Bengali signage has been included at the rebuilt Whitechapel Station, part of the new Elizabeth Line, which opens later this year, to recognise the Bangladeshi community’s contribution to east London.
Transport for London (TfL) have placed Bengali signs both outside and inside the station.
TfL is expected to finish installing the signs by the end of April. The station was originally built in 1876 and has been extensively renovated to accommodate the new Elizabeth Line, formerly Crossrail. The station also has platforms for the District and Hammersmith and City Lines and the East London line of the London Overground
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “London’s diversity is its greatest strength. The revamped signs at Whitechapel station recognise and celebrate the vital contribution Bangladeshi Londoners have made in shaping the community in Tower Hamlets and throughout our city.”
John Biggs, the mayor of Tower Hamlets and Bangladesh High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem visited the station last week.
Biggs said: “I am delighted that TfL has listened to our request to recognise the contribution our Bangladeshi community has made to Tower Hamlets and London as a whole.
Tower Hamlets has the biggest Bangladeshi community in the UK, and this week, they will be celebrating the country’s 51st year of independence from Pakistan.
Biggs said: “Following our successful year of celebrations to mark 50 years since of Bangladeshi independence, it is fantastic that the signs have been installed in time for Bangladesh Independence Day on Saturday 26 March.”
Nasrin Khan, a policy officer and a member of the local Bangladeshi community, told ELL: “In Tower Hamlets, Bengali’s make up more than 33% of its population. So it’s quite vital that their community recognises their interests.”
She added: “I am really happy to see this Bengali sign ten thousand miles away from its origins. (…) As a British Bangladeshi, I am thankful to everyone who worked behind this achievement.”
Adnan Mahmud, a 33-year-old cab driver from Tower Hamlets, told ELL: “East London and Whitechapel is home to many generations of Bangladeshi immigrants. They take part in all sorts of business and social work in and around the area.”
“The move to change the underground name in Bengali sign is welcome by everyone here. We hope this name change will stay here permanently; we thank all the politicians and officials who have made this happen.”
Mo Waiz, an analyst at Harrington Brooks from Tower Hamlets, told ELL: “I believe (…) it is a great recognition to our community.”
Whitechapel is also receiving funding through the £11m Whitechapel Road Improvement Programme. The investment covers the area of Whitechapel Road from the junctions with New Road and Vallance Road to Cambridge Heath Road and Sydney Street.