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The Costume & Mantle Worker

October 21, 2016
by the gentle author

I spent an interesting afternoon in the Bishopsgate Institute archive recently studying copies The Costume & Mantle Worker, a bilingual journal in English and Yiddish for members of the United Ladies Tailors Trade Union. In Spitalfields, we are still aware of the former textile trade and I was especially fascinated by these adverts, reproduced below, which set me on a quest to discover which of these premises are still standing.

Formerly B. Weinberg, Printer, 138 Brick Lane

Formerly Folman’s Hotel & Restaurant, 128 Whitechapel Rd, Opposite Pavilion Theatre

The Gentle Author’s tailors’ stool

Formerly M. S. Rosenbloom & Co for sewing machines, 50 Brick Lane

Pages of The Costume & Mantle Worker courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

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8 Responses leave one →
  1. October 21, 2016

    Nice to see the old adverts. The family of my mother all worked in the ‘rag trade’ for various firms and shops. Valerie

  2. October 21, 2016

    Love the tailor’s stool a fabulous link with the past. How easily this could have been chopped up for firewood – a survivor to be cherished along with its advert.

  3. Eddie Johnson permalink
    October 21, 2016

    Fascinating, I used to see all the pressers throng every morning round Black Lion Yard, I was on the top of a trolley bus!

  4. Ros permalink
    October 21, 2016

    This really shows the value of keeping archives on all sorts of subjects. There’s so much of interest here about the Rag Trade, Trades Union history, Jewish firms and a great chunk of Spitalfields and indeed British history. Loved ‘ the duty of every citizen is to make the home beautiful’! Also the photos add to the ongoing story beautifully.

  5. Adele permalink
    October 21, 2016

    Most of my father’s family were in the East End rag trade. On Sunday mornings it was customary for the out of work tailors, machinists and pressers to meet in Whitechapel across from Greatorex Street (near the bombed out Pavillion) to find a job – it was known as “Going to the Union”. Such an interesting piece of our disappearing history in the area.

  6. October 22, 2016

    Absolutely fascinating. I love it when you juxtapose the past with the modern day.

  7. October 22, 2016

    Thanks for this research. I only wish there were as many Trade Union activists in the East End today as there were then.

  8. October 22, 2016

    The radical nature of Jewish activism within the trade union movement of the 1930s is often overlooked. Obviously the Nazi Holocaust murdered millions of European Jewish people but it also destroyed the influence of the socialist – and anti zionist – Bund. Unfortunately such a radical tradition is not widely known – or acknowledged – today. Thanks for bringing it to light.
    (The William Morris reference to having beautiful things in your home is a tad ironic considering he was generally scathing about the skills of the furniture making trade in East London.)

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