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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.

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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28 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.

  15. Leila, Cumber permalink
    December 29, 2018

    I love reading about Spitalfields. My grandfather, Louis Nathan, had a greengrocery business in Spitalfields late 1890’s into early 1900’s.

  16. Derek Cox OBE permalink
    December 30, 2018

    In March 1963, as young newly qualified youth worker, I had just been made redundant as the Youth Leader at the Hi Fi Youth Club in Hemel Hempstead. I was in between jobs but thankfully for me I was asked to cover for Ken Hammond the Youth |Leader at the Ilford Jewish Youth Club ( located very close to the Ilford Railway Station) from April to August 1963. I had a very happy time there and I wish to record my thanks to Bernard Sinclair and Lional Franks who were members of the Club’s Management Committee.

    I came to Bethnal Green in September 1963 to work at the Bruce Youth Club (St Hilda’s East
    Settlement) on the Boundary Estate where there were a number of Jewish Families mainly elderly. I remember having tea with Katey Levy who ran the “Daffodil Ladies Group” at St. Hilda’s.

    On 1st November 1965 the old boroughs of Bethnal Green, Stepney, and Poplar merged into one. If my memory serves me right they were all solidly Labour with the sole exception of Solly Kaye who was a Communist. There was a joke going around at the time that there were in fact three parties: Bethnal Green was Protestant; Poplar was Catholic, and Stepney was Jewish. There certainly was an element of truth in it. The reality was that the New London Borough of Tower Hamlets absorbed all the paraphernalia of the three old Boroughs, and many people lost their jobs…..for example there was one Town Clerk instead of three. They had a job finding a building big enough to accommodate the new system.

    With my new job as a Detached Youth Worker with the YWCA Avenues Unlimited Youth Project in 1970 I had to carry out a survey of current youth work in the newly formed London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

    In my book “A Community Approach to Youth Work in East London” published in 1970 I described the Brady Club with Professional Leadership as:

    “Open Monday to Thursday and Sunday
    Large membership 5-21 years, predominately Jewish
    Interdenominational Play Centre
    Manyu activities including weekend courses at their own house in Kent
    Annual Camps

    I had regular contact with the Brady Club particularly with Yogi Mayer (may be wrong spelling).
    We went together with other Inner London Education Authority Youth Workers on a fact finding trip to Berlin. At that time you required special permission to visit East Berlin. It was a very emotional experience for Yogi as it was the first time he visited his home since the beginning of the second World War.

    The Brady Club(s) now operates as an Arts Center for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

    Derek Cox OBE

  17. Michael Green permalink
    July 13, 2019

    I was a Brady Boy from 1952 until (about) 1958 or 1959. Those years changed my life. While I may not have visited the club building after 1959, I remained friends with other Brady Boys for years afterwards, and until I moved to Canada in 1965. Today, I’m still in touch with old friends and visit with one Brady Boy in particular whenever my wife and I visit Los Angeles. That’s when we reminisce and paw over old pictures and memories of the East End and Brady in particular. My friend has managed to stay in touch with several more Brady Boys and Brady Girls, than I have. Seeing your page has brought back many. many, wonderful memories. Thank you.

  18. Peter Modler permalink
    December 31, 2019

    I am that Brady boy Michael Green mentioned. I left the UK in 1955 for La Cal. and discovered what I perceived then paradise. My time at Brady was some of the best experience , and helped prepare me for my new life in America. I returned for the 100 year reunion in 1996 and enjoyed it imensley. Six or Seven of OLD bradyiens get together every other year in Florida for an reunion. I would love to here from any of you that might remember me. E mail is

  19. Ray Knight permalink
    January 7, 2020

    I read with great interest the articles relating to the Brady Boys Club.I can confirm that, as mentioned, the membership was predominately Jewish but all boys were welcomed.I was a non Jewish boy who attended the Club in 1954/1957 I lived in Cavell Street(opposite Brady Street) went to Rutland St School and subsequently to Central Foundation Boys Grammar School.Most of my friends at this time were Jewish and we all ‘got on’ together.
    Brady had a very good football team probably one of the best A.J.Y teams in the country.I was made Captain of the team and still have a photos of Ted Ditchburn(the Spurs and England goalkeeper) presenting us a silver cup following upon a successful season.
    Denis Bonley went to Central Foundation he was a fine sprinter-won all the races he took part in-.
    All good memories/lots of friends made and often remembered.
    I would love to hear from anybody that might remember me-In the photo I have of members of the football team I recognise Harvey Samuel(tall lad with a mop of black hair) standing by the side of Ted Ditchburn.Hope you read this Harvey and that you are keeping well-my email address is

  20. Paul Singleton permalink
    May 13, 2020

    Loved reading these comments. Many happy memories.

    I was a Brady Boy through the late 60s to perhaps 1970 or shortly after as far as I recall – my early-mid teens. I remember well the chaotic football on the fenced-in roof, the canteen and the short-lived model railway club. I vaguely remember Skeet though I think it might have been a day-trip. I also did rifle shooting with the club which was based at Chelsea Barracks and run by the Army.

    I even played once or twice for the football third team but I was dreadful, so they must have been desperate!

    I thought it was a fantastic place though I was the other end of Stepney and it was a fair old walk to get there. Had a huge number of laughs and felt more at home than in any other club I belonged to.

    I thought though I needed to add a comment about some of the religious origin observations above….

    I was a non-Jewish member (Catholic) and never detected the slightest awareness between the youngsters relating to religious differences. As far as I remember, we were seamless and united. All my friends in those days, without exception, were Jewish. Faith never and I mean never came up between us or inside Brady with other kids.

    However, I must take slight issue with the suggestion above that the club was open to all. It wasn’t and I think historical accuracy is important.

    When I joined, I joined the same evening as three of my Jewish pals. In those days, there was a little “interview” the first evening where the club’s leader made the rules clear. He also said very politely and with good humour but equally serious intent to all of us, that Brady was primarily a club for Jewish youth and I would be admitted only because their policy was not to split-up Jewish and non-Jewish close friends.

    I had absolutely no problem with that at all. I understood and respected it. How long that policy lasted or whether it was ever “official” I do not know. I do know that another non-Jewish boy from my school applied independently to Brady about a year later and he was refused membership on the grounds that he was not Jewish and had no close Jewish friends in the club.

    I don’t think this changes for one second the wonderful nature of the club but as I said, I do not believe it was quite the open-door for everyone, irrespective of denomination, that some appear to recall it to have been.

    This is purely a statement for the record and balance. I wouldn’t swap my memories of Brady for anything. A wonderful place that did only good. Best wishes to all.

  21. Michael Green permalink
    June 3, 2020

    It’s Michael Green again. I wrote a comment in July, 2019 and never knew that my friend, Peter Modler, saw my entry and followed with comments in December 2019. We didn’t go out to L.A. last December so didn’t see Peter. Now with the Covid-19 pandemic, we aren’t sure when we can go again. That’s when memories are important. My wife, Marilyn and I were recently talking about memories; how personal they are. Not because something personal needs to be hidden, rather, that some memories are of experiences which have made us who we are. That’s how I always feel when I think of Brady. This evening, I just started browsing Brady and, an hour later, I’m fully back in the early 1950s, reminiscing at Brady, at my old school, at Johnny Isaacs, and, never to be forgotten, at Skeet. Harry Potter had nothing on us. Our steam engine out to Knockholt with soot in the compartment; the old Austin taxi, with cracked, worn leather seats we drove in from the station to Skeet’s country location. Oh my, what wonderful memories. No, certainly nothing to hide. I’ll be back. I need to browse some more. Stay healthy everyone.

  22. February 5, 2021

    Looking for MARK ROSE, my late father. He boxed for the Brady Boys club, everyone had photographs, except me. His address would have been Valance Rd, or nearby.

    Can anyone help? Did anyone remember Mark Rose?

    Man thanks

    Jenifer Moss.

  23. Marilyn Gwyn-Jones permalink
    February 8, 2021

    Came across this site by accident when searching photos of Skeet Hill House in Kent.
    My father John Henry Sexton was caretaker and handy man for Skeet Hill House. During his time in London he also worked for Brady Boys Club and Brady Girls Club. He was particularly confident in painting n decorating, wood work, electrical, you name he could do it. When in Skeet Hill House my mother was the cook when, at weekends, the house would be occupied by members of both clubs. She also ran the canteen in the boys club.
    Although my parents were not Jewish I was able to become a member of the Girls club where I made many friendships. I remember Brenda Black who married Lionel Schaffer, June Orwell who married a police officer, Ruth who married Michael a member of the Boys Club and I believe they went to America. Hannah ? I still have a photograph of Hannah and me bathing in the sea when on holiday I think in Switzerland.

    Now the boys. Michael Green, David Powell, Eddie (?) and Cliff Jones who also went to America and appeared in several episodes of Space 199
    I also remember two of the managers, brothers whose surname was Kaye and also the never unforgettable Yogi Mayor.
    Me, being Welsh as you can see from my surname, married my childhood sweetheart . We had known each all our lives and when Peter came to London to become a Draughtsman we met up. We have 3 children, 3 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Peter and I celebrated our 60th Wedding anniversary in March 2020.
    I have written a book and during this awful time I have become a keen crafter, crocheting and fabric toys. These are sent to a charity who allow children to choose a toy when they have had to go through having blood tests.

  24. June 24, 2021

    Working on family genealogy here in Toronto, I came across a plaque at the Brady Centre in Hanbury Street commemorating Brady Boys and Girls Clubs. I know my parents, Bert (born 1911) and Sadie(born 1913), nee Podolsky, both belonged and imagine they were enthusiastic participants.

    Don’t expect to hear from any of their peers but, perhaps, some grandchildren may recognize the name.

  25. Mary Tabone permalink
    November 15, 2021

    Hi all, my sister and I attended the Brady Club. We were there from around 1964-70. We both have very fond memories of it. The activities, trips, the walk for charity and so many much else. The staff. Loretta Canter. Ms Green. I have some pictures too.
    Does anyone remember me and my sister (Mary and Jean)?

  26. George Cummings permalink
    November 27, 2021

    I taught pottery in the evening at the Club during the winter of 1964-65. Where was it located then?
    In late 1964 or early 1965, the Beatles gave a charity concert to which employees of the Club were given tickets. Unfortunately, I was in the Midlands visiting relatives for the holidays and didn’t get my ticket until I returned to late to use it. The Club’s manager told me I didn’t miss anything, because the Beatles couldn’t be heard above the noise of screaming kids.

  27. Christine Rolfe permalink
    January 23, 2022

    Mary Tabone, I was there at the same time, I remember Miss Green, I have very fond memories of the club and Skeet and the dances. Did you know an Elaine Holeman?

  28. December 30, 2022

    I was in a Chelsea beat group called The Sloane Squares in the 1960s and we were booked by Trevor Fishman to play at the Brady Club several times in 1966/67. We played with Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and The Creation, where the lead guitarist used a violin bow on his guitar, and others. Pink Floyd were a little too avant-garde for the audience who booed them off, chanting for The Sloane Squares! Anyone got any pictures? Our lead singer Pete Gage went on to sing with Doctor Feelgood.

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