In 2005 London was awarded the right to host the Olympic Games, and the central location of this extravaganza was to be Stratford. Overnight, this largely unnoticed part of the metropolis was thrust into the global spotlight. But prior to the arrival of the Olympics, Stratford was far from being an obscure outpost on the fringe of the city. It had played a key role at the heart of the ‘new’ East London, an area of huge significance in London’s recent history.
This isn’t the much-documented East End of the Krays, Jack the Ripper and the Bow Bells.
This is London ‘over the border’, East of the River Lea, and it is arguably far more important than its much-mythologised neighbour. For here was London’s industrial heartland: the railways, docks and factories that altered the landscape, both physically and mentally.
Over the Border: The Other East End tells the story of Stratford and its surrounding areas from the 11th century to the present day. It is the story of how the dreams of the few affected the lives of the many, dreams of wealth and industry, of technological advance and artistic inspiration.
It is the story of the dreamers and the people caught up in those dreams: of triumphs large and small, of great achievement and greater toil, of poverty, disease and murder. In looking at the twists and turns of this part of East London’s history, we can see that a new narrative is being written for the post-industrial era: one set to remould this landscape yet again, and perhaps provide it with a new identity.
Over The Border: The Other East End was released on July 16th 2012.