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Trailblazing MP Jim follows footsteps of first Virginia settlers

PUBLISHED: 22:09 29 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:29 05 October 2010

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Carmen Valino

THE first English settlement in the New World has its roots in London’s East End. Government minister Jim Fitzpatrick joined the first tourists to follow in the first settlers’ footsteps when he opened a new heritage trail tracing the story of the first Virginia settlers 400 years ago

THE first English settlement in the New World has its roots in London’s East End.

Government minister and East End MP Jim Fitzpatrick joined the first tourists (pictured) to follow in the first settlers’ footsteps when he opened a new heritage trail on Friday.

The trail has been marked out with plaques to make it easy to trace the story of the first Virginia settlers 400 years ago.

The settlers set sail from Blackwall Steps in 1606 and founded Jamestown colony in a sheltered coastal inlet on the Virginia coast on May 14, 1907, some 15 years before the more-famous Pilgrim Fathers arrived in Massachusetts.

The trail begins in Limehouse at Narrow Street, the home of Captain Christopher Newport who led the expedition, and ends at the now-aptly named Virginia Quays on the Blackwall waterfront, from where a flotilla of three ships weighed anchor.

Artist David Bratby, who helped design the plaques, said: “Most people visiting Blackwall or Limehouse for the first time would never realise this was one of the most important hubs of international travel in the history of the world.”

The trail also takes in two blocks of flats in Poplar named after two of the settlers’ ships, Discovery House and Constant House, as well as looking at other periods of East End history such as the Blitz when the docks were targeted for months on end in nightly air raids during the Second World War.


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