The borough was formed in 1965, and took this historic name, through amalgamation of the former metropolitan boroughs of Bethnal Green, Poplar and Stepney. These boroughs were the heart of the East End of London.
The constituencies for the next election will be:
The Borough is a part of the London constituency for election to the European Parliament. The political history of the borough has been characterised as leaning heavily to left-wing parties, often explained by the migrant minorities that have lived within it. In the main, this has meant large Labour majorities in terms of national and local elections, although other left-wing parties have won seats including Communists and more recently the Respect Unity coalition.
Previous election results are as follows:
|Overall control||Conservative||Labour||Lib Dem||Others|
The Isle of Dogs is formed from the lock entrances to the former West India Docks and the largest current meander of the River Thames and the southern part of the borough forms a part of the historic flood plain of the River Thames; and but for the Thames Barrier and other flood prevention works would be vulnerable to flooding.
The Regent's Canal enters the borough from Hackney to meet the River Thames at Limehouse Basin. A stretch of the Hertford Union Canal leads from the Regent's canal, at a basin in the north of Mile End to join the River Lee at Old Ford. A further canal, Limehouse Cut, London's oldest, leads from locks at Bromley-by-Bow to Limehouse Basin. Most of the canal tow-paths are open to both pedestrians and cyclists.
Victoria Park was formed by Act of Parliament, and administered by the LCC and its successor authority the GLC. Since the latter authority's abolition, the park has been administered by Tower Hamlets.
The London Borough of Tower Hamlets forms the core of the East End, it lies east of the medieval walled City of London and north of the River Thames, use of the term "East End", in a pejorative sense began in the late 19th century, as the expansion of the population of London led to extreme overcrowding throughout the area and a concentration of poor people and immigrants in the districts that make it up. These problems were exacerbated with the construction of St Katharine Docks (1827) and the central London railway termini (1840–1875) that caused the clearance of former slums and rookeries, with many of the displaced people moving into the area. Over the course of a century, the East End became synonymous with poverty, overcrowding, disease and criminality.
The East End developed rapidly during the 19th century. Originally it was an area characterised by villages clustered around the City walls or along the main roads, surrounded by farmland, with marshes and small communities by the River, serving the needs of shipping and the Royal Navy. Until the arrival of formal docks, shipping was required to land its goods in the Pool of London, but industries related to construction, repair, and victualling of ships flourished in the area from Tudor times. The area attracted large numbers of rural people looking for employment. Successive waves of foreign immigration began with Huguenot refugees creating a new extramural suburb in Spitalfields in the 17th century. They were followed by Irish weavers, Ashkenazi Jews and, in the 20th century, Bangladeshi. Many of these immigrants worked in the clothing industry. The abundance of semi- and unskilled labour led to low wages and poor conditions throughout the East End. This brought the attentions of social reformers during the mid-18th century and led to the formation of unions and workers associations at the end of the century. The radicalism of the East End contributed to the formation of the Labour Party and demands for the enfranchisement of women.
Official attempts to address the overcrowded housing began at the beginning of the 20th century under the London County Council. World War II devastated much of the East End, with its docks, railways and industry forming a continual target, leading to dispersal of the population to new suburbs, and new housing being built in the 1950s.. During the war, in the Boroughs making up Tower Hamlets a total of 2,221 civilians were killed, and 7,472 were injured, with 46,482 houses destroyed and 47,574 damaged. The closure of the last of the East End docks in the Port of London in 1980 created further challenges and led to attempts at regeneration and the formation of the London Docklands Development Corporation. The Canary Wharf development, improved infrastructure, and the Olympic Park mean that the East End is undergoing further change, but some of its parts continue to contain some of the worst poverty in Britain.
The unusual Green Bridge, constructed in 2000, links sections of Mile End Park, that are divided by the Mile End Road. The bridge contains gardens, water features and trees around the path.
Tower Hamlets has one of the smallest indigenous populations of the boroughs of Britain. The main ethnic groups are the White British (42.9%) and Bangladeshis which constitute 33% of the population. Black African/Caribbean's constitute 7%, with a mainly large Somalian community.
The main religions followed or practiced in Tower Hamlets are Christianity and Islam. There are 75,783 people who identified themselves as Christians (38.6%), and 71,389 people who are Muslims (36.4%). The Muslim community are mainly of Bangladeshis and Somalians. The Muslim population in the borough is the largest out of all authorities in England & Wales.
The population of the Bangladeshi community counted on the census was 65,553. Bangladeshis are more likely to have large families living together. The number of Bangladeshis aged under 18 is almost double the proportion for all Londoners. Most Bangladeshi children in London were born in the UK, while most adults were born in Bangladesh, 70% of the Bangladeshi community are below the age of 30, where 40% of these are aged 0-15 and 9% are aged 16-19.
The main language of the borough is English. Other languages include, Bengali or Sylheti, and Somali, also Chinese and Vietnamese. There are also many other languages used by the people from many other different cultures.
Mile End Stadium, within Mile End Park hosts an athletics stadium, and facilities for football and basketball. Two football clubs, Beaumont Athletic F.C. and Sporting Bengal United F.C. are based there.
A leisure centre including a swimming pool at Mile End Stadium was completed in 2006. Other pools are located at St Georges, Limehouse and York Hall, in Bethnal Green. York Hall is also a regular venue for boxing tournaments, and in May 2007 a public spa - Spa London was opened in the building's renovated Turkish Baths. Official London Spa website