Annie Young

from Jewish Memories

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Zara: This is Zara Portnoy talking to Annie Young about her life in the Jewish East End. First of all lets talk about your parents and where they came from and how they met and when they came to England and where they came to.

Annie: Well, my mother was sixteen she arrived in this country from a small village in Lodz called  Zgierz. Like you've seen in Fiddler on the Roof, that sort of place. And she came to a brother of hers - my uncle Abraham - who was very well established in Canon St Rd. in a large house with a workshop behind.  And my mother, she was sixteen at that time - she was a beautiful woman, all of her life - had to all the housework of a great big house near Frumkins, there were giant houses there at that time, four stories. Very big houses, on Canon St Rd. off Commercial Rd. At the corners there was Fromkins  always, the wine and spirit people. It was all kosher Fromkins, my wines came from there even when I got married fifty years ago.  And my mother met my father, how I don't know, probably coming in to the house.  He was ten years older than my mother.  He was a very learned little man, he was self taught.  He read the papers well - he always used to go to night school.  My father was a machinist for Gents work.  His older brother had a prominent tailors shop in the Mile End Rd and my father worked for him. 

Z: And did he end work early on a Friday night ?

Annie Oh definitely , my uncle was also a very pious man and as soon as it was E’er of Shabbas it was shop shut and everything. Oh yes. No work on shabbas - my father went to Schule before shabbas and went to Schule on Saturday. My mother dovvened very beautifully, she was a very learned woman, she used to sit in Schule at Passover and sit with a lot of women that couldn't read, she used to sit and read the Torah to them all. Self taught, you know. My mother never went to Schule on a Saturday, she was always occupied.  Every Jewish holiday my mother went to Schule. Every Friday night was like a ritual, one had fried fish, one had chopped fish.  My father liked haemischer fish but my mother always managed to get these things ... I remember going shopping with my late mother, God rest her soul, there was always a market called Watney St. , which was much nearer to us, and then there was a very Jewish market called Hessel Street Market which was further afield near Commercial Road. But in Watney St there was also a very good market.  You could go out and buy a  lovely …    and my mother was a great connoiseur of food.  In broken English she'd say, 'not that for me, I want a Norfolk fowl'- that means a real country chicken you know and you'd buy a beautiful chicken, a four pound chicken, for three shillings ! A four pound chicken for Yomtov would feed the whole family you know.  And then she'd go to Blooms and there you'd go in and buy a pound of the best chuck streak for ten pence. The finest and the best, we always had the grandest to eat, always.


ANNIE_YOUNG2.pdf (131k)

This page was added by Zbyszko Fingas on 27/11/2012.