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Shoreditch is a district in the East End of London in England, and forms the southern part of the London Borough of Hackney. Neighbouring parts of are also perceived as part of the area.

In the 16th century, Shoreditch was an important centre of the Elizabethan Theatre, and it has been an important entertainment centre since that time. Today, it hosts many pubs, bars and nightclubs. The most commercial areas lie closest to the city of London and along the A10 Road, with the rest mostly residential.

Early spellings of the name include Soredich (c.1148), Soresdic (1183–4), Sordig (1204), Schoresdich (1220–21), and other variants. are generally agreed that the name derives from " scoradīc", i.e. "shore-ditch", the shore being a riverbank or prominent slope; but there is disagreement as to the identity of the "shore" in question. A suggestion made by in 1936 that the "ditch" might have been one leading to the "shore" of the continues to enjoy widespread currency.
(2022). 9780521362092, Cambridge University Press.
Mander 1996, p. 13. Other scholars, however, have challenged this interpretation on the grounds that the City of London lies between Shoreditch and the Thames.
(1980). 9780713425383, Batsford.
A variant spelling used by in 1598, Sewers Ditche, raises the possibility that the name might originally have referred to a drain or watercourse. Certainly the area was once boggy, and the name might bear some relation to the main branch of the , which rose in Hoxton, ran along what is now Curtain Road, flowing past the former . The river was known in this area as the Deepditch Https://< /ref> Flood Ditch or just The Ditch.

holds that the place was originally named "Shore's Ditch", after , the mistress of Edward IV, who is supposed to have died or been buried in a ditch in the area. This legend is commemorated today by a large painting, at Branch Library, of the body of Shore being retrieved from the ditch, and by a design on glazed tiles in a shop in Shoreditch High Street showing her meeting Edward IV.Clunn, H. P. (1970) The Face of London. Spring Books: London. pp. 312, 493 However, the area was known as Shoreditch long before Jane Shore lived: the Survey of London, for example, lists some 26 deeds dating from between c.1148 and 1260 which use some version of the name.

In another theory, also now discredited, antiquarian claimed that the name was derived from Sir John de Soerdich, who was lord of the manor during the reign of Edward III (132777).


Though now part of , Shoreditch was previously an extramural suburb of the City of London, centred on Shoreditch Church at the old crossroads where Shoreditch High Street and are crossed by and .

Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road are a small sector of the Roman and modern A10. Known also as the Old North Road, it was a major coaching route to the north, exiting the City at . The east–west course of Old Street–Hackney Road was also probably originally a Roman Road, connecting Silchester with , bypassing the City of London to the south.Sugden n.d.

Shoreditch Church (officially known as St Leonard's, Shoreditch) is of ancient origin. It is featured in the famous line "when I grow rich say the bells of Shoreditch", from the English nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons".

Shoreditch was the site of a house of canonesses, the (named after a Holy Well on the site), from the 12th century until its dissolution in 1539. This priory was located between Shoreditch High Street and Curtain Road to east and west, and Batemans Row and Holywell Lane to north and south. Nothing remains of it today.Wood 2003.

Shakespeare and the Elizabethan theatre
In 1574 the City authorities banned the building of playhouses in the City of London area, consequently theatres were built in the suburbs, beyond its jurisdiction.
(1999). 9780723010302, Times Books.

The first of these came in 1576, when built the first playhouse in England, known as "", on the site of the Priory (commemorated today by a plaque on Curtain Road, and excavated in 2008, by ). Shakespeare's Shoreditch theatre unearthed Maev Kennedy, , Thursday, 7 August 2008

William Shakespeare lived nearby in a property overlooking St Helen's churchyard in the area of the City. His early plays were first performed in Shoreditch, at The Theatre and at the nearby , built the following year and to the south (marked by a commemorative plaque in Hewett Street off Curtain Road). Romeo and Juliet was first performed here, gaining "Curtain plaudits", Henry V was performed within "this wooden O" and an early version of was also first staged in Shoreditch.

Shakespeare's Company moved the timbers of "The Theatre" to at the expiration of the lease in 1599, in order to construct the . The Curtain continued performing plays in Shoreditch until at least 1627.Shapiro 2005.

The suburb of Shoreditch was attractive as a location for these early theatres because, like , it was outside the jurisdiction of the somewhat puritanical City fathers. Even so, they drew the wrath of contemporary moralists, as did the local "base tenements and houses of unlawful and disorderly resort" and the "great number of dissolute, loose, and insolent people harboured in such and the like noisome and disorderly houses, as namely poor cottages, and habitations of beggars and people without trade, stables, inns, alehouses, taverns, garden-houses converted to dwellings, ordinaries, dicing houses, bowling alleys, and brothel houses".Middlesex Justices in 1596; cited in Schoenbaum 1987, p. 126.

17th and 18th centuries
During the 17th century, wealthy traders and French silkweavers moved to the area, establishing a textile industry centred to the south around Spitalfields. By the 19th century, Shoreditch was also the locus of the furniture industry, now commemorated in the on Kingsland Road. These industries declined in the late 19th century.

Victorian entertainments
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Shoreditch was a centre of entertainment to rival the West End and had many theatres and :

  • The National Standard Theatre, 2/3/4 Shoreditch High Street (1837–1940). In the late 19th century this was one of the largest theatres in London. In 1926, it was converted into a cinema called The New Olympia Picturedrome. The building was demolished in 1940. , Mrs Marriott and James Anderson all appeared here; also performed were programmes of classical opera and even Shakespeare, with actors including . There was considerable rivalry with the West End theatres. John Douglass (the owner, from 1845) wrote a letter to The Era following a Drury Lane first night, in which he commented that "seeing that a hansom cab is used in the new drama at Drury Lane, I beg to state that a hansom cab, drawn by a live horse was used in my drama ... produced at the Standard Theatre ... with real rain, a real flood, and a real balloon."
  • The Shoreditch Empire, also known as The London Music Hall, 95–99 Shoreditch High Street (1856–1935). The theatre was rebuilt in 1894 by , the architect of the . is recorded as performing here, in his early days, before he achieved fame in America. Purchased in 1934 by adjacent drapery business Jeremiah Rotherham & Co and rebuilt as a warehouse. Satisfactory turnover The Guardian, London, 28 Feb 1935, p. 14
  • The Royal Cambridge Music Hall, 136 Commercial Street (1864–1936), was destroyed by fire in 1896, then rebuilt in 1897 by , architect of the Britannia Theatre, in nearby . The Builder of 4 December 1897 said "The New Cambridge Music Hall in Commercial Street, Bishopsgate, is now nearing completion. The stage will be wide by deep. The premises will be heated throughout by hot water coils, and provision has been made for lighting the house by electric light."

None of these places of entertainment survives today. Music hall was revived for a brief time in Curtain Road by the temporary home of the Brick Lane Music Hall. This too has now moved on.

A number of playbills and posters from these music halls survive in the collections of both the Bishopsgate Institute and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

WW1 – Shoreditch Pals
In the First World War, the Mayor and Borough of Shoreditch raised a of volunteers from around the borough who would serve together as the 20th (Shoreditch) , Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own). The Middlesex Regiment the battalion belonged to was nicknamed the "Die-hards".

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Pre War
Syd's coffee stall was established in Calvert Avenue, Shoreditch in 1919 and operated continuously until 2019.

Gainsborough Studios were located in a former power station, in Poole Street, by the . The film studios operated there from 1924 until it declined and closed in 1951.

The Stag's Head, Hoxton was built in 1936 for Truman's Brewery, and designed by their in-house architect A. E. Sewell.

WW2 Bombing
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The area was hit by at least 279 high explosive bombs, 6 7 V-1 'doodlebugs', 2 V-2 rockets and many thousands of 1 kg incendiary devices.Detailed Unexploded Ordnance Risk Assessment, by 1st Line Defence, to support the Shoreditch Village planning application The destruction of housing and industry caused by the two V-2s contributed to the opportunity to create and .

Shoreditch post-war declined in conditions, as did both textile and furniture industries with competition elsewhere. This situation was exacerbated by the extensive devastation of the housing stock in the during the Second World War, and by insensitive redevelopment in the post-war period.

A south-west to north-east tube line called the Chelsea-Hackney line was proposed in 1970 by the then London Transport Board's London Rail Study as the next project after the completion of the and the (now the ) but was not carried forward, it would have had a new tube station near Shoreditch Church if it was built.

Formerly a predominantly working-class area, since around 1996 Shoreditch has become a popular and fashionable part of London, particularly associated with the creative industries. Often conflated with its neighbouring sub-district of Hoxton, the area has been subject to considerable , with accompanying rises in land and property prices. Former industrial buildings have been converted to offices and flats, while Curtain Road and Old Street are notable for their clubs and pubs which offer a variety of venues to rival those of the West End. Art galleries, bars, restaurants, media businesses and the building of the Hackney Community College campus are features of this transformation.

In the mid-1960s, the main streets of Shoreditch (Old Street, Shoreditch High Street and Curtain Road, Great Eastern Street) were formed into a one-way system, which became associated with traffic congestion, poor conditions for walking and cycling, high speeds, high collision rates, and delays for bus services. The gyratory system came to be seen as "the main factor holding back the cultural regeneration of South Shoreditch"Teo Greenstraat of The Circus Space, quoted in More Light, More Power, No. 6, Autumn 2000. and "a block to economic recovery".Michael Pyner of Shoreditch New Deal Trust, quoted in More Light, More Power, No. 6, Autumn 2000. Following a lengthy campaign, The long road back to a two-way Shoreditch Hackney Cyclists, 2002. the then newly formed Transport for London agreed to revert most of the streets to two-way working, a project which was completed in late 2002.

In 2005, funding was announced for the East London Line Extension, to extend the existing tube line from Whitechapel tube station bypassing Shoreditch tube station, and to create a new station named Shoreditch High Street closer to central Shoreditch. This is now served by London Overground services on part of the site of the old Bishopsgate Goods Yard, which was demolished in 2004. The station was built on a viaduct and is fully enclosed in a concrete box structure. This is so future building works on the remainder of the Bishopsgate site can be undertaken keeping the station operational.

Tower Hamlets Council made proposals to transfer the Boundary Estate to a housing association and upgrade the accommodation in 2006. A full refurbishment of one of the blocks, Iffley House was carried out by Sprunt Architects to demonstrate how this might be achieved but the proposal was rejected by a ballot of tenants in November of that year. Battle of the Boundary, The Guardian, 21 June 2006.

More recently, during the second "dot-com" boom, both the area and Old Street have become popular with London-based web technology companies who base their head offices around the East London Tech City district. These include, , , and 7digital. These companies have tended to gravitate towards Old Street Roundabout, giving rise to the term "Silicon Roundabout" to describe the area, as used by Prime Minister in a speech in November 2010.

As a result, the name of Shoreditch has become synonymous with the concept of contemporary "hipsterfication" of regenerated urban areas. As a pioneer among similar transformations across the UK, various phrases have been coined, from "Shoreditchification" to "Very Shoreditch".

In 2014, the and the nearby area came under the East Shoreditch Neighbourhood Forum. Forum status ceased to have effect on 5 February 2019 but the Neighbourhood Area designation is unaffected by the expiry.

The Stag's Head public house was in 2015 by .

South Shoreditch has undergone an enormous transformation. Several five- or six-storey buildings have been knocked down in the area of Shoreditch that borders the City of London. In their place will be erected a variety of very tall buildings, mirroring the architectural styles in the City. The developments will result in more residential units being available for sale in Shoreditch than were produced by the Olympics athletes' village.

One landmark development is the in Worship Street, designed by the architects Foster and Partners,Principal Tower, Worship Street, London EC2A 2BA: New Developments - Principal Tower, Worship Street, London EC2A 2BA, accessdate: 29/08/2014 and next to it is , also designed by Foster and Partners. In July 2014, it was reported that the internet retailer was close to signing a lease to move its UK headquarters there. The project had been on hold since January 2012, when the anchor tenant, the law firm CMS Cameron McKenna pulled out. Soon after, the developer sold its interest in the scheme to Brookfield.Building: Amazon interest could revive Principal Place tower | Online News | Building, accessdate: 29/08/2014

There has been some consideration of creating an interchange with the Central line between Liverpool Street and Bethnal Green at Shoreditch High Street, where the line runs almost underneath the station. However, this could not be seriously contemplated before the completion of the project, owing to extreme crowding on the Central line during peak hours.

London Overground began running 24-hour trains on Friday and Saturday nights between Junction and Gate which called at Shoreditch High Street from 15 December 2017. but bypasses and continues on to due to ongoing construction work for (Elizabeth line) until 2019.

Two workers' houses on Club Row on the corner of Redchurch Street, which developers had wished to knock down, were saved from demolition. They were deemed of special historic interest, giving the houses protection from destruction from 2019.

Shoreditch covers a wide area, but its historic heart lies south of Old Street, around Shoreditch High Street and Shoreditch Church. The districts of and have been historically part of Shoreditch since the medieval period and occupy the north-west and north-east of Shoreditch respectively; however, their extent has never been formally defined.

Although Shoreditch has been consistently defined, perceptions have blurred in recent years; something that became possible after the Metropolitan Borough of Shoreditch amalgamated with some of its neighbours to become the southern part of the London Borough of Hackney in 1965.

The location of the former Shoreditch tube station (closed 2006), 400 metres outside Shoreditch proper, in nearby , Tower Hamlets, influenced this shift. Its replacement, Shoreditch High Street station, straddles the borough boundary.

More significant has been the gentrification of the Shoreditch area since the millennium, leading to a marked increase in the area's prestige, which has led businesses in the and areas of Tower Hamlets to include the name Shoreditch in their company's name and marketing material. This is also seen to a lesser extent in the St Luke's area of the London Borough of Islington.

Shoreditch was an administrative unit with consistent boundaries from the until its merger into the London Borough of Hackney in 1965. Shoreditch was based for many centuries on the of Shoreditch (St Leonard's), part of the county of .

Parishes in Middlesex were grouped into Hundreds, with Shoreditch part of Hundred. Rapid Population growth around London saw the Hundred split into several 'Divisions' during the 1600s, with Shoreditch part of the . The Tower Division was noteworthy in that the men of the area owed military service to the Tower of London - and had done even before the creation of the DivisionThe London Encyclopaedia, 4th Edition, 1983, Weinreb and Hibbert - an arrangement which continued until 1899.

The provided a framework for both civil (administrative) and ecclesiastical (church) functions, but during the nineteenth century there was a divergence into distinct civil and ecclesiastical parish systems. In London the Ecclesiastical Parishes sub-divided to better serve the needs of a growing population, while the Civil Parishes continued to be based on the same Ancient Parish areas.

For civil purposes, The Metropolis Management Act 1855 turned the parish area into a new Shoreditch District of the Metropolis, with the same boundaries as the parish. The London Government Act 1899 converted these areas into Metropolitan Boroughs, again based on the same boundaries, sometimes with minor rationalisations. The Borough's areas of Central Shoreditch, and were administered from Shoreditch Town Hall, which can still be seen on Old Street. It has been restored and is now run by the Shoreditch Town Hall Trust.

In 1965, Shoreditch was merged with Hackney and Stoke Newington to form the new London Borough of Hackney.

Shoreditch is home to the Baron Wei of Shoreditch, who lives in the area and sits as a Conservative and as part of the House of Lords. He was introduced on 3 June 2010.

The Hackney borough part of Shoreditch is part of the Hackney South and Shoreditch constituency, represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2005 by of the Labour Party and of the Co-operative Party

The eastern part of Shoreditch, in Tower Hamlets, lies within the constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow, represented since 2010 by of the Labour Party.

Notable local residents
  • , FRS (1800–1865), a pioneer of the
  • , actor and comedian
  • , actor and impresario: built ; buried in Shoreditch church
  • , actor in the Lord Chamberlain's Men, Shakespeare's own Company. Renowned for his performance of Shakespeare's greatest roles: Hamlet, Richard III, etc. Buried in the church.
  • William James Blacklock, British landscape artist, was born in Shoreditch in 1816
  • , curator & founder of Factual Nonsense; instrumental in the development of the area's art scene in the early 1990s; lived & died in Charlotte Road.
  • Luke Evans, Welsh singer, musical performer and film actor lives here
  • Thomas Fairchild, gardener, the first person to scientifically produce an artificial hybrid
  • , comedian, film and television actor
  • Paul Galvin, Irish fashion designer and former Gaelic footballer
  • , celebrity tattoo artist; clients include , Alexander McQueen, and
  • , cookbook author, teacher and chef specialising in the cuisines of the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa
  • , artist; instrumental in the development of the area's art scene in the early 1990s
  • , pianist, born in Shoreditch
  • , a famous male impersonator of the , was born here. Her father, William Emms, was a local comedian known as William King.
  • , Spanish model and actor
  • Marie Lloyd Jr., actress and composer notable for her impersonations of her mother, .
  • Christopher Marlowe, lived in , the southern continuation of Shoreditch High Street, and wrote plays for the Shoreditch theatres.
  • Hoxton Tom McCourt, influential in the late 1970s and early 1980s mod and oi/punk scenes and founder of the band, the 4-Skins, was born in Shoreditch in 1961.
  • Bill Meyer, printmaker and artist
  • , singer dubbed "the British Sinatra", famous for singing On Days Like These from the film The Italian Job and the title songs of the films and From Russia with Love
  • , T4 presenter
  • , surgeon, apothecary, geologist, paleontologist and political activist who worked on what would later be named Parkinson's disease
  • , TV presenter/socialite
  • , bare knuckle
  • , Henry VIII's jester; buried in Shoreditch church.
  • , graffiti artist and designer
  • , comedian. Shakespeare's is believed to be a homage to his memory. Buried in Shoreditch church.
  • , English actor
  • Andrew Weatherall, DJ, producer, and remixer
  • Nat Wei, Baron Wei, youngest non-hereditary peer ever upon entry to the House of Lords and government advisor on
  • , comedian, film and television actress was born there.



Shoreditch High Street station is near , on Bethnal Green Road. The station is served by London Overground () trains on the East London line, and is in London fare zone 1. Trains link the area directly to Dalston and Highbury & Islington to the northwest, whilst to the south, trains travel directly to major destinations like Canada Water, Clapham Junction, West Croydon, Crystal Palace, New Cross, Peckham and . Hoxton station is to the north of Shoreditch, on the same line.

There is a nearby Overground () station at Bethnal Green, with services towards Hackney Downs, Seven Sisters, Chingford, Enfield, and .

Liverpool Street ( ) and Old Street () tube stations are also nearby. Both stations are also on the network.

Until 2006, Shoreditch tube station was served by London Underground East London line trains. The line and station closed to make way for the London Overground.

provides all local bus services across the district: routes 8, 135, 205, 388, N8 and N205 on Great Eastern Street and Bishopsgate; routes 26, 35, 47, 48, 67, 78 and N26 on Shoreditch High Street; and routes 55, 149, 242, 243 and N55 on Old Street.

Two Transport for London (TfL) Cycleways pass through Shoreditch.

Cycle Superhighway 1 runs north-south along the western perimeter of the area, through the Old Street junction. The route is signposted, and links the area to and southbound, and to , , and Seven Sisters to the north.

Quietway 13 runs east-west through Shoreditch, primarily on quiet streets. The route is signposted, and runs from Finsbury in the City to the Regent's Canal near .

The Regent's Canal runs along the northernmost edge of the district, close to . The towpath is a shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists and runs unbroken from Angel in to near . Eastbound, the path links the area to Victoria Park and .

The London Cycle Hire Scheme operates in Shoreditch.

See also


External links

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