The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Events Archive

Design and Immigration in Whitechapel Walk




Design and Immigration in Whitechapel Walk

Saturday 9 July 2022   

Start/Place: 2 pm/Whitechapel Underground Station, Whitechapel Road entrance

Finish/Place: 5.30 pm/Tower Hill Station (tube and DLR)

Peter Guillery will lead a walk to celebrate the publication of the Survey of London’s Whitechapel  volumes. He will show us some striking buildings, such as St Boniface, that tell the continuing story of immigration.

In the early twentieth century Whitechapel was a place of hostels, clothing factories, warehouses and synagogues. Now it is transformed by new hotels, City overspill offices, ‘luxury flats’ and London’s largest mosque (by attendance).

Immigration has been a constant story, as represented not only by the synagogues (none in use) and the East London Mosque (1982–5), but also by the Jagonari Women’s Centre (1984–7), the Shaheed Minar monument in Altab Ali Park (1998–9), and St Boniface German Roman Catholic Church (1959–60), with, inside, the Hans Feibusch mural paintings (1973) installed in 2021.

The Co-operative Wholesale Society had its London headquarters in Prescot Street designed by L. G. Ekins in a striking essay in Expressionist brick (1930–3, extended 1957–8).

Other highlights include Swanlea Secondary School (1991–3) by Colin Stansfield Smith with Percy Thomas, Shapla Primary School (1985–7) by the GLC Architects Department, David Adjaye’s Whitechapel Idea Store (2001–5) and the new Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) Whitechapel station.

Peter Guillery worked for the Survey of London for many years up to 2021 and was editor of the Whitechapel volumes that will be published by Yale University Press in late June.

Members:  £23  Non-Members: £27

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The Twentieth Century Society is a registered charity, no 1110244

The Twentieth Century Society is an IHBC (Institute of Historic Building conservation) recognised CPD provider.

Above: St Boniface German Catholic Church, exterior; Photograph: Louis Berk / Alamy