Jewish East End Celebration Society
P.O. Box 57317, London E1 3WG
enquiries@jeecs.org.uk

 

The ceiling collapse at the East London Central Synagogue in Nelson Street on January 10 is a big blow to the East End's Jewish legacy.

Among my most powerful memories of living in Petticoat Lane are the smells. I make my own bread and when I smell baking I’m taken back to our cold water tenement in Wentworth Dwellings.

A gleaming green and gold clock on the side of Electric House in Bow Road forms a fine tribute to Minnie Lansbury, one of the most remarkable women to emerge from the East End, whose life and achievements are the subject of a recent book from Five Leaves Publications.

It was a life cut tragically short at the age of only 32. She had been a leading suffragette, a fighter for decent pensions for those widowed or orphaned in the first world war, an alderman on Poplar council, and a leader of the councillors’ rates strike in protest over the levy on one of London’s poorest boroughs that took money away from people who really needed it – a strike that became a cause célèbre, brought about her imprisonment, but resulted in reform of local government finance.

She worked as a schoolteacher and in 1914 married Edgar Lansbury, whose father, George, was to be Mayor of Poplar, editor of the Daily Herald, a Labour MP, and in due course Labour Party leader.


The clock was restored to its former glory in 2008 thanks to the efforts of the Heritage of London Trust in conjunction with JEECS. We featured her story in issue 9 of our magazine, The Cable, in 2009.

Now author Janine Booth examines her life and achievements in detail in Minnie Lansbury: Suffragette, Socialist, Rebel Councillor, a book that is also the story of Eastern European immigrant Jews in Cockney London, of the fight against poverty and for enfranchisement, of opposing war while defending its victims, of embracing revolutionary possibilities and of defying bad laws. She argues that Minnie Lansbury’s experiences and struggles are directly relevant to today’s labour movement, and to today’s campaigns against antisemitism and for women’s equality.

Janine Booth is a writer and activist who lives in Hackney, east London. She is a well-known figure in her trade union (RMT), in the wider labour movement, and in disability rights and feminist circles. She writes and performs poetry, which has been widely published. She has researched, written and spoken on the subject of Minnie Lansbury for several years, including writing a book about the Poplar rates rebellion.

Minnie Lansbury: Suffragette, Socialist, Rebel Councillor. ISBN: 9781910170557. £12.99. Also available as an e-book. Five Leaves Publications, 14A Long Row,Nottingham, NG1 2DH. 0115 8373097. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: Five Leaves Publications

People have been asking us about the top picture on our Facebook page (JEECS Facebook). It is the East London Synagogue in Rectory Square, Stepney Green, long closed and now turned into flats, some of which retain features of the synagogue..

The picture (see above) dates from August 1948

The synagogue’s fascinating history has been told by Marc Michaels in East London Synagogue: Outpost of Another World. Marc is the grandson of Jack Michaels, the synagogue’s life president.

He recounts the synagogue’s establishment in 1877 as a “deficit synagogue”, against the stated policies of the United Synagogue whose policy had been to support only those synagogues that would be self-financing, and explores the background to its establishment and subsequent history, illustrated with many rare photographs.

You can read an excerpt from the book, and enjoy some of its superb illustrations, by clicking here.

 

News that a change of use application to turn the historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry into a boutique hotel has been submitted to Tower Hamlets Council has prompted us to resurrect this interesting short article by the late Philip Walker z"l, revealing a mysterious Jewish link, from our magazine The Cable, originally published in 2013. To find out more about the plans for this historic site -- and how to register an objection -- go to http://spitalfieldslife.com/2019/02/03/a-bell-themed-boutique-hotel/  See also our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jewisheastendcelebrationsoc/

 

 

From Clive Bettington, JEECS chairman

 

1. Isaac Rosenberg Statue


I continue working on the above project as I want to ensure that the statue commemorating Rosenberg, the acclaimed East End artist and poet who is recognised as one of the finest poets of the Great War, is erected this year. JEECS has to continue until the project is completed. We have reverted to the original sculptor, Etienne Millner, one of Britain's foremost figurative sculptors who, among other project, has completed two statues of the Queen.

The beautiful East London Centre Synagogue in Nelson Street (30-40 Nelson Street, E1 2DS) now features on Wikipedia, with an entry that draws in part from an article in JEECS magazine, The Cable.

From Clive Bettington, JEECS chairman

       1. Email address change

Clive Bettington’s new email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please change your contacts lists if necessary. The previous email addresses no longer function.

Back issues of JEECS’s magazine The Cable are still available at bargain prices. Over the years The Cable has provided a unique account of the people, culture, places and events that made the Jewish East End so vibrant.

JEECS member Vivi Lachs’ new book, Whitechapel Noise: Jewish Immigrant Life in Yiddish Song and Verse, London 1884–1914 is published this month (May).

1. Vanished works by a famous Japanese artist. 
2. A quick reminder about the Rosenberg walk on Sunday April 1, now to be accompanied by a BBC journalist. 
3. Jewish events in Tower Hamlets.  

Michael Greisman, whose wonderful historic photograph compilations have featured in our magazine The Cable and on our website, has done it again with a collection of portraits of Jewish Servicemen and Servicewomen – many from the East End – who served with the British armed services during World War Two.

Latest news

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  • JEECS News Update: Jan 2022

    Holocaust Memorial Day Walk: January 30. Covid has ruled out the normal events in the East End this year. However I shall be doing my annual walk, The Jewish East End – World War 2 and the Holocaust, on Sunday January 30. This is a free event, but needs to be booked through my email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  We will meet at Aldgate Read More
  • Isaac Rosenberg: a great war poet for the 21st Century

    Born in Bristol but brought up in the East End, the multi-talented Isaac Rosenberg has been unduly neglected. Two of his biographers, Jean Liddiard and Jean Moorcroft Wilson, wrote articles for The Cable, the JEECS magazine, in 2006 and 2008 respectively aiming to redress the balance. Both are fascinating reads, and are now here on our website to mark the anniversary Read More
  • The Whitechapel of Isaac Rosenberg

    We have a fascinating guided walk on Sunday November 21 commemorating the great East End war poet and artist Isaac Rosenberg. The date is the closest Sunday to the anniversary of his birth in 1890. Read More
  • Banners commemorate Petticoat Lane’s past, present and future

    The revitalisation of Petticoat Lane, London’s oldest Sunday street market still in operation, continues apace with the unveiling next week of the community banners, commemorating many aspects of market life, along Wentworth Street and into Middlesex Street. Read More
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For the old Jeecs site, visit www.jeecs.org.uk/archive