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David Hoffman’s East End Jewish Shops

October 13, 2023
by the gentle author

We have raised £27,000 to RELAUNCH SPITALFIELDS LIFE BOOKS and we have UNTIL MIDNIGHT to reach our target of £35,000.




S Keil, Hessel St, 1972


A generation ago, Hessel St and the surrounding streets were the focus of a long-established Jewish community. In 1972, David Hoffman documented the last days of some of the characterful shops and small businesses that once filled this corner of the East End.


M Rappaport, Fishmonger, Hessel St

“There was a man who sold sarsaparilla at tuppence a glass from a window in his sweet shop at the top of Cannon St Road until ten o’clock at night. One day, this man was murdered and the police found a box of money under his bed – forty or sixty thousand pounds – he had been saving all the tuppences for forty years. They bricked up the window afterwards.” – Setven Berkoff

Hessel St

D. R. Zysman’s pickles & delicatessen shop, Hessel St

L Herman, Koser Butcher & Poulterer, Hessel St

P Lipman, Kosher Poultry Dealer, Hessel St

Solly Grannatt in the doorway of his jewellers’s shop at 17 Black Lion Yard

The Express Shoe Repair Shop, Hessel St

The Express Shoe Repair Shop

The bulldozer moves in on the kosher poulterer’s shop in Hessel St

Photographs copyright © David Hoffman

John Allin’s paining of Hessel St

You may also like to take a look at 

Alan Dein’s East End Shopfronts

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Andy permalink
    October 13, 2023

    Good pictures.
    I recommend viewers to watch’The Bespoke Overcoat”with Mr Kossoff and Mr Bass on YouTube

  2. October 13, 2023

    These are David Hoffman’s wonderful documents of the probably unique atmosphere of Hessel Street at that time. Nothing of that is left…

    Love & Peace

  3. mel w permalink
    October 13, 2023

    so full of London history & atmosphere…oh the pretty blouses in the first one…

  4. October 13, 2023

    GA, may Friday the thirteenth be a lucky day for your fund-raising efforts! Onward and upward.

    I love the vitality of these photos. After wandering up and down Hessel Street this morning, I am almost giddy with the “muchness” of the place. Every storefront and doorway is full of offerings, as well as dedicated merchants, mostly with a smile. The little candy kiosk was absolutely awash in temptations (not to mention: packaging design!) and I could also savor the aromas coming from the deli and pickle establishment. Pass the mustard.

    Thank you for revealing this community and its industrious people.

  5. Christine permalink
    October 13, 2023

    What a beautiful painting of the street and it oozed busyness ! The first photo is beautiful and remember these shops with lady’s under garment in beautiful wooden drawers with glass at the front! I sadly googled Hessel Street and so so as now just looks like a cut through alley x

  6. Mark permalink
    October 13, 2023

    Picture 3.
    Milk tray bars, an expensive treat as a kid, the absolute apex of choc bars. Orange and strawberry creams amongst others, but Valhalla was reached via the lime barrel, now sadly cold shouldered by chocolatiers.
    Aztec bars were pretty neat also.
    When Cadburys was good…. great pictorial memories.

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