Mile End, East London.
For me, a place I only ever went through, on the tube, en route to Upton Park, to see the happy Hammers. The other day I went there to give a talk at Queen Mary, University of London. That reminded me of the history of England I’ve been reading recently. Going right back to 1381, Mile End is where King Richard II, still a young lad aged 14, rode out to confront Wat Tyler, leader of the Peasants’ Revolt. It was also where people’s armies congregated, during the time of Henry VIII, to organise for the possibility of resisting a French invasion. There was no need, but paranoia was high.
What does this show? Knowing your history brings context to so many places. Can you imagine something so momentous happening in this place today?