Toynbee Hall. The latter houses the charity of the same name set up by Church Of England curate Samuel Barnett and his wife, Henrietta, in 1884 to address the appalling poverty in London’s East End.

 

It certainly helped having Mlle’s local knowledge as by the time we arrived in Brick Lane there were so many people milling around, traders selling street food, shops advertising vinyl records, clothing, furniture etc that it was somewhat overwhelming. Monsieur Le Chic posed for a couple of photos and then headed off at high speed to White Hart Lane for his football game.

 

 

Brick Lane is actually made up of several different markets both inside and outdoors. Some are housed in the buildings of the Old Truman Brewery including Mlle’s particular favourite the Backyard Market. Stepping inside was a welcome sanctuary from the hustle and bustle in the streets! There were a myriad of stalls and although it was busy, the atmosphere was more leisurely and tranquil than outside. We were so engrossed for the next hour or so wandering round that I forgot to take many photos. The Backyard Market has an emphasis on artisanal crafts – there were stalls selling lovely jewellery, beautiful prints, clothing, accessories and hand made soaps and essential oils. In another building next door we found an emporium with all manner of china, bric-a brac and antique furniture.

 

 

Before heading off to catch some last minute bargains at the Colombia Road Flower Market (see last week’s post here), we just had time to stop off at another Mlle favourite, the Brick Lane Bookshop at 166 Brick Lane. This place is an absolute gem – we could have spent hours here browsing through their wonderful book collection! An independent book store it stocks a wide variety of books – the classics, poetry, reference books, travel, childrens’ books and the list goes on….! I immersed myself in the local history section – if I hadn’t been mindful of airline baggage allowances I could easily have come away with a dozen or more books. Mlle with no such restrictions added to her collection – she makes a point of buying a book every time she comes here. I couldn’t come away completely empty handed though – I bought a pocket guide Volume 3 of London’s Hidden Walks (just need to find Volumes 1 and 2 now!). Highly recommend popping into the Brick Lane Bookshop if you’re in the area!

 

 

Wandering round the markets was tiring work and by mid afternoon we were in need of some refreshments! Following “Mlle’s guided tour” again, we headed off to a gorgeous little spot tucked away off the beaten track – more about that next week!

 

Copyright © 2016 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

27 thoughts on “Exploring The Old East End – Brick Lane

  1. Such a lovely place for a stroll…nice pics. (Suzanne)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Suzanne – I know you’ve been to this part of London too. You can stroll round here for hours – there are so many interesting buildings plus all the markets, shops, cafes, pubs etc!

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  2. ledrakenoir says:

    Inspiring… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Drake! Such an interesting place for a stroll! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I traveled there in 2011 when doing my Yachtmaster in Hamble but sadly failed to take photos. Your images brought me right back there. Delightful! You should consider sharing that ‘Vintage Emporium’ photo with the store. It is a great image and I think they would like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lisa am so glad you liked the post and photos – hopefully you’ll get back there one day to take some photos! I hadn’t thought of doing that – will have to see if they have an Instagram account as when I checked it said the Backyard Market site was under construction though there is one for the Brick Lane Markets which includes the Backyard stalls!

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  4. Sounds like the perfect afternoon Rosemary – browsing around all those incredible stalls and even better, having the husband at a football match – everyone is happy!! I love the look of the bookshop too, we could spend hours in a place like this. Loving the street names too – Frying Pan Alley, Petticoat Lane – like something from a storybook!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes definitely Joy – it was a win win situation all round! I love all the names too – no idea who invented them! The bookshop had something for everyone it really is a wonderful find! It was the perfect afternoon – miss our daughter a lot but it’s great to be able to spend time with her in London and go to all these fantastic places at the same time! 🙂

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  5. London is lovely! ❤

    But I am very much looking forward your post from Lake Como. 🙂 (mine is still to come, too)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Johanna! I decided it was best to do my trip in chronological order but Lake Como is on the way in a little while! I have several posts to do from there – we had an amazing time and it’s so beautiful! There are some photos on the sidebar on my Instagram account if you want a sneak preview! Look forward to seeing your Lake Como photos too! 🙂

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  6. RuthsArc says:

    A lovely post, Rosemary. Thanks for another delightful trip down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome Ruth! I’m glad my recent posts are bringing back happy memories for you 🙂 I had never been to the Brick Lane area before despite so many years living in London – the whole area is so fascinating! Hope you’ve had a good weekend and have a lovely week 🙂

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  7. restlessjo says:

    I’ve always meant to ‘do’ Brick Lane on one of my London visits. Got to fit it in next time (whenever that might be! 🙂 ) Looks like you had a lot of fun, Rosemay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it was a great day out with Mlle, Jo! Last year we “did” Portobello Road so very happy to make it to the East End this time. It’s well worth heading out that way if you’re ever back in London – this is just a small sample of what to see and do there! Will be along to check out your Monday Walk later today 🙂 We have had a wild and wet weekend – it feels like winter is here already with more storms on the way. It’s been an good excuse to get the wood fire lit though and open a nice bottle of red! Hope your weekend was a good one and have a lovely week too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Looks like a wonderful hidden gem. Love your pictures, we really get a good idea of how it is there and are taking with you on the trip while seeing it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Hanna thanks for calling by – am starting to write up our latest travels as you can see! Glad you can get a good impression of what it feels like to wander round the East End markets – it’s such an interesting part of London! Would not have known about the Backyard Market if our daughter hadn’t taken me there – it certainly is a hidden gem! 🙂

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  9. anneharrison says:

    What an amazing place to find – more things for my endless bucket list! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! Thanks also for following my blog – I have plenty more articles coming up about my recent trip! 😃

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  10. vinneve says:

    I like strolling too… a lot actually especially to a new place or Country. It’s a wonderful feeling to see new things 🙂 Good to see you enjoyed.

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    1. Thanks! Yes I find I always walk around so much when I’m away on holiday it’s such a great way to see a new place 🙂

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  11. Love this post, you’ve certainly captured the atmosphere cos it takes me back to my youth & my London days. Very nice & lovely pics thx 💕👏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks that’s great to hear 🙂 Am glad the post brought back happy memories – although I lived in London for 9 years this was my first visit to Brick Lane loved the atmosphere and strolling round 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great stuff, enjoy London it’s a brilliant City to visit as you’ll know 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! We’re actually back in Perth now – we were in London in April 🙂 Life has gone full circle as our younger daughter is now living and working there – this was our 2nd visit since she’s been there and it’s been great seeing the city through her eyes! There are still so many new places to explore as well as old haunts! 🙂

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  13. The Vintage Emporium looks so cute ! That place seems to be full of treasures 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it’s a really quaint place Gin – can recommend it if you’re down in London! Loved the whole Brick Lane area – great place to wander round and have a good browse 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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