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At The Brady Clubs

May 3, 2018
by the gentle author

These lively photographs of activities at the Brady Clubs are from a collection of pictures uncovered by Hannah Charlton at the former Museum of Labour History in Limehouse which are currently on display at Sir John Cass School of Art, 16 Goulston St, E1 7TP  until 18th May.

The Brady Boys’ Club in Whitechapel was the first Jewish boys’ club in this country. Founded in 1896 by philanthropists Lady Charlotte Rothschild, Mrs Arthur Franklin and Mrs N. S. Joseph, the club provided both recreational and educational opportunities as well as the chance to go to a summer camp. The Girls’ Club was founded in 1921 by Miriam Moses, social reformer and first woman mayor of Stepney.

At the girls’ summer camp in Swanage, 1934

Miriam Moses at an ARP meeting, c. 1938

Brady music group, 1949

A club show, c. 1950

At the boys’ summer camp in Dymchurch, c. 1951

At the playcentre, c. 1957

A gymnastic display, c.1957

The film club, c. 1958

The girls’ netball team, c. 1958

The photography club, c. 1960

The football team in training, c. 1960

At the boys’ summer camp in Charmouth, c.1963

At a social event, c. 1965

At the girls’ summer camp, Skeet House, Kent

At Skeet House c. 1966

In the canteen, c. 1968

Prince Philip visited the Brady Club in the sixties

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14 Responses leave one →
  1. Neil permalink
    May 3, 2018

    I worked near this building and looked after its maintenance for a while and knew it had a number of top acts who performed there. None more surprising than Jimi Hendrix though who was booked at a cost of £500 before his Hey Joe single leapt up the charts. His management wanted to cancel but honoured the contract. By all accounts, Jimi turned up stoned but blew everyone away with his playing. It was one of his first London performances in Feb 1967. Well done the social committee member who had a record stall in the market, knew about this American wondered and persuaded the Club to give him a go.

  2. Eddie Johnson permalink
    May 3, 2018

    Brady street was one of many clubs with a fine sporting tradition, especially Boxing, I remember a documentary made by Georgia Brown, a Stepney Jewish girl who made good as a singer & close friend of Lionel Bart, she was a guest of honour at a function at the club a`nd the committee was quite shocked when she criticised their Jewish only policy, whereas other clubs welcomed all.

    I don’t know if it’s the same nowadays but its a shame if it is.

  3. Adele permalink
    May 3, 2018

    Wonderful memories of social activities, creative arts, making lifelong friendships and especially weekends away at Skeet.
    “We are the Brady girls, we wear our hair in curls, we wear our old blue jeans, rolled up above our knees, etc..”, the girls club ‘anthem’.

  4. May 3, 2018

    I remember the Sunday night dances,with the likes of Screaming Lord Sutch,it was a long way back across the hall when you got refused a dance.
    Skeet house was great with tales of ghosts and the tunnel to Lullingstone castle.
    What role models Yogi Mayor,Little Mitch and Cyril Cornfield were to us.
    They were great days,never forgotten.

  5. May 3, 2018

    Shame I’ll miss it. Mrs N S Joseph was the stepmother of E M Joseph, my grandfather, who effectively ran the Brady for decades as well as being its honorary architect

  6. Paul permalink
    May 4, 2018

    The club was the place where we made lifelong friendships and learnt to grow from children and teenagers to socially responsible adults.
    One comment above by Eddie, is I’m afraid incorrect. The vast number of members were Jewish, but by default because of the club being in the heart of the Jewish East End. Non Jewish members were always welcomed.
    The late Stephen Fishman was responsible for booking Jimi Hendrix; I worked on his record stall with him for a while.
    Fifty plus years on a I still see and socialise with many Brady friends.

  7. Melvyn Brooks permalink
    May 4, 2018

    I have forwarded this great collection of Brady snaps to Lorna Cohen (nee Lyons) She was I think Girls Club Captain about 1950. Married to Arnold and brother to Peter. They lived in Lea View House. Now in Carmiel, Israel. Good friend of Gwen and Jack White
    I went to the 71st Hackney Scouts and in the winter of November 1958 we spent a weekend at Skeet. We froze. Still remember it as yesterday.
    Thanks for this write up. Have downloaded it to put it with my history of Brady and Skeet. The later by Michael Lazarus

  8. Eddie Johnson permalink
    May 5, 2018

    The documentary I referred to was WHERE HAVE ALL THE COCKNEYS GONE? made in the 70s’ and is worth looking for as Georgia Brown relives her life in and around Whitechapel and Shoreditch.

    Incidentally does anyone remember Sollys the record stall in Wentworth street, the haunt of trendy people every Sunday morning in the 50s’.

  9. Leon Rogers permalink
    May 17, 2018

    The Brady Clubs were fundamentally for Jewish boys and girls, but never completely closed to others be they Black, White, Catholic, Muslim etc.

    Quite honestly, as youngsters we never differentiate. We were all members !!

    Georgia Brown was a very fine Singer but she was incorrect.

  10. Arnold Tobe permalink
    May 31, 2018

    Have you got photos of 1958 Brady camp holiday?

  11. Evelyn gardell permalink
    June 2, 2018

    If you watch the Georgia brown doc you will see her talking to the then director of the club who is not very open to non Jews joining . Brown was a former member.the doc is a great tour of the east end

  12. Julie permalink
    June 4, 2018

    The documentary was called One Pair of Eyes: Who are the Cockneys Now? and it’s still available to watch on youtube. The discussion after an Awards Night at the club was filmed for the documentary and I and another member were included principally because we were very avid, active but non-Jewish member of Brady. I remember the Jimi Hendrix concert, I went out with Stephen Fishman’s brother for a while. Also the wonderful times at Skeet. The great club manager Denis Bonley encouraged us all, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, to take part in all the sporting activities: he set up an athletics group and a volleyball team alongside the existing very successful football and netball teams. Happy days.

  13. DAVID VALENTINE permalink
    September 6, 2018

    I was a brady boy,around 1965/67

    Loved that club,and going to skeet,i.o.w,and la napoule ,on holidays

    Athletics was my passion and I represented Brady in the A.J.Y. CHAMPIONSHIPS AT WIMBLEDON………………….so many happy memories,
    Unfortunately I have no photos of my time at the club

    which is upsetting,as I have a daughter that hears of my memories when I was a teen,but without a picture to show her.

    I do remember a photo of me breasting the tape at the AJY meeting,which used to hang on the wall at the club,and I wonder if it is amongst the photos that have been newly discovered?

    Avery slim chance ,I know but you never know.

    Best wishes to you all

    David Valentine

  14. Harvey Samuel permalink
    October 11, 2018

    I went to the club from 1956 until 1959. Took part in football and cricket and athletics and in those days we were the top Jewish club in London winning everything. We even had one of our soccer team play as a junior for a while Spurs.

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