Tower Hamlets was formed in 1965 when the metropolitan boroughs of Bethnal Green, Poplar and Stepney were merged into one borough as a result of the London Government Act 1963. The name derives from the locals who as yeomen worked at the Tower of London, coming, as they did, from one of the hamlets in the area.
Tower Hamlets is a borough of great contrasts - it contains some of the country's most expensive real estate, covering most of the Docklands area, including the West India Docks and the sky scrapers at Canary Wharf. Yet in other parts of the borough, council estates suffer from high crime rates with gun crime becoming more and more common.
The best-known attraction in the district is the historic Tower of London, which dates from the time of William the Conqueror in the 11th century, and has variously been used as a royal residence, prison, fortress and even menagerie.
The borough has a portion of the traditional East End within it's boundaries, with Brick Lane, the curry centre of the UK, at it's heart. The Two Puddings pub is also in Tower Hamlets and was the centre of operations for the Kray twins, as well as being the scene of grisly crimes committed in their name.