As areas of London go, Whitechapel is right up there for historical infamy. It was the location of the Jack the Ripper Murders in the late 19th Century.The area also has plenty of connections to the criminal underworld, as the pub we visited demonstrated.
Whitechapel Station first opened on the Metropolitan District Railway in October 1884. Services to the station had first started in 1876 as part of the East London Railway. These days it is served by the District and Hammersmith and City Lines. It is also served by a section of the London Overground that was formerly part of the Underground network as the East London Line.
The station building itself feels fairly historic, with the wooden covered walkway from the platforms to the building itself. The building at street level appears to have some curious modern additions in the shape of leaf shaped canopies.
The Pub: The Blind Beggar, 337 Whitechapel Road, E1 1BU
It’s safe to say The Blind Beggar will be one of the most famous pubs I’ll visit on the crawl. I’ll bet few others will have a wikipedia page dedicated to them. Without wanting to go into too much detail here, it’s major claim to fame is as where Ronnie Kray shot dead George Cornell of rival East End gang the Richardsons. On the other side of the historic spectrum, William Booth’s lecture that led to the establishment of what became the Salvation Army was delivered outside the pub in 1866.
Back to the here and now, the pub itself unsurprisingly has a traditional looking exterior. The interior itself is also fairly traditional and with plenty of free floor space. Given how pubs these days can cram in so many seats in you can barely move, I found the more uncluttered approach welcome. I’m also always a big fan of traditional chandeliers in pubs. There are a few references to the Krays on the wall, but I wouldn’t say the place milks it.
While it still does retain the character and atmosphere of a traditional pub, on our visit it was evident it is clearly now also frequented by a younger, more trendy clientele you might associate more with Shoreditch and other areas of East London. The pub had its own ale, the aptly titled ‘Beggars Belief’, which was a good solid pint.
The pub doesn’t do hot food but they did offer us a cheese board. I’m not quite sure if the Krays would have gone for that? There is also a sizeable beer garden with some rather funky fibre optic lights on the back walls.
The Blind Beggar doesn’t rely on its historic backstory to get by, it’s a really decent boozer in its own right and well worth a visit!
(The pub’s website is currently down at the time of writing!) Follow them on Twitter