Going, going, gone ...
Another of the tenuous links with the days when the End End was a Jewish enclave is about to be lost. S. Reiss (it's pronounced Rees) is just about the last Jewish-run business left at the heart of what was once the Jewish East End. It's an old-fashioned men's outfitters on Whitechapel High Street, near the junction with Goulston Street where - until not all that long ago - another old East End institution, Tubby Isaacs' seafood stall, had its pitch.
I got a shock when I saw the 'closing down' posters today as I passed by. I popped in and had a brief chat with Stuart behind the counter. Yes, he said, it's still a Jewish-run concern. No, it's not moving. It's shutting down altogether at the end of September.
I'm tempted to buy a memento - not sure what. Perhaps a trilby, which somehow seems to be a suitable purchase from the last Jewish menswear shop in this part of the city. The trilby I discover got its name from George du Maurier's 1894 novel Trilby - which featured a heroine so named. In the initial stage production, a narrow brimmed hat of this sort was worn - and the term stuck.
If I get one, I'll be sure to post a photo!
I used to work at S. Reiss menswear on whitechapel 1970-1972. Not long thereafter I migrated to Melbourne Australia but would always visit them when back in London to visit my parents who are now long gone. I knew Sam his wife, his son Stanley well who all worked in the shop and their long time worker Stuart. Then met his (Stanley's) son when on my last visit in 2009. He said he would eventually close down and move to Israel with his family. So ends another long chapter of Jews in Whitechapel. They had 2 shops, 1 pictured above and a larger one at Aldgate now roundabout which closed when they built the new roundabout. Bivracha.
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