First recorded as ‘La Mile Ende’ in 1288, Mile End is a district in London that is primarily located around the north-south area of Mile End Park. Its name is believed to be related to the area’s one-mile distance from to the city gate at Aldgate, the City’s east entrance. This may also be why it was known as ‘Aldgatestrete’ during Medieval times. Toward the end of the 17th century, ‘La Mile Ende’ became known as Mile End Old Town, due to the start of a new settlement, referred to as Mile End New Town, adjacent to Spitalfields and to its west.
Today, the area is popular among Airbnb tourists looking for a place to stay, as it’s very close to the Station supported by both the Central and District Line.
Mile End Road was an ancient route from London to the East. In 1110, the foundation of the Bow Bridge let it being moved to its current location. Mile End Green refers to the area running beside Mile End Road. This area was a well-known gathering place for Londoners, as seen in the name of Assembly Passage.
On June 12, 1381, Mile End served as the campsite of 100,000 men who were part of an uprising against Brentwood tax collectors. Men from several nearby villages, including a group from Kent, led by Wat Tyler, and the rebels of Essex, led by Jack Straw, a local priest, gathered here overnight. The next day, the men from Kent went on to Blackheath, while the rebels stayed behind. On June 14, 1381, King Richard II rode to Mile End, where he met with the rebels and signed their charter. Afterwards, King Richard II had many leaders and rebels executed.
Throughout the remainder of the medieval period, open fields were almost all that could be seen on either side of the road. (Past excavations suggest that few buildings were located here before 1300.) By the end of the 16th century, working and lower-class housing developments started cropping up, a trend that continued through the 18th century. They were frequently occupied by immigrants, as well as new migrants to the city.
During World War II, Mile End suffered greatly during early blitzes and was hit by the first V-1 flying bomb to strike London, impacting the Grove Road railway bridge This resulted in the deaths of eight civilians. An additional 30 were injured and around 200 were left without a home after the blast. Today, a plaque sits at the site to commemorate the horrible event.
In January 1973, the area known as Mile End Old Town was designated as the Stepney Green Conservation Area. This irregularly shaped area sits slightly north of the medieval village of Stepney and is centred around St. Dunstan’s Church. It included buildings around Stepney Green, Mile End Road, Louisa Street, and Assembly Passage. The area is known for its historical value and exceptional architecture that indicates character, enhancement, and protection.