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The City of London
Marcus Roberts

Places of interest

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Bevis Marks - the Bevis Marks synagogue and site of the Great Synagogue
The Site of the Medieval Jewish Cemetery - Barbican and St Giles, Cripplegate
Gresham Street and area - The Site of the Medieval Jewish Quarter
St Olave's Square - The Place of Work for the Young Benjamin D'Israeli
Poultry and Grocer's Hall - Site of Medieval Synagogue and the 18th Century Jewish Prison
Mansion House - Home of the Lord Mayors of London
The Bank of England, Threadneedle Street - Aaron of Lincoln's House
The Royal Exchange - Threadneedle Street and Cornhill
St Swithin's Lane - the Headquarters of N.M. Rothschild
Capel Court - Site of Mendoza's Boxing School
Creechurch Lane - Site of the First Resettlement Synagogue
Site of the Great Synagogue - Dukes Place
Mitre Square - Jack the Ripper Murder Site
Middlesex Street,
Rangoon Street (off Crutched Friars and Jewry Street) - Site of the Poor Jewry
Jewry Street - Site of the Earliest English Jewry
Clare Market
The Guildhall
Leadenhall Street
Southwark and Bermondsey

1. Bevis Marks - the Bevis Marks synagogue and site of the Great Synagogue

The end of Creechurch Lane leads into Bevis Marks and Dukes Place, and what was the heart of Anglo-Jewry after the resettlement. Bevis Marks synagogue lies in a court behind a facade of modern office buildings to the left of the junction of the Lane with Bevis Marks and Dukes Place, just past Heneage Lane, and is entered through a modern archway which incorporates some older stone work of its original entry.

The synagogue, built by a devout Quaker architect in 1701, is the oldest synagogue building in use in Britain and arguably it is one of the prettiest.

The exterior looks typical of the general style of a contemporary non-conformist chapel - it is simply but tastefully constructed, though it is thought to copy the grand style of main synagogue in Amsterdam, though unlike the Amsterdam synagogue which was very much built for public prominence, it is smaller and well hidden from view.

The interior is undoubtedly its glory. It is largely if not wholly original and first of all strikes the eye with it mellow time-burnished assemblage of warm coloured wood paneling and fixtures and golden glowing chandeliers.

I was fortunate to first see it first at a wedding of a friend when the seats were decked with sunflowers and all of the candles in the chandeliers were lit especially for the occasion and slanting rays of bright afternoon sunlight illuminating the air, completed this bright yet mellowed picture.

The main layout of the building has the Ark and Bimah at either end, with ladies galleries stretching around three sides, accessed by stairs leading from a small lobby. The building is very light as the thick walls are opened by large round headed windows of plain glass on four sides.

The woodwork around the Ark and main features is elaborately carved, painted and guilded in the classical Baroque style, which greatly accents and complements the chandeliers.

There are seven chandeliers; they are said to represents the days of the weeks with the largest representing the Sabbath. There are also ten large candlesticks around the Ark and Bimah to represent the Ten Commandments. To complete the symbolism the twelve pillars supporting the galleries represented tribes of Israel.

At the back of the synagogue are ancillary buildings off Heneage lane. These are the site of former Jewish schools attached to Bevis Marks, the Villa Real for girls, the Gates of Hope, also there was the Spanish and Portuguese Jew's Orphanage.

A look at the numerous plaques and memorials inside and outside of the schule provides, for those who know the names and something of the families, a veritable roll call of Sephardic Anglo-Jewry past and present.

Many famous figures are associated with the synagogue. The quitting of the synagogue by Isaac D'Israeli in 1813 is a well known story - deservedly so, since his refusal to pay the £40 fine for refusing to be a Warden lead to young Benjamin D'Israeli being baptized a Christian. His subsequent career, as Prime Minister, is indeed parliamentary history.

Daniel Mendoza, the boxer was also a member of the synagogue. So too (by contrast) was Moses Montefiori, the philanthropist.

These days Bevis Marks is no longer the physical center of Sephardic life; Lauderdale Road in North London has largely taken over though it undoubtedly is still the spiritual center.

One major advantage of Bevis Marks is that it is normally kept open to visitors for a number of hours most days of the week and it now also has a good kosher restaurant as well as a heritage centre. It may reasonably claim to be Anglo-Jewry's major tourist or heritage attraction.

2. The Site of the Medieval Jewish Cemetery - Barbican and St Giles, Cripplegate

The cemetery of the Jews at Cripplegate was of considerable importance; it was the oldest and largest in the country and remained in use for the longest. Not only this, it was for a long time the only one permitted for the Jews in England, until after 1177 when the king allowed others to be set up.

The cemetery appears to have been set up from an early date and is named in the records as the "Jews' Garden", or "Leyrestowe". This latter name is almost identical with that of the old Jews burial ground at York and also means "burial place".

It was located to the west of the Jewry just outside an angle of the old Roman city wall (still surviving) and near the church of Cripplegate. A recent historian has reconstructed the boundaries, as being a large irregular rectangular plot bounded by Red Cross Street, Aldergate Street, Barbican and Jewin Street being the southerly of these. South of Jewin street ran a tongue shaped projection, defined in later times by Well Street and Redcross Square. It is this latter much smaller area where all the burials seem to have taken place.

The name Jewin Street is one of several ancient names which are evidence of the Jewish history of the site. There is also in the north of the main plot the name Jacob's Well. This name has not been noted before here at the Barbican, however it is suggestive of a mikveh or spring used on the site for ritual ablutions, and parallels well to the mikveh called Jacob's Well that is at the Bristol cemetery at Brandon Hill. There is also a Crowd's Well on the site (preserved in a modern pub name today at Cripplegate) and for mysterious reasons which I have yet to establish, well names with the prefix "crow-" are often found in conjunction with Jacob's Wells or near medieval Jewish cemeteries. These wells, including Crowder's Well at Cripplegate are also said in folk tradition to be good for sore eyes. Another example is Crowell at Oxford, close to the original medieval Jewish cemetery. At Winchester the medieval cemetery is located on modern day Crowder's Terrace.

The property seemed to cover several acres of ground, but the indications are that the burials only took place in a much smaller section of the grounds - an arrangement that seems to have been reproduced later at Oxford. It is probably correct to think that much of the grounds were garden like (probably the medieval "flowerey mead" with some trees or shrubs, such as Ash and Willow) surrounded by walls or fronted by houses. There is clear evidence that the grounds contained a number of active springs and there may have been a small building for washing the bodies, which survived the closure of the cemetery and survived as a "dovecote". The presence of springs seems to have been another location factor for medieval cemeteries and would have been important to supply the cemetery with the required water for ritual ablutions.

After the expulsion the cemetery survived as a garden still called "Jews' Garden". It had a variety of owners, including a Dean of St Paul's in the reign of Edward I, before it was bequeathed with its "dovecote" to the Goldsmiths Company in 1422. It kept its name when by 1603, Stowe records it became gardens with summer houses. Later in history its history other houses were built in the area. In 1661 the poet Milton rented a house there and around this period there was a cockpit of low repute which also housed a Catholic conventicle. In the 18th century there were amateur theatricals and entertainments for those aspiring to tread the boards.

By the Victorian era the area was well developed and part redeveloped with industrial developments and houses. It was only bombing in the war that erased the heavy veneer of centuries over the site. The bombing in the area was so intense that the old bastion at Cripplegate, which only reared a few feet above ground level, was almost completely exposed by the bombing for the first time in centuries.

At the end of the War it was decided to excavate the site before the area was re-planned and redeveloped. The excavations revealed that burials only seem to have taken place in the area adjacent to the Cripplegate bastion and south of Jewin Street. Seven grave cuts were found in the narrow strip between Well Street and the Bastion/St Giles Church Yard(precise Geo-location 51.519345, -0.095548). Remnants of other burials - human bones - were found in the natural soil under cellars south of Jewin Street.

The intriguing aspect of the finds around St Giles, was that the while the bottom two feet of the grave cuts were excavated (everything above had been cut away by cellars) no remains were found bar a few tiny human bones. The impression was that the bones had been removed and the graves carefully back filled with made soil. It was thought that this could be best read, not as desecration of the graves but of their careful removal, perhaps by the Jewish community at the expulsion. However the remains of a small dog in the fill of one of the graves could have hinted at desecration.

The most surprising thing about this excavated site is that it appears to have survived untouched by the massive development of the Barbican. The north East corner of the open garden ground (Thomas More Gardens)running up to the south of the London School for Girls has apparently not been redeveloped.

I also have a report from the late and lamented, Mr. Donald Silk, who once lived in the Barbican, that he could see the excavated grave cuts, after heavy rain and from his Barbican penthouse - an area which coincided with the excavated area.

There are two ways of finding the site and two main areas that can be appreciated. The first is the main site of the original burials and where traces of burials were found and the second is a surviving section and extension of the cemetery near to the site of the historic Crowder's Well along the old City Wall, which also showed some archaeological evidence of burials. The more difficult, but the best for the main burials, is to follow the official London City Wall Walk from the junction of Noble Street with No.1 London Wall Street to the Cripplegate Bastion, which is no.15 on the walk. This is signed and mapped and can be followed into the grounds of Barber Surgeons' Hall which permits public access. Getting from there into the Barbican requires turning back and cutting through the grounds of Barber Surgeons Hall, and around the front of the hall in to Monkwell Court and thence to the Crowder's Well Pub. St Giles Church is nearby and Wallside which is worth looking at for another view, but an elevator needs to be taken from near the pub up to Wallside and Thomas More Walk high level walkways to get and overall view of the site and to get to the South side of the girl's school building.

The easiest way of getting to the site and remains of the medieval cemetery is to start at the Museum of London at the western end of London Wall Street. From the entrance of the museum the concrete walkway of Wesley Walk can be taken across to the Barbican to Thomas More walkway. Running along the side of the walkway below is an open space backing onto the City of London School for Girls (GDST). The top of this area occupies part of the site of the cemetery (and other parts of the site may be on the site of the school). Going to the end of this walkway there is on the other side an ornamental lake close to the Bastion of the old city wall which also lies on part of the site.

The first route is best for its very picturesque and ancient remains of the Roman and Norman city wall and for taking one to the St Giles Bastion which is a fixed historical reference point for getting ones bearings on the past site of the cemetery. In short the line of the wall you will have walked, if it were continued from the bastion, points directly into the cemetery site from the bastion.

A second section of the former cemetery, one which showed evidence of the removal of grave contents, which is the most visually and topographically intact, can also be readily appreciated from the observation window of the Museum of London, close to the display of medieval Jewish artifacts, which looks down on the surviving section of the City Wall and Ditch. This is a long finger-like projection of wall and land which actually formed part of the later cemetery wall and boundary, a fact often over-looked, but means that part of the cemetery enclosure does survive (Geo-location 51.517975, -0.095155). From the ground, this is best seen from the pedestrian and viewing area, next to St Giles Church, over-looking the pond and water channels from the south-west corner of the platform. The pond, near where the water gushes up from the water-works, is the approximate site of Crowder's Well - the probably mikveh or ritual bath (Geo-location 51.518677, -0.094985). The site of the gate of the cemetery is on the North of the pedestrian area under the main block of the girl's school (Geo-location 51.519185, -0.094333).

3. Gresham Street and area - The Site of the Medieval Jewish Quarter

The area of the medieval Jewry is a ten-minute walk from the cemetery site around Gresham Street. It may be reached by returning to Noble Street or taking signs for the Guildhall. The site of the Jewry starts at the junction of Wood Street with Gresham Street. There was a concentration of Jewish properties on the northeast side of Wood Street at its junction with Gresham Street.

The next Street east, Milk Street, had an important, concentration of Jewish houses. It is widely accepted that the origin of Milk Street was the Hebrew word "melech" or "king", this being the Jewish version of nearby King Street - a fascinating etymology. The medieval market place or "Cheape" extended across from the east of Milk Street up to west side of Iron Monger Lane, hence the Jewish importance of the street and indeed of Ironmonger Lane.

In 1978 an excavation on the east side of Milk Street revealed a stone undercroft with a possible stair turret at the rear. This would have most likely have been the remains of a substantial 12th or 13th century Jewish stone house.

Continuing on towards Ironmonger Lane, the church of St. Lawrence Jewry, on the left, is a visible reminder of the old Jewry. The church, as its information board states " so called because the original Twelfth Century Church stood on the eastern side of the City, then occupied by the Jewish community." The present church is a modern recreation of Wren's replacement (which was destroyed by bombing) of the medieval church,. This site would have been a landmark in the Jewry.

Immediately along the same side of the street from the church, continuing east, is nos. 81-7, Gresham Street, now the Banco Di Roma. Archaeological excavations in the building revealed what may well have been Jewish buildings, including a conjectured synagogue, with a mikveh to the rear.

The dig revealed that the rear of no. 87-8 contained a masonry structure belonging to a larger 12th century building. This appeared to be a sunken feature, of 1.65m by 1.15m, made of Greensand blocks, with two surviving steps leading down into it. This was interpreted as either a mikveh or remnants of a strong room. Some historians do argue that the main London synagogue was elsewhere and this could not be a mikveh.

Historically, the front of the bank site may have been three Jewish houses, with a fourth building, a synagogue to the rear. The historian, Jacobs, said this building to the East of the Guildhall yard was the main London synagogue.

The remains of a verifiable mikveh were found more recently in basement of a former bank in c. 2002, in Milk Street / Moscow Street and excavated by MOLAS and the discovery was formally presented at a joint MOLAS and JHSE meeting, originally facilitated by Marcus Roberts. This mikveh at the rear of a documented former Jewish property was finely and expensively built of ashlar blocks, with steps descending into it and had a distinctive 'apse' end forming the end of the mikveh tank. Sharman Kaddish believes this mikveh was a rain-fed mikveh, though the high ground water levels in London in the period could have also meant that water could have percolated up from the ground water, making it a spring-fed mikveh or mayan. The structure was lifted from the site and it is now inside the entrance of the Jewish Museum, but looking less impressive than when first excavated and in situ.

Just across the street, excavations have been carried out on Jewry sites, at 52 Gresham Street, and 24-25 Ironmonger Lane. Here a range of specific artifacts, were found at these sites, that in some cases have specifically been archeologically correlated with Jewish usage. The same applied to the bank site and also to the site of the Guildhall Art Gallery not far off. These were counters, scales and lead tokens (probably used in money lending transactions); lamps (probably used for ritual purposes); louvers (indicating the stone houses favoured by Jews). The lead tokens have only been archeologically correlated with Jewish areas in the City, excepting those which have been dumped or lost in the Thames. This supports the view that some of the commercial activities of Jews in London revolved around the control and issue of lead tokens, possibly as a form of small lending or as local currency. One example of a lead token with a Hebrew inscription has been found elsewhere in the country (Winchester) supporting this observation.

Travelling not much further along Gresham Street, Old Jewry, is reached leading off the south side. The place name is of course a visible indication of the sites Jewish significance. This was in the earlier period of the Jewry the main focus of the Jewish quarter and the site of many of the fine houses of the leading members of the Jewry. The historian Jo Hillaby argues that the main London synagogue was on this street, on or behind the eastern side. In the days of the Jewry the street was actually called Colechurch Lane. One tradition relates that the synagogue site was later occupied by Grocers hall. This claim may well accord with historical fact and the site of the hall can be found at the end of Grocer's Hall Alley just off Poultry, round the corner from the end of Old Jewry.

The end of this excursion through the medieval Jewry links neatly into the Jewry of the modern era.

4. St Olave's Square - The Place of Work for the Young Benjamin D'Israeli

Returning back into Jewry, on the west side is St Olave's Square or Court. On entering the square a blue plaque is clearly visible to the left of the square adorning the building D'Israeli worked in as a young lawyer.

5. Poultry and Grocer's Hall - Site of Medieval Synagogue and the 18th Century Jewish Prison

At the end of Gresham Street is the Poultry. Turning left into the Poultry, Grocer's Hall Alley or Court leads to the site of Grocer's Hall, thought by tradition and some modern historians as the site of the medieval synagogue.

One of London's Prisons stood in this immediate quarter, they were called in this period, Compters (apparently pronounced "counters"). The Poultry Compter contained a special ward for Jewish prisoners. It stood between Grocer's Hall and the Poultry (between what was nos. 31 and 32). It was notorious for its decayed condition. Two Jewish debtors were held in the prison in 1802. It was finally demolished in 1817 and replaced by a Congregational chapel which was adjacent to the south wall of Grocer's hall. The chapel's south-eastern corner more or less met the northwestern corner of St Mildred's Church, which enables an accurate idea of its position in the modern cityscape. Separate captivity for Jews remained common until the modern period.

6. Mansion House - Home of the Lord Mayors of London

Going back to the Poultry and continuing along it, the rather grand Mansion House is quickly reached, on the right hand side. It is the traditional home of the Mayors of London. It is here that Salomons the first Jewish Mayor of London held office in 1855. There have continued to be a number of Jewish mayors since this time.

The original Mansion House site was also developed by Aaron of Lincoln, with Christian developers. Another site developed by Aaron, prior to 1162, was the Old Temple, which was purchased from the Knight's Templar for 100 marks, by Bishop Chesney of Lincoln with a loan from Aaron to provide a new bishop's residence.

7. The Bank of England, Threadneedle Street - Aaron of Lincoln's House

Aaron of Lincoln, one of the leading Jews of the 12th Century, had a house near the present day Mansion House - it is asserted, with due appropriateness, that it was on part of the site of the modern day Bank of England!

8. The Royal Exchange - Threadneedle Street and Cornhill

At the corner of Threadneedle Street and Cornhill, is the Royal Exchange, where many of the leading Jews of earlier years made their fortunes on the money markets. The first Jew to trade there was Samuel Dormido in 1657. After being excluded 12 Jews were re-admitted on a permanent basis in 1697. They occupied the south-eastern corner of the exchange and this corner and the walkway there became named "Jews Walk" - a name which where it occurred usually denoted the habitual domicile of rich Jews. After the later destruction of the exchange by fire, the rebuilt Jews Walk was perhaps unnecessarily euphemized as "Jew-ellers Walk".

Up to the 1830s century the outside of the Royal Exchange was an important, though informal gathering place for Jewish hawkers. They were forced to abandon this traditional pitch due to pressure by local magistrates wanting to clean up the area.

9. St Swithin's Lane - the Headquarters of N.M. Rothschild

St Swithin's Lane, is a narrow street close to the Mansion House - it is to the right, off King William Street, which runs up to Mansion House. Nathan Mayer Rothschild started his bank here in 1804 and the famous Rothchild's dynasty still run their banking empire from here. The modern banking buildings of 1965 are at the northern end of the street at New Court and replace those of 1867.

10. Capel Court - Site of Mendoza's Boxing School

Going back towards Mansion House, the Bank of England is across the street, on Threadneedle Street. Capel Court is across the street from on the east side of the Bank of England off Bartholemew lane. The Court has made a surprising survival as a pedestrian court and entrance to the Stock Exchange. The original buildings have gone, but the court survives. After Mendoza had established himself as the supreme boxer of his time he opened a boxing school for gentlemen to learn the science and skills of boxing in a house off the court.

11. Creechurch Lane - Site of the First Resettlement Synagogue

Creechurch Lane is some minutes distant (which is headed by the ancient parish Church of St Katherine Creechurch) is left, off Leaden Hall Street. The latter street is essentially an extension eastwards of the Poultry. The site of the first resettlement synagogue is marked by a plaque on the Cunard Building near a turn in the lane. This reads - "Spanish & Portuguese Jews' Congregation - The site of first Synagogue after the resettlement 1657 - 1701."

12. Site of the Great Synagogue - Dukes Place

At the eastern end of Bevis Marks is Dukes Place, where there is a modern office block on the same side as Bevis Marks next to Mitre Square. Close to the end of the building is a plaque recording the site of the "Great Synagogue", until the Second World War the first resettlement Askenazic synagogue in this country and the center of the Askenazic community. The synagogue was also the origin of the United Synagogue and its rabbi was recognized as the Chief Rabbi of Anglo-Jewry.

While the building owes its origins to an original place of worship in a nearby house in Dukes Place, the synagogue building that was to stand for 250 years was built by the munificence of the Hart family, the famous Jewish residents of Richmond. Moses Hart paid for the original building in 1722 and later Judith Levy "the Queen of Richmond Green" paid for it to be rebuilt in 1790 and revived the literal fortunes of the congregation.

Charles Wesley visited the original edifice and thought the brick building a solemn and awesome place. The new designs by James Spiller were Neo-Classical and created a Jewish "cathedral" synagogue.

The building was, by its appearance in later photographs, a massive, bulky and ungainly structure from the exterior, with massive stone piers, but this hid much greater elegance and grandeur within with massive chandeliers and much ornamentation.

The building was almost completely razed to the ground by bombs during the blitz in 1941 and rather sad pictures survive of the shell of the building and the partial survival of the Ark. Part of the outer walls survived as a poignant relic until more recent times. Apparently a temporary synagogue was put up in 1943 and used for a time within the shell of the old walls.

A wing of the building survived facing Creechurch Place, and which for a time housed the Office of the Chief Rabbi. Also until 1949 the Chief Rabbis court was convened in the building until it returned to Holloway Street in Whitechapel. However all of this has now been swept away in the cause of redevelopment.

There is little to remind the visitor that Dukes Place and surrounding areas was the epicenter of Jewish life in the capital. Long ago have departed the days, when every Sunday morning between 8 and 12 o'clock, Dukes Place hosted a great market selling oranges to itinerant Jewish retailers.

13. Mitre Square - Jack the Ripper Murder Site

Mitre Square lies behind Dukes Place. Here Jack the Ripper claimed his forth victim, Catherine Eddowes. The significance of this from a Jewish perspective was that all of the Ripper's victims were killed just within Jewish areas and many were killed close to Jewish institutions. It is probable that the killer wanted to associate his murders (largely of prostitutes) with the Jewish community and certainly the chilling chalk graffiti he left as the scene of another crime accused the Jews of some sort of blame or culpability.

14. Middlesex Street,

Petticoat Market might be described as a living Jewish monument as the famous market - better known as the "Lane" to it habitués - still continues on Sundays and at least some of the traders there are still Jewish, though many are now from the Bangladeshi community. It is to be found not far beyond Bevis Marks to the north-east, running parallel to it and Houndsditch. Either Cutler Street, or Stoney Lane, leads into it. In the 19th century it was described as "a great emporium for second hand goods of every kind, and offers considerable advantage to purchasers of the small artisan class. The majority of stall holders are Jewish." At the turn of the century another writer described it (in the journalistic tones of the day) and its over-spill into surrounding streets as, "a howling pandemonium of cosmopolitan costerism".

The writer went on (more intelligibly) to summon up its unique flavour, "In these congested streets you can be clothed like an aristocrat for a few shillings, fed al fresco like an epicure for sixpence, and cured of all your bodily ills for a copper - the chorus of the children in the Hebrew classes often answering the roar of the gutter merchant, like a new and grotesque Church antiphony."

Petticoat Market was originally a general market where anyone could trade on first come first serve basis. It was not specifically a Jewish market; however by about 1830 it was to become a vital lifeline for Jewish traders. Originally, in the early 19th century and before, Jewish street traders and old clothes men brought and sold stock in a variety of markets. However by 1830 many of these markets had been suppressed or suffered decay. This meant that the markets around Middlesex Street and Cutler Street became vital for the Jewish trader to stay in business. There had been attempts to set up specifically Jewish marketing centres but these had all failed.

The decline of street marketing was due to inevitable changes in the way that business was done - traditionally as much in the open as in formal shops. Many Jews dropped out of street selling all together, and went into such trades as cigar and slipper making. By 1840 Petticoat Lane became increasingly a place for clothes sales, some 3/4 of all the stalls were for Jewish clothiers. Another change was that they largely ceased to supply itinerant traders but instead catered for buyers coming specifically to the market and for the second hand export trade.

Many official attempts were made to close the market down and the market continued in defiance of police and local authority pressure. The Jewish traders hung on doggedly against a whole battery of official machinations to shut it for good. A resolution of sorts was reached with the establishment of off-street marketing areas - "Phil's Building" in Houndsditch was one of the best known and was founded by the father of L.H. Isaacs the Jewish M.P. - for the sale of second hand clothes, that did not block traffic.

Other than the market operations in the clothing exchanges, the decline of Jewish population in the City led to a considerable decline in Jewish street traders. This decline was only halted in the 1860s and dramatically reversed with the influx of new Jewish immigrants in the 1880s which established the market's modern Jewish character and reputation. By this date the market had largely been taken over by Jewish secondhand clothes sales men.

By the turn of the century the market was noted for its bustle, even pandemonium, though the street itself had been improved leaving more thorough-fare. While Sunday was the "show day", the Jewish housewives came to shop for their Sabbath requirements on Thursday and Fridays. Here they came from all over London for all of the traditional kosher staples and delicacies that are still as familiar and loved today. Other less familiar kosher fare was also sold on the lane, such items as, "the brown and sweet 'butter cake'," the flaccid 'bola', the 'stuffed monkey' and a special pudding made of eggs and ground almonds." Then, as now, there were plenty of retailers to tempt passers-by with street food. Fried fish of all descriptions was exceptionally popular. This could all be washed down with kosher liquor.

Phil's Building had a reputation all of its own and was a major source of supply for the traders in the lane itself. It was set back from the street, it lay west, behind the Junction of Houndsditch and Cutler Street, the entry was through a gap between two buildings and an inscription announced for all comers "PHILS BUILDINGS CLOTHES AND GENERAL MART". The shops there were hung with every kind of clothing imaginable and it had a reputation of being less than a beauty spot. Perhaps it was the pervasive and suffocating smell of old clothes - a decisive odour - that seized the throat of the uninitiated, and at lest one writer noted the irony of an admission charge to enter the buildings with the additional bargain of a season ticket to visit the wares!

The Jewish marketing of clothes in Houndsditch was comparatively ancient, the Elizabethan dramatist Ben Johnson alludes to one of his characters buying his coat from a Jew at Houndsditch: a place which in its day did live up to its name as was a dumping ground for dead dogs, being the former city ditch and impromptu tip.

The market still runs every Sunday between 9.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. selling a variety of goods; cheap fashion, second hand clothing, cheap electrical goods and other consumer items.

15. Rangoon Street (off Crutched Friars and Jewry Street) - Site of the Poor Jewry

A recent survey of archaeological finds has revealed a significant clustering of specific types of artifacts that reveal the former presence of a medieval Jewish community around the street. The location is thought to confirm the presence of a minor Jewry or Poor Jewry in this area. Evidence suggests that some of the larger Jewry's did have distinct enclaves of poor or poorer Jews.

16. Jewry Street - Site of the Earliest English Jewry

Additionally Jewry Street, near Rangoon Street, may have been the site of the earliest Jewry in London, close to the vicinity and protection of the Tower of London. History suggests that the earliest Jewish settlement in England kept close by the protection of the royal castle, before commerce beckoned a move further away from its protective walls.

17. Clare Market

Clare Market was the site of the kosher shambles, where the Sephardim slaughtered their animals in the 17th & 18th centuries. The market area was established as a market by John, Earl of Clare in 1656 and by act of Cromwell's parliament it was a free-market - a status that was upheld despite legal attempts to close it by the City of London. As a market it was particularly favoured by country butchers and higglers. Thus it was the logical place for the earlier Jewish slaughterers to set up their activities.

The remains of the market were removed in 1905 by the construction of Kingsway to connect the City and the West End.

18. The Guildhall

The Guildhall has a stained glass window commemorating the election of Sir David Salomans as Lord Mayor.

19. Leadenhall Street

An alleged medieval shofar was stated to have been found in the wall of a medieval house, but recent C14 dating by Kenneth Marks has shown that it is of a much later, post re-settlement date.

20. Southwark and Bermondsey

The site of a smaller Jewish settlement, of whom the best known member was Isaac of Southwark. Later a house of converts was established in Southwark.

The house of converts stood at Bermondsey, probably near the former priory. A recollection of this association has been claimed in the Hebrew names of three streets that stood close by in Bermondsey in the 18th century. These were Baal Zephon (now Weston Street), Elim and Rephardim streets - all stopping points of the children of Israel in their travels to the Promised Land. While tradition is frequently far more accurate than is given credit, the evidence points to the zealous nomenclature of philo-Semitic local Puritans or non-conformists. There is no field name evidence I have seen to predate the naming of the streets.

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