The Brady Club Collection
The photographs on display here have been selected from a recently recovered collection of over 1,000 photographs of The Brady Club, which is currently under the care of the East End Archive at The Cass. The collection was donated for safe-keeping to Susan Andrews, the East End Archive co-ordinator, by Hannah Charlton, a former editor of the Sunday Times.
Here Hannah recounts what she remembers of the history of the collection:
"In 1979 I was a freelance music journalist and writer. I did some projects at what was then the Greater London Authority's ILEA [Inner London Education Authority] at Highbury Corner. This was a resource centre for the London schools producing materials of all sorts. One of the projects I worked on was called MARCHES - a book looking at both the anti-fascist marches in London's east end in the 1930s and the anti-racist marches taking place in London in the 1970s.
As part of researching images for the book I went to the Museum of Labour History at Limehouse, which was an extraordinary archive of material. I made several trips there and learned that they were going to have to move and couldn't store everything. I had been researching some other projects on music and young people and I offered to take these pictures to try and use them in some way or another. Later on when I was working as an editor at the Sunday Times I showed them to Ian Denning who has been an art director, photography book designer and specialist in photography archives for several decades. Between us we decided to hold on to the images and hope that in due course the right project would come up to be able to use them. The boxes were stored by me in my husband's Clerkenwell flat and forgotten. (Later, Ian Denning subsequently bought the flat and rediscovered the photographs last year when clearing his attic.) So it was Ian who unearthed them and brought them to light and so back to the East End.
With the help of Zelda Cheatle I was introduced to you - and the pictures can finally come back home to where they belong."
The Brady Boys' Club, established in Brady Street, Whitechapel, was one of the first Jewish boys' clubs in Great Britain. It was founded in 1896 by philanthropists, Lady Charlotte Rothschild, Mrs Arthur Franklin and Mrs N S Joseph to assist the hundreds of Jewish immigrant families from Germany and eastern Europe who were fleeing persecution. The club originally provided underprivileged boys from the East End with recreational and educational opportunities as well as the chance to go on holiday to a summer camp. In 1921, due to its increasing popularity, the club moved to new, larger premises in Durward Street E1 and in the same year, Miriam Moses founded The Brady Girls' Club, which was located in Hanbury Street E1. After the end of the Second World War the boys subsequently joined the girls in Hanbury Street.
The Brady Club proved very successful and as time progressed the range of activities on offer grew to include: a non-denominational Children’s Play Centre; an Old People’s Club; an Old Members Club; a Mother’s Club; a Parent’s Association; an Old Pensioner’s Club offering meals and outings; camps and holidays in Britain and abroad, including Sidmouth in Devon and Schwellbrunn in Switzerland, for all its young members; and a place in the country, Davidson House, Skeet Hill, Kent, which functioned both as an country outlet and a training centre. On a regular basis, The Brady Club provided amateur dramatics, sports and exercise, inter-club competitions, a camera club, scouts and guides troupes, access to arts and many practical training workshops. Indeed, by 1966 the Club was providing a huge range of opportunities for over 1,000 people a week in East London and was set to expand.
However, as the Jewish Community dispersed to North London, Essex and further afield, the club declined with the last youth members leaving in the 1970s when the Hanbury Street building was sold to Tower Hamlets Council, later re-opening as The Brady Arts and Community Centre. In the 1990s the original Brady Club moved to new premises in North London where some of the past members started to run activities for a new generation.
Susan Andrews, East End Archive Co-ordinator