Bethnal Green was the centre of the silk weaving industry in the 18th century. Workers lived there in appalling conditions.
It was the poorest district of London in Victorian times. Slum clearance took place in the 20th century and many large council estates were created in their place. The only old remains of Bethnal Green are in the Bethnal Green Gardens conservation area, which incorporates the original village green. The Bethnal Green Underground station was the site of a terrible tragedy in 1943, when 173 people were killed during a panic at the entrance of the station during an air raid. The Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood is at Cambridge Heath Road.
Bethnal Green appeals to young executives who want a flat within easy access of the City and who enjoy the exotic appeal of Brick Lane. It’s a total mixture of architectural styles, with enclaves of Georgian and Victorian houses, converted factories and warehouses, new builds, and council flats, all rubbing shoulders with each other. Cambridge Heath Road runs straight through the middle of Bethnal Green. At the top end of Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green borders Victoria Park and the Grand Union Canal. This is a very desirable area with streets of Victorian properties overlooking the Park and the Canal, such as Sewardstone Road and Cyprus Street. (Around Old Ford Road and Roman Road there are large council estates, such as the Cranbrook Estate.)
There are pockets of Victorian terraced houses in Victoria Park Square, and streets near Bethnal Green tube station such as Moravian Street and Gawber Street. On the west of Bethnal Green, south of Hackney Road, is Columbia Road with its famous Sunday morning flower market. Nearby are attractive Victorian terraced cottages of the Jesus Hospital Estate, such as Columbia Road and Ezra Street. Further south towards Bethnal Green itself there are converted houses, new developments, and council properties.
For modern homes, look in Globe Town (the area east of Globe Road). The are has been extensively redeveloped with new flats and houses. Victoria Wharf in Palmers Row on the edge of the canal is a large development of new flats. There is another large development area in Warley Street. Millennium Place is another recent flat development, on Cambridge Heath Road.