The history of a seminal East End organisation, the wonderful Brady Girls’ Club, is being celebrated in an exhibition at London Metropolitan University opening next month.
Running from October 6 to November 4, it tells the story from 1920 up to 1970 and looks at its relevance to today.
The Club was featured in an article in the JEECS magazine The Cable in 2010, which we are re-publishing on this website to mark the exhibition.
Led by Miriam Moses OBE JP, the first female mayor of Stepney, the Club supported the local community during the war years, offering shelter and practical help to hundreds of young women and local families. This exhibition has its roots in a collection of ‘found photography’ which was rediscovered in 2016 and has led to a project funded by the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe to record video histories of former members of the Brady Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs.
The project aims to inform local government policy on youth work by uncovering and sharing the stories of how this youth project dramatically improved the life-chances of an immigrant community growing up in impoverished circumstances, and to this end the organisers are working towards a symposium on youth work in 2025.
The exhibition – We are the Brady Girls – is in the Atrium Gallery at London Metropolitan University, 16 Goulston Street, London E1 7TP.
Full details are below.
We are the Brady Girls
“It is the purpose of Brady to create a feeling of friendship between all peoples – regardless of creed or colour” Miriam Moses OBE JP, Chairman of Brady Girls’ Club
For over 70 years, the Brady Clubs in Whitechapel played a fundamental role in the lives of thousands of young people in the East End of London. During a period of local, national and international upheaval, the Clubs provided care, shelter and space to grow for both Jewish and non-Jewish children and teenagers.
The first Brady Club for Working Lads was founded in 1896 in the East End of London by Lady Rothschild who wanted to improve the social quality of life for those living in the area, many of whom were young Jewish refugees fleeing the violent pogroms in Russia and eastern Europe. By virtue of the East End population at the time, the Brady Club became the first Jewish youth club in the country, although its attendance was not exclusive. In 1925 Brady Girls’ Club was established by a team of volunteers, and by 1935 the girls had a purpose-built home in Whitechapel. Led by the indomitable Miriam Moses OBE JP, the Brady Girls’ Club provided support for the underprivileged local community. During the war years the club building in Hanbury Street served as the local Air Raid Protection headquarters and its facilities were repurposed as a settlement for young women and others who had lost their homes through the Blitz, while the club continued to offer youth activities and community support for local residents.
Since 2020 The Bradians Trust has been working to digitally preserve our archive of photographs and memorabilia and to record videoed histories of former Club members. This year we have been focusing on the stories of the Brady Girls’ Club and are hosting an exhibition at London Metropolitan University featuring interviews with former Brady Girls and exploring the establishment and activities of the Girls’ Club and the opportunities for freedom and bonding it offered young women in the war years through to the 1970s. You can watch some of the videoed histories of Brady Girls and Boys at https://www.bradyarchive.co.uk/films and see our photography collection at https://www.bradyarchive.co.uk/photographs.
Exhibition dates: Mondays to Fridays 10am – 8pm and Saturdays 12pm – 4pm
Curators: Susan Andrews, Ania Dabrowska and Anna Perceval
This project is supported by the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe and The Bradians Trust.