Hotel plans have been halted on Mother Kelly’s doorstep—down Paradise Row.

PUBLISHED: 20:44 14 September 2012

Cllr Peter Golds... down Paradise Row

Cllr Peter Golds... down Paradise Row

carmen valino all rights

Hotel plans in London’s cockney East End have been halted on Mother Kelly’s doorstep—down Paradise Row.


On Mother Kelly’s doorstep, down Paradise Row,

I’d sit along ol’ Nelly, she’d sit along ol’ Joe.

She’s got a little hole in her frock, hole in her shoe,

Hole in her sock, where her toe peeped through,

But Nelly was—the smartest down our alley.

On Mother Kelly’s doorstep, I’m wondering now,

If li’l gal Nelly, remembers Joe her beau,

and does she love me like she used to do,

On Mother Kelly’s doorstep, down Paradise Row...

Now you can “sit along Ol’ Nelly, who can sit along Joe” without fear that an 80-room Holiday Inn Express will disturb the idyllic peace—for the time being, that is.

The cockney music hall song, based on a real ‘Mother Kelly’ named Nelly Moss in Bethnal Green’s cobbled-stone Paradise Row at the turn of the last century, was invoked at a Tower Hamlets planning meeting when councillors deferred an application for the four-storey hotel.

“We were concerned at the design,” Cllr Peter Golds told the Advertiser. “It would clash with the Museum of Childhood opposite and the remaining Georgian town houses down Paradise Row.”

They had no problem with its height or number of rooms—it was just the composite cladding with leaf motifs on the front, which was described as “complementary to the canopy of the adjoining petrol station!”

Holiday Inn was disappointed, but undeterred. The JMH hotel group, which bought the vacant Balls Brothers building in Cambridge Heath Road when the wine merchants closed down in 2010, returns to the planning committee with a fresh scheme next month when they promise to come up with “a better design.”

The builders could start work early next year, Mother Kelly is warned.

Paradise Row was immortalised by Alex Stephens’ song about Nelly Moss, a young Jewish immigrant from Lithuania who gave birth to twins Billy and Richard Martin. The father died at sea in 1911 before he could marry Nelly.

Billy went on to be deputy Mayor of Finsbury in 1939 at the outbreak of the Second World War. Richard joined the Army and rose to captain.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East London Advertiser