Call made for revamped station's signs to be in both Bangla and English
- Credit: Mike Brooke
An appeal has been made to the mayor of London for station signs at Whitechapel to be made bilingual in Bangla as well as English.
Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs asks In a letter to London mayor Sadiq Khan for City Hall and TfL to put up new signs in the two languages to reflect the East End’s diversity.
The call comes after the new ticket hall opened to passengers and Crossrail’s Elizabeth line platforms were handed over to TfL at Whitechapel, ready for next year’s grand opening.
“Whitechapel is at the heart of the Bangladeshi community,” his letter to Sadiq Khan stresses. "Bilingual signs have been installed at Southall and replicating this at Whitechapel would be welcomed to mark the culture of British Bangladeshis and reflect the rich heritage and diversity.”
His appeal follows a fact-finding mission to the station by London Assembly's Unmesh Desai, who represents the City and East area at City Hall.
The visit took in the Victorian façade, which has been retained as the entrance to the new ticket hall. The original dates back to 1871 when the East London Railway first opened to New Cross using Brunel’s new Thames Tunnel.
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The entrance, which was shut for five years with a temporary alternative in Durward Street, has been cleaned and opened up with step-free access to platforms.
Mr Desai said afterwards: “I was blown away by the upgrades. We’ve waited a long time to see the renovations that tick all the right boxes while keeping the character of the original entrance façade.
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"It has been positive to see Whitechapel Road beginning to get some of its buzz back.”
The idea of bi-lingual signs, meanwhile, is being looked at by City Hall following the letter from Tower Hamlets' mayor.
A City Hall spokesman said: “We will carefully consider how best to celebrate the contribution of Bangladeshi Londoners at Whitechapel station."
Other improvements include new lifts to platforms on the District and Hammersmith and City Underground lines and to the London Overground network, which is also having its platforms raised to create step-free access onto trains.
The station also has a “green roof” with plant life to improve biodiversity along Whitechapel Road.
The new Elizabeth Line is deeper, at 90ft-below street level, reached by long escalators.
The line opens in 2022 with direct links to the City and West End.
Eventually, the rest of the line will connect Whitechapel direct to Heathrow Airport in 34 minutes and slightly longer to Reading. Passengers going east will eventually be able to get to Canary Wharf, Stratford, Custom House, Shenfield and Abbey Wood without changing trains.
City Hall has been contacted for comment on the request to introduce bilingual signs.