The East End of London has always been looked down on by those who live in the rest of the capital. Jack London's People Of the Abyss is just one of the many books written about the poverty, crime and suffering that has blighted the East End throughout the past. As what is now the East End spread out towards Essex, however, the picture has become very different. Many areas such as Bethnal Green, West Ham and Forest Gate were once small rural villages.Not only has the East End been a centre of poverty but it has also been where many of the worst disasters to occur in London have happened. Among the streets of small terraced houses, however, there are often areas of surprising beauty with parks that have survived from the middle ages and houses that were once lived in by a more affluent population. The East End has always been a contrast of rich and poor, mansion and slum, throughout history.
Michael Foley is a local author who has had a number of articles published in magazines such as Best of British, This England and The Great War. He has been writing for some time and has had many books published, mainly about the area where he lives and Essex and Military History. He lives in Romford.