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Calling All Cambridge & Bethnal Green Boys’ Club Members!

July 21, 2014
by the gentle author

Boys’ Club Summer Camp Banquet 1942, Max is on the far left

My pal Maxie Lea rang to convey the sad news that this year’s Cambridge & Bethnal Green Old Boys’ Club Dinner, celebrating ninety years since the founding of the Club in 1924, will also be the last. Numbers have been dwindling in recent years but - understandably – Maxie wants the final dinner to be a bumper.

So please spread the word. If you were once a member of the Club and you would like to attend the Sixty-Eighth Annual Reunion to be held on Monday 1st September at the Imperial Hotel, Russell Sq, please give Maxie a call on 020 8954 0708.Monty Meth, who joined the club in 1938, will be the Speaker.

There has been an unbroken run of these reunions since the first, held in 1946 by Cecil Bright & Sydney Tabor with over three hundred and fifty Old Boys in attendance. It was my pleasure to attend one of these dinners for the first time in 2010 and I have joined the Old Boys each year since then, and you may look forward look to my report on this poignant final dinner in early September.

Operating from its headquarters in Chance St, the Cambridge & Bethnal Green Boys’ Club succeeded in raising the aspirations for generations of boys from the Boundary Estate and surrounding streets. As Ron Goldstein, who joined in the Club 1933, put it to me famously, “Half of the boys would have ended up as the next generation of gangsters and criminals if it had not been for the Club.” Originally founded as an exclusively Jewish boys club, they opened their doors to all in response to the rise of Oswald Mosley and his black shirts in the East End in 1936. It is a measure of the significance that the Old Boys place upon their experience at the Club that they still choose to meet all these years later and rekindle the friendships of long ago.

Maxie’s phone call inspired me to look back over the stories I have written about members of the Club and collect together these joyous evocative photographs by Harry Titchener – known to the boys as “T” – who, as well as being Club manager, was a professional photographer and member of the Royal Photographic Society.

Tea in the orchard 1942, Max sits on the right drinking a mug of tea

On Herne Bay Sands, Max stands in profile on the right

Boat trip, Max raises his fingers to his chin in the centre left of the picture

Maxie Lea (second from left) does the dishes at summer camp

Looking down on Dover, Max is on the left of the group

High jinks at the Greatstones Camp Tuck Shop 1939

The cook makes dough in a field at Greatstones – note the makeshift stoves in the background

Treasure hunt, Max is centre left beneath the tree

The treasure hunt continues, Max is on the right

Mealtime at Greatstones Summer Camp 1939

Max & Stanley go boating

France 1959, Max is seen in profile, waving at the centre left of this picture

Harold goes for breakfast while Paul & Max look on

Max peels the spuds at the centre of this picture

On a Sunday ramble through the outskirts of London

Max is in the centre right, paddling with his pals, Stanley, Manny, Butch & Ken

Photographs by Harry Titchener MRPS

You may also like to read my interviews with members of the Cambridge & Bethnal Green Boys’ Club

Monty Meth

Ron Goldstein

Aubrey Silkoff

Aubrey Goldsmith

Manny Silverman

Lennie Sanders

Maxie Lea

and watch

Cambridge & Bethnal Green Boys’ Club Films

7 Responses leave one →
  1. July 21, 2014

    What a wonderful set of pictures by Harry Titchener. I wonder what else might be in his archive?

  2. July 21, 2014

    Nice story about boys’ good old times — think the gathering will be a grand thing!

    Love & Peace
    ACHIM

  3. Pauline Taylor permalink
    July 21, 2014

    Great story and great pictures, what fun all those boys must have had thanks to one man with a vision, we could do with a few more like him now! Hope the last reunion will be an event to remember, I am sure that it will be.

  4. July 21, 2014

    The club blog at: http://candbgoldboys.blogspot.co.uk. will still be open for queries and comment. The blog is the ideal way to receive postings from old members or their families and your participation will always be welcome.

    If any kind ( and younger) person would like to take over the control of the Blog to save it for future generations then I would be grateful to hear from them.

    Ron Goldstein
    Club member since 1934

  5. Ron Pummell permalink
    July 22, 2014

    Salutations to all members, especially my friend Maxie Lea.

    Ron Pummell (St Hilda’s Youth Club, early 1950′s).
    Our club was round the corner to you.

  6. Rebecca Freedman permalink
    February 1, 2015

    Thank you so much for this page.
    My Grandad Maurice Wogman (sometimes known as ‘Sutty’) was a member of the Cambridge & Bethnal Green Boys’ Club and spoke about his experiences with much pleasure for the whole of his life. I have one photograph of him on camp- would you like me to upload? I think he was probably camping earlier than the photos above. I would love to hear from anyone who remembers him or if anyone has photographs from before the war, that I may be able to find him in. He was a loving husband, father to three and grandfather to 9, we all miss him very much.
    Kind Regards,
    Rebecca

  7. February 8, 2015

    The C&BG Boy’s Club is highly indebted to the Gentle Author for maintaining interest in the ethos of the club and for introducing it to the wider world.

    On a purely practical note, the chap who runs the blog is now 91 plus and is urgently seeking a younger person to take over the everyday running of the site,

    It requires very little computing experience and can be learnt in a few hours.

    If you are remotelly interested e-mail Ron Goldstein

    Many thanks

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