Zangwill’s Spitalfields

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Zangwill’s Spitalfields is an audio-visual walking tour of the historic Spitalfields area of London’s East End. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of nineteenth-century London as you uncover Spitalfields’ forgotten past with Victorian novelist Israel Zangwill.

In the 1890s, Spitalfields was dilapidated and overcrowded, scrutinized by journalists and stalked by Jack the Ripper. It was also a vibrant working-class neighbourhood, home to a large population of Jewish immigrants. Zangwill’s Spitalfields will take you on a journey into the heart of the London ghetto through the eyes of an insider — local novelist Israel Zangwill, the Jewish Dickens. Listening to his lively, witty prose, discover the dramas, debates and dilemmas that shaped the lives of Spitalfields’ residents over a century ago. As you explore the neighbourhood you’ll find traces of Victorian lives that still linger in the streets.

Visit a soup kitchen, a school, a residential house, a garment workshop, a synagogue, a market and a tenement block. At each site you’ll hear from Zangwill and other novelists and journalists, as well as rabbis, tailors, political protesters, market traders and schoolchildren. You’ll also hear archive audio from Spitalfields’ past. The locations are brought to life with an array of evocative images including archive photographs, rare documents, advertisements and museum artefacts.

Each numbered pip on the map corresponds to a site on the walk. Turn on your GPS to find your location on the map and navigate to the sites on the walk. Tap a pip on the map and your device will play an audio-visual guide to that site. Pinch to expand the map and images. You can also scroll through the images by swiping the slider at the bottom of the screen. You can visit the sites in any order but following the numbered order is recommended. You can also listen to the soundtrack and view the images from any location.

Zangwill’s Spitalfields was created from original research by literary historian Dr Nadia Valman, who wrote, produced and narrates the app. Nadia lectures in the Department of English at Queen Mary, University of London and researches the cultural history of London’s East End.

Zangwill’s Spitalfields is a collaboration between Dr Nadia Valman, the Jewish Museum London and Soda Ltd. The app was funded by the Innovation Fund, Queen Mary University of London.

Text © Nadia Valman 2016

Image © Jewish Museum London, Museum of London, London Metropolitan Archives, Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, Survey of London, LSE Archives

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This app is free.