WITH IMPORTANT UPDATES AT THE END
INCLUDING A PHOTO OF S. SCHWARTZ
This is Fournier Street in Spitalfields, just off Brick Lane. I took the photo on my phone this lunchtime. I like it. The signage is a remnant of the old Jewish East End. There are more around than you think - with still a handful of what I take to be Jewish run shops and stalls in and around Petticoat Lane.
As you can imagine, S. Schwartz at 33A Fournier Street has attracted a lot of attention from flaneurs and photographers. What was Mr Schwartz's line of business? Well, no one seems to know. This is not a shop front, by the way, but gates to a yard. There is an S. Schwartz, wholesale fishmongers, in north London - could this be where that business started out?
Below, lifted from the internet, is Fournier Street in 1946. The signage over this entrance was, seventy year ago, that of Express Dairy. So did the Schwartz business take over from them? Doesn't seem likely - that sign feels as if it is of inter-war vintage. Or did the dairy put its sign over the older one, so helping to preserve this icon from another era?
What do you reckon?
Here's a close-up from the photo above with the Express Dairy sign blown up. The dairy was still here in 1955 - here's the link to a great photo in the London Metropolitan Archive.
And to add to the mystery, below is the same place in 1975 from the marvellous Spitalfields Life website - as you can see, there's no signage at all. Curious!
A 1915 street directory lists 33 Fournier Street as the premises of Bernard Paradise, fur and skin dealer. Who can solve this mystery?
... S. Schwartz revisited
I went back to Fournier Street today (November 1) - and looking more carefully at the gateway, I realised that it wasn't simply graffiti and fly posting which had decorated the doors but installation art. Take a look at some of these close-ups:
... it makes me wonder if the 'S. Schwartz' signboard is also installation art rather than a remnant of Spitalfields past.
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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