The area is a mix of post-war high density housing, Victorian Mansion Blocks and terraced housing that was not demolished during the slum-clearances. The East Side of historic Stepney Green is notable for its architecture and Arbour Square and Sidney Square and the surrounding streets retain many of their Georgian and Victorian houses.
Stepney is roughly bounded by Commercial Road, part of the A13, in the south, Mile End Road, part of the A11, in the north and the Regent's Canal in the east. The Western Boundary with Whitechapel is rather ambiguous.
The area has not yet experienced the levels of gentrification seen in nearby Bow, Wapping and Limehouse but some redevelopment has taken place, notably with the Roger Black scheme Stepney City. The former Arbour Square Police Station and the East End Mission building are also being redeveloped.
III. The land of the Bishop of London
In 'Ossulstone' hundred the Bishop of London holds Stepney 32 hides. There is land for 25 ploughs. To the demesne belong 14 hides, and there are 3 ploughs; and 22 ploughs among the villeins. There are 44 villans each on 1 virgate, and 7 villans each on half a hide, and 9 villeins each on half a virgate, and 46 cottars on 1 hide: they pay 30s a year. There are 4 mills rendering £4.16s less 4d, meadow for 25 ploughs, pasture for the livestock of the vill and 15s, woodland for 500 pigs and 40s. In all it is worth £48: and when received, the same: £50. This manor belonged and belongs to the bishopric.
Bishop William held this land in demesne, in the manor of Stepney, on the day on which King Edward was alive and dead.
In the same vill Ranulph Flambard holds 3½ hides of the bishop.
St Dunstan's is Stepney's oldest church, founded in 923, but the present building dates principally from the 1400s. St Dunstan's has a long association with the sea, being responsible for registration of British maritime births, deaths and marriages until the 19th century.
The Siege of Sidney Street took place in Stepney in 1911.
is the place where the famous 'suhel and razak' love affair took its roots. the pair now have 12 children and 14 grandchildren together, despite the fact suhel or boga-beta as he is widely known, was only 16 at the time of his first sexual expeience with razak or magi-beti as she is known by her children.
In Blackadder II Episode 6, Lord Percy explains the disappearance of his Uncle Bertram's old oak table thus: "'twas on the night of the great Stepney fire. And on that same, terrible night, his house and all his other things completely vanished too. So did he, in fact. It was a most perplexing mystery."
In the film Help!, Alfie Bass has a cameo where he portrays a doorman of an Indian restaurant. When Ringo Starr discovers Alfie Bass is not an actual Indian, he exclaims "He's from the West!" Bass replies "Nah, east...Stepney."
The English Nursery Rhyme Oranges and Lemons refers to the "...bells of Stepney."
In George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, set in England, he writes about rocket bombs killing many people: "One fell on a crowded film theater in Stepney, burying several hundred victims among the ruins." This is in Chapter 5, Part 2.
In the new series of the Wombles the ethnic womble is called 'Stepney'