Old time Petticoat Lane stallholders to stage grand reunion at Whitechapel’s Brady centre
- Credit: Lesley Love collection
A grand reunion is being staged by former traders over the years from Petticoat Lane and the Whitechapel Waste markets.
They meet up at the Brady arts centre on Sunday, the venue that once served as a youth club and East End community centre from the 1930s to the ’60s.
Retired stallholder Frank Pittal has spent three years tracking down market people and anyone who went to ‘The Brady’ in the post-war years.
“This may be our only reunion,” he told the East London Advertiser.
“Many have long since moved away from the East End, but have now contacted us and are turning up for Sunday’s reunion.
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“Sadly, many of the colourful characters of Petticoat Lane no longer with us.”
He remembers figures like ‘Prince Monolulu’ selling horse-racing tips with his street cries of ‘I gotta horse’.
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Another was Sid Strong, featured on television in the 1960s, who drew crowds to his crockery stall throwing plates into the air and catching them—never once dropping any!
Frank, now 68, sold shoes at both Petticoat Lane and Whitechapel for more than 30 years before retiring in 2015.
He is a third-generation stallholder whose grandfather and father sold fruit’n’veg in Hessel Street market off the Commercial Road.
Frank set up his Memories of Petticoat Lane Facebook page three years ago with just 30 people—which now has 1,350 members and contributors all over the world.
Among Sunday’s guests at ‘the Brady’ are Clive Beddington from the Jewish East End Celebration Society, Doreen Golding the former Petticoat Lane Pearly Queen and local historian Eleanor Bloom.
Frank hopes to screen the 1955 ‘Kid for Two Farthings’ movie at the reunion, starring David Kossoff, Sid James and Diana Dors, which was mainly filmed around Petticoat Lane.
A nostalgic exhibition about ‘the Brady’ was staged in the summer with 600 old photographs and memorabilia from 1943 to 1960 showing youth club youngsters that defined the East End’s Jewish community back then.
Many former Brady members turned up at the exhibition at Whitechapel’s Sir John Cass at school for a nostalgic journey back in time.
The pictures had been hidden away undiscovered in an attic for 60 years when they were found and used for the exhibition, which was opened by former ‘Brady girl’ Beattie Orwell who, at 100, is one of the last living veterans of the 1936 Battle of Cable Street.