Whitechapel Road is a major arterial road in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets, in the East End of London. It is named after a small chapel of ease dedicated to St Mary and connects Aldgate to the west (as Whitechapel High Street) with Mile End Road to the east. The road is part of the historic Roman Road from London to Colchester, now the A11.
The road had become built up by the 19th century and is now a main shopping district in the Whitechapel area. There is an established street market along the road next to Whitechapel tube station. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry and the Royal London Hospital have been based on Whitechapel Road since the 18th century. It remains an important road and is marked with bus lanes, with limited parking.
Several ethnic minority communities have centred on Whitechapel Road. The road was a focal point of the Jewish Community from the 1850s to the 1930s, with many Jewish shops and market stalls. Towards the latter part of the 20th century, the street became an established settlement of the British Bangladeshi community, who now sell a range of authentic Asian food and clothes in the market and on shop fronts. Altab Ali Park sits on the site of the original church at the western end of Whitechapel Road, and is a memorial to an Asian worker who suffered a fatal racial attack in 1978.
The road's name, along with the area, is derived from the original 14th-century White Chapel. It follows the section of the Roman road between Londinium (London) and Camulodunum (Colchester), which connected to the Pye Road to Venta Icenorum (Caistor St Edmund near Norwich). The section of the Roman Road that is now Whitechapel Road is a Primary A-road, the A11, and has bus lanes running along its length. Owing to the popularity of the market, parking is heavily restricted, limited to occasional parking metered spaces along the road.
Cycle Superhighway CS2 runs along Whitechapel Road. The nearest London Underground stations are Whitechapel station and Aldgate East station and the nearest National Rail station is Bethnal Green railway station. A number of local London Buses routes run along Whitechapel Road, including 25, 205 and 254.
The Blind Beggar public house, 337 Whitechapel Road The area around Whitechapel Road is notorious for the 19th-century Whitechapel Murders, which are believed to be linked to Jack The Ripper. One of the first victims was Martha Tabram, who was found with multiple stab wounds on George Yard Buildings, Whitechapel Road on 7 August 1888.
Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, moved to Whitechapel Road in 1884. Visitors paid to see him in the back room of a shop owned by showman Tom Norman. The shop was directly opposite the Royal London Hospital, and Merrick was frequently visited by doctors. Merrick later moved to the hospital permanently, where he spent the last years of his life.
The Blind Beggar is at No. 337 and was the founding point of the Salvation Army following a meeting outside the pub by William Booth in 1865. On 9 March 1966, the venue became notorious after Ronnie Kray fatally shot George Cornell at the pub. The premises remains open for business, though it has been refurbished several times. The Kray Twins also used The Blackwall Buildings, by then dilapidated, as a form of punishment by locking a victim in a flat alone with Ronnie's German Shepherd dog.