Although no one is actually sure where the name Bethnal Green comes from, the original name for this part of London “Blithehale” and “Blythenhale”, could’ve meant happy corner, which is lovely, I think you’ll agree! This area of London was actually just a hamlet for many years, so Bethnal Green has come a long way from the sleepy and quiet hamlet it once was.
Bethnal Green actually had some fame in Tudor times. There was a popular ballad called “The Beggar of Bethnal Green”. It told the story of a poor local who managed to give his daughter quite a lot of money for her wedding. Some folk stories were that the beggar was actually the son of a famous and rich Norman knight. Some also say that the Blind Beggar, a very famous pub in Bethnal Green, is the site where the beggar asked for the money, and so the pub is named after him.
Of course, the Blind Beggar is known for many things, but it is actually where the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth made his first speech. It was also the site of one of the Kary’s most notorious adventures. Bethnal Green is steeped in history with viable connections to the Tudors, WW2 and a lot more!