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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
The worst street in London
The so called worst street in London was Dorset Street.
Location: Dorset Street, Spitalfields, London
Description: Fiona Rule's book The Worst Street in London chronicles the history of this much changed street.
Dorset Street was situated at the heart of the Spitalfields rookery in the East End of London. Locally, it was sometimes known as Dosset Street or Dossen Street because of the large number of doss-houses.
13 Miller's Court in Dorset Street was the scene of the murder of Mary Jane Kelly by Jack the Ripper on November 9, 1888.
Dorset Street was renamed Duval Street on 28 June 1904. In 1920 the Corporation of London purchased Spitalfields Market, and demolished the whole of the north side of Duval Street, including Miller's Court.
Fiona Rule wrote: Dorset Street emerged in the 17th century as a hub of silk weaver's houses. They were then converted into lodging houses, which became the scourge of Spitalfields.
The silk weavers started moving out to Essex and the area became quickly overrun with people. The book title came from an article in the Daily Mail in 1901. [Journalist] Frederick Mackenzie called it the 'Worst Street in London' much to the annoyance of its residents. But the reality of the street was as bad as its reputation.