10 September 2009
Bike Monopoly 3: Whitechapel Road
Whitechapel Road is a busy main road - the A11, in fact - running through London's East End, for about half a mile between Whitechapel High St and Mile End.
It's packed with shops and sprinkled with bike parking. The buildings ranging from the historic Bell Foundry (right, the oldest manufacturing company in Britain, dating back at least 450 years) to the grand East London Mosque. At the Mosque (below right), especially on Fridays, the faithful praise Allah, the most merciful; while if you tour the Foundry they'll tell you that in the past, a careless employee unfortunately inscribed a bell TO THE GLORY OF DOG.
At the western end, Osborn Road runs off north. Follow your nose here: it quickly becomes bustling and colourful Brick Lane, renowned for its Bangladeshi shops, and dozens and dozens of restaurants that sell curries built from garishly-coloured steel and plastic. Or perhaps they just taste that way. (We prefer Southall for spicy eats: better, cheaper, more varied.)
Just beyond the western end, by Aldgate East tube station, is Whitechapel Art Gallery (below). Entry is free and you can amble round the works on show. Be advised, before you start commenting knowledgeably about the witty postmodern use of urban service-culture semiotics, that the first gallery on the right as you go in is actually a restaurant and not an artwork.
Monopoly's Whitechapel Rd costs £60. What could this buy you there? A few feet away from Whitechapel Rd, on Fieldgate St, the New Tayyab restaurant is the one to head for if you want a fine curry experience. Sixty quid will get you a slap-up meal for three or four - it's bring your own, so you can economise on drinks. Just remember what bumpy East End streets do to cans of lager if transporting them here in your panniers, though.