Altab Ali Park

Coordinates: 51°30′58″N 0°04′07″W / 51.5162°N 0.0685°W / 51.5162; -0.0685

Altab Ali Park is a small park on Adler Street, White Church Lane and Whitechapel Road, London E1.[1] Formerly known as St Mary's Park, it is the site of the old 14th-century white church, St Mary Matfelon, from which the area of Whitechapel gets its name.[2] St Mary's was heavily bombed during The Blitz in 1940,[3] all that remains of the old church is the floor plan and a few graves. Included among those buried on the site are Richard Parker, Richard Brandon, Sir John Cass,[4] and "Sir" Jeffrey Dunstan, "Mayor of Garratt".

Entrance to the park
Replica of the Shaheed Minar monument

The park was renamed Altab Ali Park in 1998[5] in memory of Altab Ali, a 25-year-old British Bangladeshi clothing worker, who was murdered on 4 May 1978 in Adler Street by three teenage boys as he walked home from work.[6] Ali's murder was one of the many racist attacks that came to characterise the East End at that time.[7] At the entrance to the park is an arch created by David Petersen, developed as a memorial to Altab Ali and other victims of racist attacks. The arch incorporates a complex Bengali-style pattern, meant to show the merging of different cultures in East London.[8][9][10]

Along the path down the centre of the park are letters spelling out "The shade of my tree is offered to those who come and go fleetingly", a fragment of a poem by Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.

The Shaheed Minar, which commemorates the Bengali Language Movement, stands in the southwest corner of Altab Ali Park. The monument is a smaller replica of the one in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and symbolises a mother and her martyred sons.[11]

The nearest London Underground station is Aldgate East on the District and Hammersmith & City lines.


  1. ^ "Parks and Open Spaces - Tower Hamlets". London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Whitechapel's Free Art & History". Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  3. ^ "St Mary Matfellon Whitechapel". 30 August 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Grave search results, St Mary, Whitechapel". Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Aldgate". Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  6. ^ "Brick Lane Tour". 4 May 1978. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  7. ^ Keith, Michael (2005). After the Cosmopolitan?: Multicultural Cities and the Future of Racism. Routledge. p. 144. ISBN 9781134294534.
  8. ^ "Altab Ali Arch". Whitechapel's Free Art and History. Archived from the original on 28 March 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
  9. ^ "Altab Ali murdered in Whitechapel, London". An Oral History of the Runnymede Trust, 1968-1988. Runnymede Trust. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Gateway to Altab Ali Park". Public Monuments & Sculpture Association. Archived from the original on 14 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  11. ^ Rafique, Ahmed (2012). "Shaheed Minar". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.

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