So I’ve realized that I need to organize my days a bit while I’m not working to make sure I’m a bit productive. Friday (first day of unemployment) I decided to do a London Walk of the Old Jewish Quarter. It started by London Wall and continued through to Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market, ending at Liverpool Station. The area is now made up of people of different Indian descent as most of the Jews have moved out of city and to Golders Green and Hampstead (North West).
Old Jewish Quarter
However it was still very interesting to hear the history of the Jews coming to London and the different treatment they received by rulers. Since they could not take the Christian oath to entry many of the guild professions they resorted to money lending (as this was a sin for Christians). Many of the Jews came to London when they were sent out of Spain and Portugal – coming from Amsterdam in many cases. The Old Synagogue in this area is still a running Orthadox shul. It is over 300 years old and is the oldest synagogue in England! More info from Wikipedia here. (I know I’m cheating putting that link but it’s easier!)
After walking along where the Old Synagogue is….very near to the Gherkin/Swiss Re building…we continued on towards Petticoat Lane. This lane got it’s name because there was a saying that a woman could start at the beginning of the market lane and by the end she would have bought back a petticoat she had sold at the beginning!
We then continued towards Brick Lane where you can still see remnants of buildings with Jewish owners right next to the nearest curry shop! Pretty amazing. Also around here you will see several flats that go for 1 million GBP or more as the area has really become very gentrified. Who knows what the buildings will go for now though in the recession.
We walked through Spitalfields Market which now sells all types of foods in a big shed-like building. There are also lots of shops, etc.
The walk ended outside Liverpool Station where there is a monument to the Jewish children rescued by British men and women from the Nazis.
Overall a very interesting tour. Will have to go back sometime when you can actually go in the synagogue as it seems like a very beautiful one from what we were told. Lots of candles and the Ark is in the middle.
Pictures of my tour here.