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An inspector calls

Thirteen million tourists visited London last year. The British Tourist Authority says that they were attracted by the city's stylish and lively image. Last month Roy Kerridge packed his plastic bag and set out to inspect three hotels in the East End. He found few tourists but plenty of life

By Roy Kerridge   November 1996

For many years cheap hotels in London existed only near main railway stations and along the Cromwell Road. Now every neighbourhood seems to have its local hotel, and the more run down the district, the more hotels or guest houses there are likely to be. Council housing is on the decline, but housing benefit is on the up-and-up. Whether you arrive in town as a penniless vagrant, immigrant or refugee, the social services can find a hotel for you. Some landlords take nobody in at the front step, but have all their guests supplied by the welfare. Others mix long…

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