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on 7 February 2009
An interesting and revealing insight into the social history of the poorer areas of London in times gone by.
Well worth dipping into this book!
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on 17 March 2013
A well written and fascinating insight to the history of an area steeped with notorious happenings. Whether just interested in the history of London or more background information on Ripper territory its a super read !
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on 21 November 2014
fantastic read. I love social history and this is hugely readable run down of the factors which shaped the east end of London, from first inhabitants to late 20th century. the author really brings to life how these changes impacted on the lives and work of the people who lived in the area. I've recommended it to several people.
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on 22 June 2014
An extremely well researched and overall well written account of a small part of the East-End of London. A book about place over time; drawing on local people and stories and setting them in a national context. It does give you a sense of the place and you are left with evocative thoughts and memories created for you by Fiona Rule. Two minor points - she does seem to take time to develop her style. The beginning of the book has short chapters composed of short sentences - which makes the text quite jerky to read. Then there are the occasional clunky assertions - the worst was 'that for poor people their menfolk returning injured from the Great war was worse than them being killed' (p195). She also says 'the arrival of the eastern european jews had made an already bad situation worse as non-jews created their own ghetto...' (p166). These sentences, I suspect, do not convey the intended message. On the other hand - she provides a concise and compelling description of the Jack the Ripper incidents - the best I've ever read.

To take, what appears to be a fairly uninspiring area of London and one sentence ' the worst street in London' and to diligently and creatively research it and from that to create an attention grabbing, absorbing 217 page book is remarkable. An excellent book.
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on 17 January 2011
I couldn't put this book down once I started reading it.

It is brilliantly written, incredibly well researched (though I'd have liked to have seen more photographs). I have long been interested in Victorian London, the Ripper murders etc, and this book gave an incredibly detailed background into the lives of the people that lived in the Worst Street in London - Dorset Street. The author brings names to life (especially if you are familiar with the Ripper murders). One gobsmacking chapter, devoted to Millers Court (just off Dorset Street), where the last ripper victim was murdered in her room, reveals that a couple of years after the horrific murder, a journalist visited the latest occupant of the room, only to find that the landlord had simply rented out the room again, without cleaning it ! Huge black bloodstains still adorned the walls, whilst the latest occupant - completely unfazed - just put up with it.

Loved the book. Highly recommend it. Buy it, you won't be disappointed.
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on 3 January 2014
I liked all the historical background about the waves of immigration, the Huguenots who brought their silk-weaving skills, followed by the Irish escaping from the Potato Famine, the Russian & East European Jews fleeing from the Pogroms. I was interested to learn
about William III imposing the ban on importation of wine & spirits from France, giving rise to the smuggling trade. The McCarthy
family's rise from abject poverty to being holders of a substantial property portfolio & their music hall & Hollywood connections also interested me. Fiona Rule wove a colourful account of life in London's East End at other periods in history.
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on 30 March 2013
Very atmospheric and evocative, this book makes you feel you were there, and invokes a kind of nostalgia for something you never even witnessed. Very readable, I read this at one sitting, and would enjoy reading it again.
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on 8 December 2012
Brilliant book which captures the life of Dorset st Whitechapel. I would recommend this book to others for a history of Whitechapel.
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on 20 July 2013
Very good book but a bit too much on Jack the Ripper. I suppose that as the book is about Dorset Street the writer would have had to bring Jack the Ripper into it. Also I felt annoyed that she said the landlords of the slums did a service to the people by opening up shops for the tenents to buy provisions but these were overpriced so the landlords were only doing a service to themselves.
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on 22 September 2015
Love the way the author tells this history as if you are sitting opposite her. You can absorb all of the excitement and sadness from her as she tells you everything about this area. Especially like the way it runs historically, so many books run subject after subject not in any historical order. Easy to read and incredibly interesting.
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