Living in Stepney: area guide to homes, schools and transport

Average costs: buying and renting

1  Flat £404,000 or £1,571 a month

2  Flat £612,000 or £1,940 a month

3  House £998,000 or £2,190 a month

4  House £1.18 m or £2,913 a month

Rightmove I April 2017

A top state secondary school, the award-winning regeneration of a tired council estate, a much-visited city farm with sheep, goats, chickens and ferrets, and a church which can date its ministry back to the 10th century are the defining features of today’s Stepney.

 This east London neighbourhood has over the centuries been moulded by waves of immigration, from France — the silk-weaving Huguenots — and from Ireland, Eastern Europe and more recently from Bangladesh. A third of Stepney was destroyed during the war as German bombers headed for the docks, and Sixties council tower blocks grew where streets of terrace housing once stood.

 Stepney’s centre of gravity is St Dunstan and All Saints church in Stepney High Street. Surrounded by the greenery of its churchyard and roads of pretty, flat-fronted early Victorian houses built by The Mercers’ Company, a leading City livery company, the church is the oldest in the East End. This is a resting place for sailors and sea captains. 

On the opposite side of the road, Stepney City Farm is where local families get a taste of the countryside, buy farm produce and visit the Saturday farmers’ market.  Sir John Cass (1661-1718) was a City merchant and MP whose educational legacy is seen throughout the East End with schools and colleges including the Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design in Aldgate and the Cass Business School in the City. In Stepney the Sir John Cass’s Foundation and Red Coat School is a top-performing state comprehensive that is judged “outstanding” by Ofsted.

Much of Stepney was rebuilt after the destruction wrought during the Second World War Blitz that wiped out so many of the buildings. This has left a legacy of post-war council housing now reaching the end of its useful life. The regeneration of the Ocean Estate has won housing industry plaudits and covers an area stretching half a mile from Mile End Road to Aston Street. Over the past seven years, a consortium including Tower Hamlets council, housing association East Thames and Bellway Homes has built 800 new homes and refurbished a further 1,000.

The new blocks are arranged around traditional roads with landscaped courtyards , while more than 376 trees and 7,000 shrubs have been planted. Homes in the final phase, which saw three tower blocks demolished, will be available early next year.

Set along Mile End Road and Commercial Road, Stepney’s main streets, some pockets of Georgian houses survive. Of these, Albert Gardens, south of Commercial Road in the Albert Gardens conservation area, is particularly pretty and well preserved. This conservation area also takes in Arbour Square, where a three-bedroom house is currently for sale for £1.4 million. 

There are streets of pretty, flat-fronted two- and three-storey early Victorian houses in Stepney’s other conservation areas, which include Carlton Square, north of Mile End Road; Ford Square and Sidney Square conservation area, south of Whitechapel Road, and York Square — also known as the Mercers’ Estate — north of Commercial Road close to Limehouse rail and DLR station. 

Stepney has a few warehouse conversions but it is also a good place to look for former Right-to-Buy flats on the neighbourhood’s many estates of social housing.New-build apartments on the regenerated Ocean Estate include two-bedroom homes for £515,000 and three-bedroom flats for £675,000.

 What’s new?

The final phase of the regeneration of the Ocean Estate has seen three council tower blocks in Aston Street demolished, to replace 120 homes with 225 new flats, comprising 92 for affordable rent, 104 for private sale and 29 for shared ownership.

They will be available early next year and housing association East Thames is taking expressions of interest. Visit or call 0300 303 7333.Titanium Point is a block of 72 flats in The Guinness Partnership’s Sutton Wharf development in Palmers Road. Five remain, with two or three bedrooms, priced from £645,000 to £665,000. Call Keatons on 020 8981 7788.

Help to Buy is available at St Clements the redevelopment of the old St Clements Hospital site in Bow Road. The development is a mix of converted hospital buildings and new build, and prices start at £445,000 for a one-bedroom flat and £600,000 for a two-bedroom flat. There is a two bedroom converted lodge house for sale at £999,995. Call 020 3532 2492.


Queen Mary University of London is a big presence in Mile End Road and many students choose to live within walking distance, which makes Stepney a popular area for students and young professional renters alike. 

Keatons’ Joe Harvey says rental levels are currently hard to predict; some have been declining, while others have remained steady, so the message to tenants is to bargain hard.


Stepney is in E1, the central postcode that stretches from Aldgate to Bow taking in Whitechapel, Shoreditch and Spitalfields on the way. On its eastern edge Stepney strays into E3, the Bow postcode.

Best roads

Arbour Square has early Victorian four-storey houses arranged around a well-maintained garden square.

Up and coming

The Carlton Square conservation area is a hidden gem with two- and three-storey flat-fronted early Victorian houses. Keatons currently has a three-bedroom house for sale in the conservation area in Grantley Street for £915,000.


Stepney Green Underground station is on the District and Hammersmith & City lines. Nearby Whitechapel Tube station is also on the Overground with trains to Canary Wharf via Canada Water, and with the arrival of Crossrail will become a major hub with trains to Bond Street in 10 minutes and Heathrow in 38 minutes. Stepney is in Zone 2 and an annual travelcard to Zone 1 is £1,296.

Special Thanks to Homes and Property for their Article-

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