1795 An Account of the Hamlet of Poplar, in Middlesex
From 'The Universal magazine' for June 1795. Poplar at this time being a rural hamlet, this is largely a description of John Perry's shipyard and wet dock at Blackwall which was soon to be converted into the East India Docks.
1806 Monthly Commercial Report
Short article from the 'Monthly Magazine', September 1806, on the official opening of the East India Docks in Blackwall. Preceded by a short report on the completion of the project in July.
1825 The Brutality of night-constables and watchmen...
An article on the death of Anne Ashley (probably a prostitute) due to the negligent treatment of the night-constable of St. Matthew's, Bethnal Green. Published in 1825 but the source of the article is not given.
1826 Riots and outrages in Bethnal Green
Two articles from 1826 on a remarkable outbreak of lawlessness in the East End that warranted the intervention of the Home Secretary, Mr. Peel.
1839 Marriages at Stepney Church
The author casts a satirical eye on wedding customs, as practised at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, in 1839: an unfortunate young couple caught by the bride's parents, couples married en masse, tars and doxies and bigamous marriages. The source of the article was not given.
1844 Church of St. Bartholomew the Less, Bethnal Green
Short article on the newly-built church from the 'Illustrated London News', 8th June 1844.
1849 'And ye shall walk in silk attire'
Henry Mayhew visits some silkweavers in the Spitalfields area to see the effects of the depression in trade. The article was published in 'London Characters' in 1881 but appears to have been written in 1849.
1851 The Camden-Town Railway
Article from 'The Illustrated London News', 15th November 1851, p. 603-604, describing a journey from Fenchurch Street Station to Camden. The Tower Hamlets area as well as areas outside it, such as Homerton and Hackney, are described.
1851-56 Jack alive in London
Chapter IV of 'Gaslight and daylight' by George Augustus Sala, in which he heads east in search of sailors. Although the edition from which this was taken was published by Chatto and Windus in 1872, the article was written between 1851 and 1856.
1857 Ratcliffe-Highway
Chapter from 'The night side of London' by J. Ewing Ritchie, describing the Highway's sailors, 'crimps' and prostitutes.
  Down the Highway
Article from the 'East London Observer,' no. 4 (Saturday, October 10, 1857), where a 'Taxpayer of Forty Years Standing' complains bitterly and colourfully about the failure of the police to control the behaviour of prostitutes on the Ratcliff Highway and 'frightful scenes of debauchery and vice.'
1858 Rag Fair, Petticoat Lane : the debatable lands in London
Article from 'The Builder' (3rd July 1858), describing the famous market and the conditions of the houses around it.
1859 The penny gaff
J. Ewing Ritchie visits a cheap theatre in Shoreditch in a chapter from 'Here and there in London,' 1859.
  Rag Fair
Another chapter from 'Here and there in London' (1859) by J. Ewing Ritchie describing the Old Clothes Exchange in Houndsditch and the Jews who traded there.
1861 Ragged London in 1861
Some chapters from John Hollingshead's survey of poverty in London after a 'winter of unexampled severity' in 1860/61, published in 1861. Covers Whitechapel, St. George's in the East, Bethnal Green and Shoreditch.
1862 Whitechapel Road on a Saturday night
An article describing the scene in the Whitechapel market one Saturday night, the women shopping, the quack doctors peddling their wares, a waxworks and a freakshow. (It was around this time, incidentally, that John Merrick, 'the Elephant Man', was exhibited in a shop opposite the London Hospital in Whitechapel Road.) The cutting I took this from is dated 1862 but the source isn't identified.
1863 Dwellings of the Poor in Bethnal-Green
Article from 'The Illustrated London News', 24th October 1863, on housing conditions in the area.
  More Revelations of Bethnal Green
Article from 'The Builder', Vol. XXI, no. 1082 (31st October 1863), about the appalling housing conditions in the Old Nichol area of Bethnal Green. The slum was cleared in the 1890's and the Boundary Street Estate built in its place.
1864 Murder on the North London Railway
Two news reports from the 'Illustrated London News' of July 1864 on what is said to have been the first ever murder on a train.
1866 Bethnal Green fever haunts again
Inquest report from the 'East London Observer,' (Saturday, 17th February 1866), p. 2, on the death of a woman and child, with descriptions of the terrible conditions in which they lived and the workings (or rather failings) of the Poor Law.
  An evening at a Whitechapel 'gaff'
Article reprinted in the 'East London Observer,' (Saturday, March 10th, 1866), p. 2, in which James Greenwood, the 'Amateur Casual,' visits an East End theatre. East Enders at play instead of the usual poverty and disease.
  Pauperism in Bethnal-green
Article from the 'East London Observer,' no. 445 (Saturday, March 31, 1866), which looks at how the local Board of Guardians were applying the Poor Law in Bethnal Green.
  The Female Casual at Whitechapel. Pt. 1
Article from the 'East London Observer,' (Saturday, September 1st 1866), p. 2, in which a female correspondent describes her own experience of a night in the casual (temporary) ward of the St. George-in-the-East workhouse.
  The Female Casual at Whitechapel. Pt.2
Article from the 'East London Observer,' (Saturday, September 8th 1866), p. 2, in which the female correspondent describes a night in the casual (temporary) ward of the Whitechapel workhouse.
1871 Homes in the east of London : a visit to 'Wapping island'
Article from 'The Builder' (7th January 1871) looking at housing conditions in Wapping - not, of course, a true island but cut off by the London Docks.
  Homes in the east of London : a fresh visit to Bethnal-green
Article from 'The Builder' (28th January 1871) looking at the scandalous housing conditions in the area.
1872 Sight-seeing in Bethnal Green
Article from 'All the year round', 20 July 1872, on the opening of the Bethnal Green Museum. It's notable for some nice observation of the crowd including the local expert (Bethnal Green was a centre of the furniture industry) who thinks the Venetian thrones are 'just done up expensive'.
Down East
The West End takes a look at the East End (accompanied by a policeman, of course) in this article from 'The Metropolitan', 14th September 1872. A look at the nightlife of the East End from a German dancehall to a 'penny gaff' in Whitechapel.
1875 East and West London
Selections from a book by the Rev. Harry Jones of St. George's-in-the-East on his impressions of East London, subtitled 'Being notes of common life and pastoral work in Saint James's, Westminster, and in Saint George's-in-the-East'. Published in 1875.
1876 East London Industries
W. Glenny Crory gives a highly approving description of the industries in the East End. Currently, only the Preface, Introduction and the chapters on Jute Manufacturing and The Manufacture of Matches are available here. Others will be added gradually.
  At a sugar baking
James Greenwood describes a visit to a sugar refinery in Backchurch Lane, Whitechapel, in a chapter from 'The wilds of London', published in 1876.
1877 Sunday morning in Petticoat-lane
Description of the famous market in 1877. (As the article says at the end, the street itself is now properly known as Middlesex Street.) Source of article unknown.
1881 The curiosities of drunkenness
An anecdotal study by Henry Mayhew of the reasons for drinking - or not drinking - alcohol among the coal-whippers of the Pool of London. Published in 'London Characters', 1881, but probably written earlier.
1883 An opium smoke in Tiger Bay
Essay from 'In Strange Company : being the experiences of a roving correspondent' by James Greenwood, published in 1883, describing a visit to an opium den in St. George's-in-the-East. And, yes, he inhales.
1888 White Slavery in London
Annie Besant's famous article on conditions in the Bryant and May Match Factory which triggered the Matchgirls' Strike of 1888.
  The Matchgirls' Strike of 1888 : news reports
Reports from the East London Observer, a weekly newspaper, on the strike at the Bryant & May match factory.
  Annie Besant and the match-girls' strike of 1888
Annie Besant's own account of the matchgirls' strike, taken from 'Annie Besant : an autobiography,' 2nd ed., [1893?], pp. 331-8
  On Blackwall Pier
Anecdotal article from 'East London Observer', (Saturday, July 21st 1888), taking a tragi-comic look at East End life.
  An autumn evening in Whitechapel
Article from 'Littell's Living Age', 3 November 1888, on Whitechapel in the wake of the Jack the Ripper murders.
1889 The 'Continental Sunday' in England : sketches from the life in Petticoat Lane
Article from 'Pall Mall Budget' on the market in, what is properly called, Middlesex Street.
A contemporary description of the area by Arthur G. Morrison published in 'The Palace Journal', (24 April 1889).
1890 A Curious Burial
Article from 'The East London Observer', 11th January 1890, on the funeral of Ah Sing, a Chinese inhabitant of St. George's-in-the-East who, reputedly, ran the opium den visited by Charles Dickens before he wrote 'The mystery of Edwin Drood'.
1894-5 East London : sketches of Christian work and workers
Twelve chapters (of which two chapters are currently available and the others will be added gradually) describing the work of the churches, missions, and settlements in the East End, written by Henry Walker and published by the Religious Tract society in 1896.
1895 An East End vicar and his work
Article, written circa 1895, about Revd. Daw and his work in the parish of St. Mary, Spital Square.
1896 To check the survival of the unfit
A dose of social darwinism from a Bethnal Green vicar interviewed in 'The London', 12th March 1896. The Rev. Osborne Jay was vicar of Holy Trinity Church in the Old Nichol, also known as the Jago.
1905 In Limehouse and the Isle of Dogs
Chapter XI of 'Off the track in London' by George R. Sims, published by Jarrold & Sons in 1911. Originally published in 'The Strand' magazine in July 1905. In it, he visits Millwall, China Town, Salmon Lane and other places in the area. The area has changed so completely that this has an almost legendary feel to it.
1911 In Alien-Land
Chapter I of 'Off the track in London' by George R. Sims, published by Jarrold & Sons in 1911, in which he explores the Jewish East End, visiting Wentworth Street and Brick Lane, The Spitalfields Great Synagogue, and other streets in Whitechapel and Spitalfields.
  In Bethnal Green
Chapter VIII of 'Off the track in London' by George R. Sims, published by Jarrold & Sons in 1911, in which he visits the Sunday markets in Bethnal Green, an animal dealer, and a hand-weaver.
  Round St. George in the East
Chapter X of 'Off the track in London' by George R. Sims, published by Jarrold & Sons in 1911, in which he visits the Highway, Cable Street, Prince's Square, Wellclose Square, and other parts of the parish..
1924 Poplar - apart from politics
Article from 'The Nineteenth Century', April 1924, about conditions in Poplar in the 1920's.
  Bethnal Green
Article from 'The Nineteenth Century' (June 1924) about conditions around Green Street (now the western end of Roman Road).