Saturday 27 November 2010

Brick Lane and beigels

Brick Lane
Sun 14 Nov

My brother Brian and I had a look round the Brick Lane area a week or so ago, with our second cousin Jeff, who was on a visit from the US. It's where our grandparents settled, and where our Dad was brought up, along with all his brothers and sisters, getting on for 100 years ago. Grimsby Street is still there, though the terrace they lived in has gone, unsurprisingly, and the looming red-brick railway arches have been replaced by a characterless, but probably safer, viaduct. There's barely a hint that for the best part of a hundred years this was a teeming, thriving Jewish area, the hub of East European Jewish immigration to London. We did manage to munch a beigel (pronounced 'beigel' where we come from) in the street, though, for old times' sake.

We'd never met Jeff - or any of his family - before, and until a a few years ago were only vaguely aware of their existence. This was the start for me of an intensive week of family encounters - the following day I set off for Israel, where I saw more relatives I'd never met before. I'll post a bit about the trip here, and the pictures are finding their way gradually up onto Flickr.

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