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The London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets - A very brief history

The London Borough of TowCoat of Armser Hamlets as it is known today Council logocame into being in 1965. It was the result of merging three smaller boroughs; Bethnal Green, Poplar, and Stepney into one larger unit.

There have been people living in the area for centuries, long before the Romans came and founded the City of London, which is just a short distance away. It is not known for sure whether this was a permanent stone age settlement or not. The soil though, would have been ideal for farming and so makes it more than likely that they were actually the first local residents.

Before the Romans

Hamlets near the Tower

There is obviously no written history for this period in time and very little archaeological evidence has survived or been found. It is, according to Kevin Kerrigan in his ‘History of Tower Hamlets’, a fact that around 200 years prior to the Roman invasion of 43 AD the area was part of the territory captured by the Belgic tribes. They had invaded in the second century BC.

When the Romans came they chased these tribes to their capital town of Catuvellauni (now Colchester) where they defeated them. The town later became a colony for veteran Roman legionnaires who stayed here.

Christianity slowly became the dominant religion over the years and the church started to become rich as well as powerful. As the wealth of the church grew so did the areas of land in it’s possession. The manor that included present day Tower Hamlets and Hackney came under possession of the church in the form of the Bishops of London.

 In 1078 William the Conqueror started the beginnings of the Tower of London with the construction of the White Tower to keep an eye on the City. In later years it was the settlements, or hamlets around the Tower that provided the soldiers to man the fortress. These ‘Tower Hamlets’ covered the area of today’s borough and a part of Hackney.

Tower Hamlets lies easLondon with Tower Hamlets in redt of the City of London and north of the Thames in East London. Hackney lies to the north and the River Lea acts as the border with Newham. The Isle of Dogs is formed from the entrances docks and the large meander of the Thames.

Tower Hamlets covers a large part of the East End and includes the redeveloped Docklands region.

The borough had a population of 304,900 in June 2016 including one of the highest Muslim populations in the country and has more than 40 mosques and Islamic centres including The East London Mosque one of the biggest Islamic centres in Europe. The population has doubled in the past 30 years and is predicted to rise to 364,500 by 2026.

Population explosion

Tower of London

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