London's East End Synagogues, cemeteries and more......

My personal journey through the Jewish East End of London

1930's Memories of Petticoat Lane - Ruda's Wet Fish Shop, 16 Wentworth St, London E1

1935 photo of Jack Ruda of Ruda's wet fish shop, 16 Wentworth Street (Petticoat Lane)The photograph of Jacob (Jack) Ruda on the left (double click to enlarge) was taken December 6th, 1935 outside Ruda’s Wet Fish Shop, 16 Wentworth Street, East London.  Wentworth Street together with Middlesex Street is better known as Petticoat Lane.  Jack Ruda was my grandfather, one of ten brothers and two sisters.  I believe eight brothers worked in the fish shop which in those days provided a living for them and their families.  I also recall that one of the staff was Jack Solomons, the boxing promoter, before he went on to better and less fishier things.  Jack was the son of Harris and Pearl Ruda of Sky Peals Estate, also known as Ruda’s Farm of Chingford, Essex, which is no longer there, but, there is apparently a road called Sky Peals Road and a narrow lane called Jews Passage which went through the original orchard of the farm. 


One story which always amused the family, was of a woman who bought a live carp for Rosh Hashanah and took it home to kill and cook it.  Weeks later she was asked if the fish was good and she said, it was still swimming in her bath as she had not the heart to kill it!   Like the white coats, not much got washed - including people! I recall my grandfather, my uncles Sam, Nat, Jimmy, Teddy all coming home on a Friday afternoon, laden with greasy matt bags full of fish, bagels, rich yellow cream cheese, Vienna's, herring and picked green cucumbers fished out of  large barrels from the deli’s in the Lane with bagels bought from Polly the bagel seller. Polly sat opposite the shop outside Marks delicatessen,  always wearing black, with a sacking apron and I, even then, wondered if she lived permanently in these stiff formal clothes and boots and whether she ever took them off.  It was a rich diet, full of cholesterol by today’s standards, but what a memory of such wonderful food – nothing today tastes like those feasts.  They have all gone now, except one uncle, a son of my grandfather.

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