Brick Lane just north of Cheshire Street

Location 2

The old weavers’ houses on the north side of Sclater Street (4) and near the Cheshire Street junction with Brick Lane are 18th Century commercial tenement buildings behind their rebuilt 19th Century frontages. 125 Brick Lane was rebuilt in 1778 with weavers’ workshops on the upper floors. Here on the south wall there is a fine sculptured plaque, set within a classical frame and inscribed ‘This is Sclater Street 1778’.

Sclater Street (4) was also the centre of a live bird market from the time of the Huguenots onwards. Here were more tall rows of weavers’ tenements on both sides, but now only numbers 70-74 survive further west. Brick Lane Market (3) now thrives here on Sundays.

Nearby, the extensive Bishopsgate Goods Yard (6) was originally built in 1840 by the Eastern Counties Railway to serve the Bishopsgate Goods Station on Commercial Street. The station has now mostly gone and the site will be reused for a mixed use development including a dramatic new park; the new Shoreditch Station is the first phase of this. However, the historic Braithwaite Viaduct survives and together with an arcaded wall on Sclater Street will be incorporated into the new development.

Commercial Street (8) and the area to the west of the Old Truman Brewery is Victorian in character and has a diverse mix of industrial, residential and commercial buildings. The original street layout was influenced by the railway cutting off the north of the area. Commercial Street itself, created in the 1840s, also cuts through the area from the south-east. However, the quality of the Victorian commercial warehouse buildings, tenements, the former police station, Commercial Inn and more recent mixed-use development has maintained its well-built urban character.

St Matthew’s Church (5) in St Matthews Row, designed by architect George Dance, was completed in 1746 to serve the newly created parish of Bethnal Green. In a classical style with prominent tower and arch windows, it was badly damaged in the Blitz, but rebuilt in 1958. Nearby Cheshire Street forms part of a different pattern of streets, running east and west of Brick Lane, characterized by more unified groups of buildings. The grand terrace at 2-38 Cheshire Street is a good example of this, built in 1872 it is 3 storeys high with mansard roof and was excellently refurbished in 1991 with high quality shopfronts.

Brick Lane and the streets around are now all protected by Conservation Area status.