The station was opened in 1902 by the Whitechapel and Bow Railway, a joint venture between the District Railway and the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway. The new railway connected the District Railway at Whitechapel with the London, Tilbury and Southend at Bow. Electrified District Railway services started in 1905. Hammersmith and City line services (then part of the Metropolitan line) started in 1936. The station passed to London Underground in 1950.
As with most of the East End of London, Stepney was sparsely populated marshland until the 19th century, when the development of London's docks and railways, combined with slum clearance, pushed the displaced poor and various immigrants looking for work into cheap housing being built in the area. The first community developed around the church of St Dunstan's, which was founded in 923. Its name was recorded around 1000 AD as Stybbanhyð, "Stybba's landing-place". The Domesday Book survey of 1086 gives the name as Stibanhede and says that the land was held by the Bishop of London and was 32 hides large, It is a sub surface station with two platforms. The ticket office is above ground and connected to the platforms by stairs. The layout and design of the station is largely unchanged with many original features intact. On the Westbound platform you will find one of the common countdown timers (found in most tube stations now) producing an estimated time of arrival (ETA) for the next train, however the Eastbound platform still has one of the old signs which merely indicates the intended destination of the next train, with no indication of the ETA. The station has payphones, a bridge and wi-fi.
Connections: Hammersmith & City Line. London Buses routes 25, 205 and 309, and night route N205 serve the station.