‘Victorian Fast Food’ – What Food was Commercially Available in East London between 1848 – 1913?
Introductory remarks and thanks
‘Hunger was patched into them with straw and rag and wood and paper; Hunger was repeated in every fragment of the small modicum of firewood that the man sawed off; Hunger stared down from the smokeless chimneys, and started up from the filthy street that had no offal, among its refuse, of anything to eat. Hunger was the inscription on the baker’s shelves, written in every small loaf of his scanty stock of bad bread; at the sausage-shop, in every dead-dog preparation that was offered for sale. Hunger rattled its dry bones among the roasting chestnuts in the turned cylinder; Hunger was shred into atomics in every farthing porringer of husky chips of potato, fried with some reluctant drops of oil.’
The commercial food of Victorian-era East London has been academically overlooked, and this dissertation wishes to shed some light on this often-unexplored part of history. While depictions of the poverty such as Jack London’s The People of the Abyss (1903) cannot be contradicted, they are, after all, a vast number of accounts from Victorian London that document it’s poverty. But there are also facts and accounts that prove that there was some mobility, an open viable food market, and cuisine that was commercially available. The significance of this has been unnoticed and is only starting to be studied and examined once again. The writing and documentation of the culinary scene of Victorian East London have not been discussed or examined thoroughly, while other food ‘scenes’ like French haute cuisine style have been.
By going through the accounts of journalists, newspapers archives as well as records, we can trace the ‘story’ of food in this era. This can tell us numerous things about migration and culinary culture, and by examining this, we ‘humanise the past’, add colour and voice to the social history. This dissertation focuses on an oft-neglected part of social and culinary history, shedding light on everyday occurrences and the collected voice of working classes. It also adds to the argument of what migrants have contributed to the nation.
The commercial food of Victorian-era East London is an oft-overlooked, unheard of subject. While academics have paid tribute more to the haute cuisine stylings of French-influenced West End restaurants, such as food historian Ken Alba stating in his lecture series; Food: a Culinary History: ‘. . . everyone in Europe [indisputably] imitates French cooking. . .’ Fewer have investigated the East End of London, derisively calling the British cuisine ‘beef fed prosperity.’ As a result, Alba argues that ‘British culinary history is really underappreciated and misunderstood today.’ Knowledge of what common people ate in this time and era has been understood as a limited choice, restricted by unrelenting poverty. Primarily, it is considered that most people ate a diet consisting of meat and potatoes, with bread, butter, bacon, and cheese as occasional rarities. And while the reality of that scarcity cannot be ignored, this is not entirely strictly the whole truth.
As London historian Jerry White notes, that cities like London could simultaneously be so rich and yet unremittingly poor at the same time are a contradiction for historians on this era to note. But while this has been remarked upon, other historians of this era, such as Marc Brodie, has argued that ‘superficial and unjustified assumptions regarding [Victorian East End’s] poverty, race and religion has clouded analysis on the subject.’ What Brodie is suggesting about the presumptions of Victorian-era living is that there is more nuance to the living situations of the working classes.
While written accounts such as Jack London’s The People of the Abyss (1903) or W.T Stead’s The Bitter Cry of Outcast London (1883) have led historians such as Matthew Green and Jerry White to write about the desperation of living in the Victorian slums of East London, it also cannot be overlooked that during this period, food commerce did appear in this area too. This dissertation explores the multiple food outlets, businesses and sources that provided commercial food in the East End area of London, a lot of which have been unacknowledged or overlooked. It investigates the commercial food shops and options that the working people of this area had. It contributes towards a growing ‘neo-Victorian’ trend in academia, partly spearheaded by Brodie’s efforts, that revaluates parts of Victorian London and questions the narrative that the East End was rife with relentless poverty that never progressed.
And it does seem that there are academics who believe in this method of talking about the past, but this revaluation has only recently begun. Food writers and academics are just starting to study this critical re-examination, such as Alastair Jones and Nigel Owen’s work in questioning the challenge of immobility in East London in 2016. Or specifically in the case of food, Victorian historian Brenda Assael, writing in 2018; ‘We also need to recognise the existence of [food] establishments that served the needs of [. . . ] even the working poor.’ This is an important point, and the evidence is there that there was certainly business and trade; someone kept these businesses afloat. As East End resident from this time notes in his memoirs, there was even ‘. . . wealthy restaurants – there was a couple in Bishopsgate and another in Threadneedle Street.’ John K. Walton, who wrote Fish & Chips and the Working Class, remarked more indignantly: this neglect of a national institution reflects historians’ priorities, expectations, and agenda-setting rather than any shortage of source material. So, there is certainly light to be shed on this area. With a chronological structure, we can see a progression from sparse and embryonic business from the ‘Jewish ghetto’ and the ‘piemen’, to an increasingly complex set up in pie, mash, and eel shops with specialised equipment and indeed, a food ‘scene’ that thrived amongst the working class. By writing about this, we can illuminate the increasing sophistication in businesses, as well as culinary culture and social history.
This approach relies largely on written documents and oral accounts, taking what they said about the cuisine and the shops then telling the story of commodified food, and through that, everyday life. It also utilises historical artefacts like posters or books written at this time that documented day to day life. Journalists like Henry Mayhew spent a lot of time in these areas, documenting everyday life, usually in serialised accounts like London’s The People of the Abyss or Henry Mayhew’s Labour London and the Living Poor (1861). These writers spent their time around East London and documented day to day living, as a ‘how the other half live’ slices of life that exposed how much harder the working people had it, which is where the image of the squalidness comes from. Or in the case of writer and journalist George Dowd, who recorded the commercial food ‘scene’ of the city in the Food of London (1852). By using their own writing, we can reconstruct our understanding of the East End of London, contributing towards a clearer view of day-to-day life for the working people of East London. This dissertation relies largely on journalists’ accounts of the day. These commercial trades also relied on publicity, as a result, there is also a record of newspapers, first-hand records, that tells us explicitly what was popular and sold, or from advertisements used in the daily papers that their target audience, the working people, could get a hold of. Papers like London Chronicle or The Daily News have collections documenting what shops were in the area, how popular they were or what they sold.
By exploring parts of what the working people of East London ate, and how it was prepared, we can gain a clearer insight into the average diet, and what resources were available. Doing this provides details of culinary trade, this dissertation answers questions such as what ordinary working classes ate, what their living expenses were or what dietary preferences and what options they had. It also can show us a clearer demographic of who specifically was living in these areas, involving differing religious, cultural, and ethnic demographics. But most importantly, it tells us what was consumed. This gives us a clearer insight into who these people were and their day to day lives and contributes to their collective ‘voice’. Who were these people and why did they do this? This matters for historians as it puts a face to a name; a ‘humanisation of the past’, something that can be overlooked while writing about the history. Historical researcher Professor David G. Vanderstel argues: ‘. . .the historical past [. . .] may be somewhat static and simplistic, lifeless and meaningless. The past, however, can be made relevant to the present by emphasising the human actors on the stage of history. . .’ But to address this agenda, we must first turn our attention to the historical context of this period which provides the background story.
Victorian London during this time was the centre of the British Empire, and as such as a hotbed for growing industry, trade, and population. Historian Neil Evans wrote that: ‘London came to be a capital of the empire rather than as one for England or Britain, the natural focus of a growing expatriate community which spread around the world.’ Historian Eric Hobsbawm described London as ‘the world’s switching board’ in terms of its importance to the world’s economy at this time. This was triggered predominantly by the boom of the industrial and second agricultural revolution. This prosperity for workers was starting to pay off. From 1847 to 1854, the British Isles experienced a diaspora as masses of working-class people who had enough capital to move to gentrified, greener pastures, leaving a hole for work in a burgeoning empire. The number that left has been estimated to be around 250,000 throughout the entire British Isles.
Simultaneously, just before this period, international trading had been stultified by the Corn Laws, which created high tariffs for exporting goods such as wheat, oats, and barley. The high price tax was meant to act as insurance for British merchants but was considered a deterrent for many to trade. These were repealed, before being totally abolished in 1846 by Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel. This created a free trade situation for British goods. The prevailing mood for traders during the Corn Law repeals encouraged food in the burgeoning free market, and more traders were exporting from around the world, but primarily of colonies. As a result, international trading could take off without a large financial limitation. From 1846 onwards, Britain, or more specifically, London’s trading would generate larger quantities for wholesalers. This meant that they could now buy and sell larger capacities of raw ingredients for cooking. By 1850, Britain’s dependence on food imports was viewed as something to be celebrated. This environment initiated the first steps towards an active food industry for the country.
With the diaspora and the open food trade market, this created a “clean slate” situation in the capital, with greater prospects of jobs and living situations. Seeing their chance, several different migrant groups started to move into the cheapest areas of London. Places like Poplar and West Ham were rapidly filling up with the working masses, flocking to the city in search of work. By 1870, the population of London was over one million, one of the first cities since antiquity to achieve this. By 1884, the population had expanded to 4.5 million, and by 1911 that grew into 7 million. Amongst them, as we shall see, bakers, chefs, and other food businesspeople. British Food historian Panikos Panayi identifies five distinct migrant groups that used this opportunity to open food commerce ventures in London.
This dissertation opens with this as its background; the first wave of those migrants, the Jews, and their bakeries, then documenting the Jewish rise of fish and chips, before finishing with the rise of pie, mash, and eels. Using a chronological approach that will go right up to the beginning of the First World War, then switches to the story of the piemen that ran concurrently amongst the first three chapters. This is done relatively for the sake of simplicity, but we can see that it does provide a coherency. Through doing this we can explore the culinary habits of the working classes. Ultimately, this dissertation will cover four main chapters; Jewish bakeries, fish & chips, pie, mash, and eels, and piemen, but will also acknowledge that there were “mini-niches” along the way too. This discussion will flesh out a larger story about migration and social history.
“. . . These delicatessens marinated beef briskets for close to a fortnight with a pound of common salt, half an ounce of saltpetre, and a pound of brown sugar. After the marinade, these briskets would be boiled in a pot of water with a mirepoix. . .”
Chapter 1: Jewish Bakeries from 1850 – 1874
One of the largest of these migrant groups identified as traveling towards East London was Eastern European Jews, who were fleeing ‘state-sponsored persecution and anti-Semitic attitudes from Central and Eastern Europe, or from even as far as Russia. From 1850 onwards, many of them settled in the slums of East London into areas such as Stoke Newington, but predominantly Whitechapel. These areas became ‘Jewish territories’, or the ‘Jewish ghetto’ as the number of Jews flourished into entire communities. Many of these people were traditional skilled labourers, bringing with them specific trades such as culinary skills such as baking. To make a living, they started using their skills to sell their trade, converting shops into bakeries. Soon these bakehouses started to become established, with over 250 in East London alone, as recorded in the Post Office’s London Commercial and Professional Directory for 1852. Primarily, these bakeries appealed to their own community, but they soon became popular throughout the local neighbourhood. The bread sold from these would be brown, wholemeal or rye, or rye mixed with wheat flour. They specialised in Hebrew style loaves such as sweet challah, and dry rye breads, and the Jewish variant of the bagel. These loaves were boiled before being baked, giving them a unique taste, and selling them as the ‘beigel’.
Another result of the Corn Laws abolishment was a rise in British beef, leading to a dramatic decrease in price. For Jewish bakeries, this meant that they could prepare a speciality; salt beef joints. And while meat can be kosher, blood is not. This meant a special preparation to desiccate and dehydrate the meat joints till all the blood was drawn out of it. Recipes for this salting and brining meats at this time were printed in such manuals as The Jewish Manual, or Practical Information in Jewish and Modern Cookery (1848). These delicatessens marinated beef briskets for close to a fortnight with a pound of common salt, half an ounce of saltpetre, and a pound of brown sugar. After the marinade, these briskets would be boiled in a pot of water with a mirepoix: onion with carrot and celery, a traditional French-Italian root vegetable mix as well as herbs and spices like clove or pepper. Slices of this beef would be served with wedges of gherkins and a spread of mustard in the Jewish ‘beigel’. Given the relatively cheap price of wholesale beef in London, these were cost-effective to commercially sell. Fresh, still warm salt beef beigels were a favourite in the area, as they were a fast meal to eat, but also were cheap and easy to create. Additionally, these bakers also traded with Jewish butchers, leading to them to use specialised meats from their respective countries; the Ashkenazi Romanians brought the recipe of preserved pastrami briskets, and the Sephardi Polish brought smoked salmon and pickled herring.
This preparation made a ‘happy accident’, a perfect mix of coincidences, with the mix of kosher prepared beef from British cows, Jewish baking of beigels, with pickles and English (Coleman’s) mustard, made a perfect blend of multicultural food. A hybridisation. This innovation appealed to the local population for two reasons; it was either a piece of their indigenous homeland or a tasty novelty, which would have been different to the roast beef that was popular throughout the time. The convenience would also be a unique selling point: A loaf of bread would be the easiest thing to eat, but when the bakeries started selling their traditional Jewish beigels, the salt beef, or salmon, herring, or pastrami they had their own little business selling a convenient snack.
Throughout the years of 1850 to 1913, these bakers expanded in parallel to the Jewish population, which was on its way to tripling its number at the end of the century. These ‘bakehouses’ became so popular that towards the end of the century, in the Aldgate and Whitechapel areas started working through the Sabbath to keep up with demand and expanded their opening times to twelve to nineteen hours a day. With journalist Arthur Morrison reporting: On Sunday morning a smell of cooking floats round the corner from the half-shut baker’s, and the little feet trot down the street under steaming burdens of beef. . . 
While most of these shops, like Raymond’s on Argyle Street, were centred around Whitechapel and the ‘Jewish ghetto’, however, they started to spill out into areas such as Stoke Newington and Stanford Hill, before expanding into areas such as Moorgate, Mile End, Islington and even as far as Dalston. These bakeries were famous enough to be reported in London daily newspapers by 1893 and were so popular, that a reporter in The Graphic wrote in September 1874 that these Jewish bakers’ ubiquity in East London ‘made competition impossible’. Reports and recipes spread out from London, commented in London Daily News, before into places like Leicestershire and Lincolnshire editorials. One reporter from the Leicester Chronicle commented that the workers laboured in eighteen-hour shifts and through the Sabbath to keep up with demand. These contributions to British cuisine were so important that these recipes found their way in the Jewish Cookbook which was published in Britain in 1896.
Chapter 2: The Rise of Fish and Chips from 1860 – 1896
Once these Jewish communities really established themselves amongst East London, businesses started to expand into other areas, providing on the individual’s skills or focus. Due to the ubiquity of bakeries, some of the Jewish community was drawn to the pre-established community but chose to branch out into different foods. This is where the start of the fish and chips niche began. Both fish and potatoes have a long history in the U.K. With its many coastlines, fish has been a part of traditional British cuisine for centuries. At this time, the British Empire’s naval power ensured protection for fishermen and merchants, which meant Britain carried a thriving fish trade. As a commercial venture, selling fried fish began roughly in the 1830s with sporadic advertisements in daily newspapers and Charles Dickens mentions Holborn’s ‘fried fish factory’ in Oliver Twist. But up until 1850, only the wealthy could afford fresh fish on a regular basis. To take advantage of the burgeoning trade coming from British shorelines as well as the North Sea and Iceland, small fish markets started to be established along the London docks. But these traders congregated towards London’s main fish market, Billingsgate market, in Poplar. The area had been a place of trade for over a century before architect John Jay built a proper building to host the vendors and rooms to keep the stock fresh. This new refurbished model was officially opened in 1850. The Billingsgate Market acts of 1847 and 1871 allowed the free trade of fish for everyone, and they would come from international trading hotspots. As George Dowd wrote in the Food of London, remarking on the widening variety of options available to East London:
‘[sic]. . .There is salmon fVom the Tweed, the Tay, the Forth, the Clyde, the Dee, the Don, the Spey, the Ness, the Linn ; there is cod flrom Holland, fhun Korway« ftom the Yarmouth coast ; there are brill, tnrbot, Iialibut, sole, pluce, haddock, whiting, and skate, all trawl-fish (caught by the trawl-net), and brought from nearly the same waters as the cod i there are mackerel from Devon and Cornwall, eels from Holland, oysters fivm the Thames and the Channel Islands, lobsters from the coasts of Scotiond and Norway, crabs from the south ooast, shrimps from the Thames and Boston. . . ’
This passage tells us just how the market was widening for food, especially for the working-class people. When beforehand regular people would survive on only the cheapest parts, with far less variety, now there was an extensive roster, and more opportunity to purchase fish. Because of the sheer volume of fresh, new stock coming from places like the North Sea, the Faroes and Iceland, the price of fish dramatically dropped from the start of the 1850s. With the Billingsgate market so central in East London, businesses soon started buying stock from the surrounding areas for their business to cook and sell in take away houses, like fish houses shops in St John Street, or as far away as the Dalston high street. Fish and chips rapidly became an extremely affordable and available meal. The working masses now had more opportunities to eat both fresh, and fried fish. The main product on sale was cod, but also others such as herring, plaice, roe, and haddock, were bought wholesale mainly from Billingsgate market, around East London, specifically around the Greenwich shoreline. In doing this, variety and quantity became more common for the working people of east London. Due to its location and its popularity, Billingsgate Market would become the world’s biggest market in the nineteenth century. By the 1870s, primarily thanks to the efforts of this market, British fish was one of the country’s biggest exports. Just before the First World War, the number of vendors and porters working from it has been calculated to be around 1,000. It was at this time that people started to refer to these food shops as ‘food made fast,’ which quickly became known as ‘fast food’. This is important to note, as significant as fast food will come on the global stage. Its origins pay tribute to its relationship with common people, needing their food at an increasingly speedy rate to keep up with their industrious labour. It could be possible to stake the claim that fish and chips was one of, if not the, first properly recognised fast-food meals.
These shops ended up ‘tied’ to the area, as supply and demand, something that one commentator at the time called ‘the cash nexus’. By 1861, there were reportedly around 300 independent mongers and vendors in London selling fried or fresh fish, selling primarily in the Bishopsgate and London Bridge eras. Peddlers would sell baked potatoes on the street as a quick and filling meal for the people of East London. During this era, Dickens again documented how convenient they were to eat for the working person; he wrote in his famous novel A Tale of Two Cities (1859) that: ‘Hunger was shred into atomics in every farthing porringer of husky chips of potato, fried with some reluctant drops of oil.’’ By this point, it was on the public conscious, people were eating it enough for it to become a well-known meal and Dickens commented on it in his book points out how famous it was becoming.
“. . . this would involve gutting the fish and picking the flesh off the bone, serving the eels would be chopped up and fried. Salt, but especially vinegar would be used as seasoning [. . .] cooks in these stores realised that they could use stock from eels, with parsley and to create a liquor sauce, poured over the three main ingredients. . .”
The two separate foods of cooked potatoes and fish were sold separately for centuries prior. However, the combined meal of battered fish with chips only started to take off in East London in the mid-1850s. This is a concept credited to Joseph Malin, a businessman and Jewish immigrant, who bought fish wholesale and fried them in a traditional Jewish – Sephardic – style, and potatoes to cook and sell separately. The details as to why he combined the two are not known, but around the late 1850s, he began to sell them together as a meal. It was remarked upon that the traditional Kosher recipes for frying fish ‘the Jewish way’ was a new method to cook trawl, which would have been previously unknown to the local population. The Jewish writer Israel Zangwill, who wrote about Jewish culture and living in East London, documented in-depth the specific ‘kosher’ method of cooking fish in his account of Jewish communities in East London, in The Children of Israel (1862). This recipe got reprinted in the more popular publication of Alexis Soyer’s Shilling Cookery (1854), a cookbook which is dedicated to thrifty meals specifically for the working class. This involved a detailed way of deboning, cooking, seasoning the fish which became quickly adopted as the de facto way of cooking for the fish and chips in the area. British food historian Panikos Panyai described it as ‘the marriage of fish and chips.’ The meeting of kosher fried cod with a French-inspired way of cooking potatoes – “chipped” – once again contributed to a hybridisation of British food that became a national dish. Could it be possible to conclude that this new way of cooking fish became a novelty to the local population? Or did it successfully taste that good?
Malin’s shop, founded in 1860, on 78 Cleveland Way, Bow, christened and sold the meal ‘chipped’ potato and fish. (Although plenty of customers referred to them as ‘taters.’) Cod was the main fish used, but they also sold haddock, herring, plaice, roe and other fish that he could purchase. These shops had the advantage of the decreasing prices of cooking oils too. The fish was fried in batter in makeshift cauldrons on top of a heated coal furnace encased in brick underneath. However, this was typically economically minded, and these shops preserved specific ways of extending the shelf life of their stock. For example, vinegar was used to season the meat on top of the batter, which might be several days, if not weeks old. This was then placed on top of slices of fried and heavily salted potatoes, before getting wrapped in old newspapers and being sold. Towards the end of the day, with all the collected bits of left-over batter that had fallen off the fish fried that day use it for ‘scrag ends’ or scraps to put on top of the batter. These restaurants would also offer pickles, fried or buttered bread, and mushed peas as a side dish. These meals would normally sell for anything between six to ninepence, varying due to portion size and stock demand.
After Malin’s initial innovations, chipped potato and fish soon started to outgrow his business and began to take on a life of their own. We can see this from the rise of mentions in newspapers of ‘chipped potatoes and cod’ as the popularity started to spread across East London. Burdett’s shop, which was ‘famous all over the Nichol and Bethnal Green’, which specialised in smoked haddocks, kippers and most cheap herrings [and] eels. A. Arthur’s fishmonger shop on Old Ford Street soon began copying the recipe, and the idea of a fish and chips takeaway began to take off throughout the rest of the decade. By the 1870s, other prominent shops originated from East London, using the market as their source for stock. Such as Simpson’s, in Billingsgate, whose ‘fish dinners have acquired celebrity on account of the reasonableness of the charge of the unquestioned excellence of the fish.’
Some of these early take-outs, knowing their clientele, had one or two chairs and tables for a small number to sit in but were more focused on street food and takeaway. It was not until 1896 that one of Malin’s main competitor, Samuel Isaacs, the first-generation son of Whitechapel Jewish migrants, born in 1852. He created the first fish and chip restaurant, in Shoreditch, focusing on a dine-in experience and a full table service, with luxuries such as proper lighting, crockery and cutlery. These shops quickly became so popular that he expanded his business into more central city locations. The working class, drawn to the social aspects of dining out, flocked to these places, and became so popular among them that they took to calling these shops fish ‘palaces’. Other landmark shops opened into areas such as the Golden Dragon in Stoke Newington, and Shadwell’s Fish Bar. When they first began these fish and chips shops were concentrated in the east end of London, before spreading outwards due to the popularity of the dish. Fish and chip houses became so widespread that the smell of frying fish permeated the air, so much so that public health inspectors regularly investigated restaurants for complaints of pollution. By 1910, they would become a national dish, with an estimated 25,000 – 30,000 locations throughout the country.
While not strictly following traditional Jewish recipes for fish, Malin’s and Isaac’s innovations have made fried cod and ‘chipped’ potatoes was a Jewish invention. If there was evidence that migrants contribute towards their adopted home in significant ways, we can surely use the story of fish and chips as evidence of such. However, the popularity of ‘fish houses’, or palaces followed an interesting boom, where after the explosion in popularity, the local interest in this dish seemed to fade, or more seep out of the area unto the national scale. With Edmund Yates reminiscing in 1885: Fish dinners at Greenwich and Blackwall were [. . .] more in vogue then than they are now; indeed, the latter place, where Lovegrove’s, the Brunswick, and the Artichoke flourished, is quite extinct as a dining place. But there is one meal that truly became synonymous with the working classes of East London.
“. . . These people would especially prep pies themselves, placing them in tin dishes, then carry them around freshly made in portable ovens, to be sold immediately to the general public. . . ”
Chapter Three: Pie, Mash, and Eels in 1862 – 1913
Fish and chips were not the only national dish that has its origins in the east end of London. The national dish of pie, mash and eels also follows a similar story of being made from the innovations of aspiring food businesses, primarily from migrant communities. While each of the three main ingredients for this dish has had a long history with England, with different variables situated in different parts of Britain. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the first usage of the word ‘pie’ back to 1303, but the oldest recipes go back to the ancient world. The northern Europeans took the initial idea and added variations such as lard, suet, and beef to it and made it their own. English recipes of pies have been recorded in seminal cookbooks such as Richard’s Briggs’ The English Art of Cookery, according to the Present Practise. . .  and, more prominently, Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management published in 1860. However, like fish and chips, it took some time before all three were ‘married’ together into one seamless meal.
Of the three, eels have been the most significant. Because of their tough skin, eels were one of the few animals that could survive the harsh polluting London river, the Thames, which famously became full of them, they rapidly became a reliable and almost inexhaustible supply of food. Consequently, they were in complete abundance to be cooked. The opening of Billingsgate Market gave these eel sellers a place to establish themselves, which helped the trade in and around East London, which might explain why they suddenly exploded in popularity. As a result, most East Londoners of this period were eating cheap to buy and easy to produce eels. Such was their popularity that ‘hot eel houses’ had begun to spring up around 1850 in East London, The name of the first recorded shop hasn’t survived but was based in Southwark. (Which during this period would be considered far more south-east London than central.)
These early sellers have not been documented much, save for some advertisements and anecdotal records. However, we can infer that these must have been popular enough for expansions as they would advertise for jobs in the local London papers. And the meal would explode in popularity later. So as pie, mash, and eels were a prominent dish in Britain at this time anyway, it could be argued that they were waiting for the ideal time to expand commercially like the trade contingencies that allowed the market to flourish. Just like with Joseph Malin’s combining the separate foodstuffs of fried potatoes and battered cod into one meal, it took some innovation to combine the three of pie, mash, and eels into a sellable meal. This would also simultaneously occur around the same time as cod and chips were expanding.
These eel houses were the nascent start of the pie, mash, and eel trade. Using what stock they could buy from the surrounding area, these eels would be caught fresh and kept in water tanks, to be killed and cooked at leisure when a customer asked. Typically, this would involve gutting the fish and picking the flesh off the bone, serving the eels would be chopped up and fried. Salt, but especially vinegar would be used as seasoning. To preserve leftover eels that were not sold from the day’s sales, cooks in these stores realised that they could use stock from eels, with parsley and to create a liquor sauce, poured over the three main ingredients. Soyer would recommend that more salt would be placed on again to keep the flavour ‘fresh’, also recommending this approach to other fish. In Zangwill’s documentation, ‘the batter absorbs the oil which is in them.’ This was a stock sauce of water, vinegar, nutmeg, and lemon juice that had been allowed to cool and congeal, putting the eels in a preserve like hold and selling them as ‘jellied’ or stewed eels. If there was a large number, leftover eels would be boiled into a stew to be marinated and sold the following day.
However, there were variants, and there was no fixed roster of what was available. Supply and demand fluctuations would cause some stock to be more in request than others. Because of this, sometimes cooks would double up and simply use beef and potato – discarding the mash – and serve steak and potato pie. Sometimes these cooks, using what was available to them would also add vegetables – such as onion, carrot, or leek – for filling. But shops also sold variants like steak and kidney or steak and mushroom. As time went on, these shops would branch out into other meats such as chicken with mushroom, game, or even things like cheese and onion pies.
In some respects, the story of pie, mash and eels has a similar formula as previously discussed food staples. Most of the shops were families of immigrants from Europe and settled in the cheaper dwellings of London for political or economic reasons. Those that are initially credited are one Frederic Cooke, an Irishman, whose shop opened in Clerkenwell in 1862. But the pie and mash shop trend differentiate from other foodstuffs previously discussed in one major aspect; rather than cooking traditional food from their indigenous cultures, families like Manze’s were immigrants who integrated themselves into already established British culture. The one exception is the second oldest pie, mash, and eels’ shop, Goddard’s, which opened in 1890. The owner, Alfred Goddard, an east London native, opened his shop in Evelyn Street, Deptford. The third, and one of the more significant shops, was opened by the Manze family, who migrated from Ravello, southern Italy, to Bermondsey in 1872. Initially, the family sold ice cream, while their son Michele grew up. However, when Michele grew up, he seized the opportunity to start his own pie, mash, and eels’ shop, which opened in 1902 on 87 Tower Bridge Road. These shops became hugely popular throughout the area. Starting around the mid-1860s, newspapers began to print many advertisements for numerous pie shops to let in the east end of London as an almost daily occurrence. Carrying on from their success, and making the most of what stock was available, these eel houses would soon begin to sell other pies and variants. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, from 1850, trade, particularly in meats, expanded. As the prices of certain foodstuffs such as beef or mutton dropped, they could afford a larger menu. This ‘trickled down’ into the lower classes of society, meaning that consumption of meat would increase for the common person. For pie shops, this meant the wholesale buying of meat was much more plausible. As these eel houses needed to compete against the other food shops in the area, combined with the popularity of pie and mash amongst the common people, it was a safe bet meal to sell to the local population. Their success and popularity of pie, mash, and eels grew exponentially, becoming an ongoing tradition in the area. By 1860, there were around twenty eel pie houses in East London, and by 1900 there was over well over 100.
From there, the complexity of the food increased. Starting by using common recipes such as the ones featured in Soyer’s A Shilling Cookery for the People replicated in the daily newspapers, before innovating through their own experience, and eel pies, while remaining popular, gave way to fillings such as mutton or veal, as this became the most economic staple to cook and sell en masse. Or they specialised in mincemeat on Sundays. To fill up the innards, chefs could use stock vegetables such as carrots, celery, onion, or potato, and typically with plenty of pepper and in the style and fashion of the day, inspired by Mrs Beeton, ‘water browned’ gravy with salt, dripping innards and ale would be used to flavour the filling. All these pies would be prepped and cooked fresh daily but placed in a heated oven to keep them hot to be sold. Most of the time these pie makers made their very own pastry for the crust, but some shops preferred to buy pastry from what patisseries were around, like Godwin’s or Mernick’s in Bethnal Green, adopting classic French recipes.
In a similar turn of events, since the potato was introduced into Britain it prospered into a basic of traditional cuisine. Britain’s mild weather is ripe for potatoes to grow, making it easy to produce and sell. So easy to grow that one writer called it ‘the lazy root’. Given its filling and nutritional properties – such as its 19 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams average – its cheapness and versatility, for labourers, it was a frequent meal, domestically as well as commercially. Considering the ubiquity of ‘chipped’ slices of potatoes with cod, hot eel pie shops needed to use another variation to sell with the pie. Mash was easy to make and mass-produce and hence became a popular side dish to the pie. Each shop would have a preference for how they would cook their mash, some would alternate, or serve it more solid or runny. One such recipe, first published in 1857, Mrs Beeton’s recommended way of making mash potato was a simple direction of boiling them, then mashing them with butter and cream.’ Comparably, recipes later in the era, like at the end of the 19th century; the method was comparably more complex as time moved on, suggesting salt and pepper, cream, or other variations such as mustard or garlic.’ These little variations appealed to different customers, ensuring that there was diversity between each shop, some customers would prefer one to another. Mashing potato was one of the easiest ways to prepare and cook them, as so they became popular. It served the purpose of being hot and filling and was a double carbohydrate, and perfectly absorbed the accompanying liquor sauce. This gravy was variable between each shop but was based on meat stock and certain spices: Beeton has even a recipe for gravy that doubtless would have been used, consisting of beef, onion, carrot, parsley, butter, cayenne, and mace mixed into water.
The pie and mash shops also benefited from previous innovations from the cod and chips and bakeries, as by this time cooking utilities such as ovens had become more sophisticated. Because of this, pies were made more efficiently and at a larger number, to the point where Victorians became famous for their pie ovens. The success of these shops guaranteed that soon after the likes of Cooke’s and Manze opened, more and more started to sprout. Most of these were family ran, and hence the trade became something of an East London practice. These shops would then go on to expand into a traditional East London meal in the inter-war years. As with the fish and chips store, these houses focused more on takeaway before branching into a dine-in experience, before using open spaces to capitalise on the chance the customers had to socialise, as well as dine out.
After the success of these waves of migration took place amongst the Eastern Europeans, other ethnic groups started to follow suit. George Dodd makes the distinction of these ‘odds and ends’, of different ethnic groups selling their homeland’s foods and meals. With the successes of these properties, other, more niche shops began. These followed the same pattern of immigrants coming to London to sell food they cooked for the local population. There was plenty of other little shops, that may not have been ‘scenes’ onto themselves but contributed towards the food mise en place in East London. The most predominant of those amongst them. One of the more niche groups was Germans. This mini-boon reached its peak around 1890, and several of these opened ‘butcher-meat houses’ in East London. These shops focus on sold sausages or dishes that were bread and meat predominant, such as liver and onion or tripe (and onion). With journalist James Greenwood remarked that some of them were nearly as regular as ‘penny pie shops in London’. Some of these also became bierkellers, with working kitchens. A lot of these later became entangled into different shops or became pub kitchen staples later into the 20th century. George R. Sims, another Victorian writer that documented food in London’s Light Refreshments (1901), comments how many European migrants opened delicatessens, sometimes focusing on lighter refreshments. He remarked upon one popular seller in Mile End trading freshly made sandwiches with sausage or smoked salmon. Clams and oysters, long before they were considered high-class food, had their own shops, like an offshoot from eel houses, however, due to the rarity these shops were in a fewer number. This smaller number is important to note, as there were many little different shops that were no were near the prominence of Jewish bakeries or fish and chips, but also make the case that there was a sprawling, fluid number of businesses that contributes to the argument that there was the flexibility to what food was available and what the demographic of East London was.
Through the prism of these three main enterprises, Jewish bakeries, fish and chips and pie and mash and eels, we can see a clear evolution in how commercial ‘food shop’ was formed in this area. From walk-in places in the 1850s to full-on dining experience by 1913, the commercial food “scene” had exploded into a thriving market. This pushed food to innovate and over the course of the era, we can see that the food became more complex and sophisticated such as recipes for mash potatoes or how to fry cod. However, there were a few other key aspects to commercial food in east London that ran along concurrently: piemen.
Chapter Four: Piemen from 1850 – 1913
The story of pedlars runs concurrently with the story of the pie, mash, and eel houses, and the two do begin to merge into one another throughout the era. The pieman trade began around the 1840s, exploded in popularity before dying out at the end of the nineteenth century. This was because pie houses would employ the vendors. One of the main selling points for commercial food at this point was fitting around a worker’s schedule. Instead of something that was needed to sit down and eat with cutlery, it needed to be something you can consume while on their feet. This convenience became a selling point for the pedlars. To that end, individual people would roam the streets selling prepared food directly on the street. The main bonus of this is those who could afford a shop or land to create a place for their customer to go. This mobility and cheapness made them a far more lucrative venture for people wanting to work.
One of the main foods they would sell would be pies, so much so that these became known as ‘piemen’. These people would especially prep pies themselves, placing them in tin dishes, then carry them around freshly made in portable ovens, to be sold immediately to the general public. However, the pedlars would usually tell fresh pies. They were initially called the ‘piemen’, employing anyone of any age. Their stock would typically be sold for a penny with pedlars yelling their produce out loud, such as ‘a penny for a pie!’ in the streets. The penny-pie would later become a standard of commercial food of this era, with plenty of literary mentions of them. This included one Charles Manby Smith, another journalist that spent his time documenting times in East London, recording in 1853:
‘Furnished with a tray about a yard square, either carried upon his head or suspended by a strap in front of his breast, he scrupled not to force his way through the thickest crowd, knowing that the very centre of action was [. . . ] either by the dallying shilli-shally process of “best five in nine,” the tricksy manoeuvre of “best two in three,” [. . . ] a pie for a halfpenny, or your half-penny gone for nothing.’
This anecdote tells us how direct and accessible these piemen must have been to the working masses, who would be desperate for a hot, well-made meal that fitted into their lives and schedules, which could sometimes be more alluring than having to fix a meal at home when exhausted from work with limited resources. Manby Smith spent a lot of time detailing the piemen in his Curiosities of London Life (1853), where he clearly felt passionate enough to dedicate several chapters to the life and times of these sellers. These vendors were centred around East London workhouses like the ones in Poplar high street or Aldgate but would also target around the Greenwich shoreline, for its proximity to markets such as Billingsgate. This ensured that they would find people coming and going from work and their lodgings. Meaning that soon enough East London was reportedly rife with street vendors peddling them, as well as pies and mash.
One of the benefits of these pedlars was the cheapness, which invited the working class to buy out, rather than be intimidated by highbrow shops and their prices. Considering how well these walkers would know the area, their skill in selling food and their various knowhow with their customers, most of these vendors got hired by shops to sell food they were previously selling. It was safer, especially in the summer months with more daylight hours. Henry Mayhew estimated that a Billingsgate Market centred pieman in 1852 could sell up to ‘240’ pies in a single day. But one distinction from pie shops is that these sellers would also sell desserts such as fruit pies, or plum duffs and dumplings.
However, these piemen also sold many other items, relying on supply and demand. Fried potatoes had been a common street food for centuries in England. In this era, vendors sold baked potatoes in the streets and were popular at public events like fairs. There are reports from various newspapers and writer of the day, Henry Mayhew among them, documenting these vendors selling fried slices of potatoes, or jacket potatoes filled with things like bacon, or with butter and salt. Other items included shellfish, pease pudding, trotters and tripe, savoy sausage and faggots, but also smaller commodities such as bread rolls, freshly made sandwiches and fruit and nut. Pea soup, usually sold in an empty pie container; with celery, mint, and beef bones, would also be a common commodity in this area, sometimes including ham as well, this would also be known as ‘a London Particular’ because of its synecdoche of London food.
But naturally, this would rely on supply and demand, counting on the ongoing trade. These sellers would start by cooking a small batch of food and call out in the street, advertising what they had. Instead of shops drawing customers in, vendors would deliberately move around on foot selling food on the streets. Mostly they would follow where the money was; events such as fairs and markets or going into public houses and taverns with a large bag, tray, or ‘pie-can’ selling what they had directly to buyers on the street. Morrison wrote in his semi-fictional memoir A Child of Jango (1896): ‘for dinner, or tripe, or what you fancied: [. . . ] baked potatoes from the can on cold nights. . . ‘ which hints at just how ubiquitous and essential piemen were to the people living in East London.
Despite the priority and popularity of pies, these people would also sell other items, depending on supply and demand, on what could be sold, what could be handheld and what was popular. With a reporter from the Charter describing: ‘The foot-paths of the street themselves are also embellished with little portable shops, belonging to the purveyors of fried fish, [and] baked potatoes.’ What this reporter was remarking on was the image of piemen travelling through the streets selling this food was extremely common. Almost like a stock character, reliable for the local population needing to find something to eat at any hour of the day.
Once the predominance of these pedlars was established, the neighbouring food shops started to employ them in their pie shops, such as fish and chips to sell (and advertise) stock from the surrounding area. To the piemen, they were given more security, not having to risk harassment from police or the general public. For the pie houses they were employing an experienced cook, who knew the local area and how to sell. George Dowd laments the lack of ‘the pieman’, telling his readers that they have been ‘replaced by the normal shopkeeper’ in the Food of London. Later on in the era, as these piemen knew how to cook other staples of food, shops would add on other items and start selling what their staff could cook. The menu and roster of what pie, mash, and eel houses expanded in parallel with how often the piemen were hired. With their knowhow, they could utilize their skills in a kitchen more predominantly. Throughout this era, we can trace the slow merging of the two stories into one.
By 1890, the pie mash and eels’ shops had effectively killed off the pieman street trade, to the point the last of them were local celebrities, such as one William Thompson, the ‘champion pieman of the last fifty years’, who then went on to open his own pie shop in Church Passage, Greenwich. This did have the knock-on effect of creating a sort of ‘monopoly’, with pie and mash and eels coming up the strongest meal commercially in the region. Jewish bakeries stayed a niche in the area, and fish and chips spread out further into the country, but pie, mash, and eels became the most prominent, indigenous meal of East London.
Chapter Five: Conclusion
Manby Smith’s rationale for their popularity of these shops was about the workers, who had finished for the day chose these places for several reasons. Firstly, they would not need to cook or prepare anything to eat. Given the erratic cooking standards of the day, buying a meal by an experienced cook guaranteed a quality. Secondly, the ‘portable-ness’ of the cooked meal meant they could eat anywhere, on the move, at work, or take it to their lodgings with them. For people who worked twelve to nineteen hours a day in factories and warehouses, this was a convenience that was hard to pass up sometimes.
Predominantly, what we can see is a clear format of migrants making a home for themselves in East London and using their knowledge of their indigenous food to sell them for commercial ventures. This had the knock-on effect of making the East End of London a melting pot; a hybrid of cultures and different groups living in harmony and disharmony. A lot of this was to do with periods of migration, seizing opportunity and using what they knew as a template to make a living. By doing so, they help start the commercialised food industry in Britain and made ‘fast food’ an established column of society. While they are not wholly responsible for the entirety of British food, there is evidence to say that understating their contribution would be erroneous.
But furthermore, through this necessity, a ‘fast food’ scene of East London was born, and the cultural imprint of this is still being felt. Jewish bakeries in Brick Lane are still going and thriving, fish and chips has become synonymous with national culture, as well as pies and mash and eels. Some of these shops, like Beigel Bites (est. 1854.), Goddard’s, or Manze’s written about are still going. Our collective culinary history owes a great deal to waves of immigration and business acumen, as well as the prosperity of free trade. Whatever commentary could be found through research can add to the neo-Victorian re-examination of this incredibly exciting period of history. From the beginning of the period in the 1850s, we can see a very primitive set up; pie men roaming the streets and a burgeoning migration trying to make do. By the end of the era, ovens and shops had grown more sophisticated, the prices were higher, and the food’s quality had increased. This happened right in the middle of the most impoverished area of Britain. And still, mobility did happen, through the innovative usage of food commerce. Without this food ‘scene’ happening, the culinary makeup of our culture would look quite different. For example, fish and chips, which would later go on to not be rationed during the second world war, became a symbol of a small freedom that citizens of Britain had during their darkest hour. But without the supposition, can we truly not be thankful or respective of this little area of land and its contribution towards culinary and business history? Jerry White remarks on how ‘bustling capitalist economies marked by poverty and exploitation’ existed side by side. While poverty was rife, it could also not be ignored that a burgeoning, working-class trade was starting to grow. This industry, while embryonic to begin with, became its very own beast in time, and the imprint it left on the culinary side is still echoing today. In a wider scope, the cultural contributions of pie and mash, or the first fish and chips restaurants provided social places for East Londoners that became a corner of this world. And it would not have happened if the food were not impactfully enjoyable.
The question is, does this contribute to our national identity? Panayi speculates that migrant groups and food are a perfect recipe for contribution to the national voice. And with all of us needing to eat, we can all find that this topic connects us to the past. In historian Keir Waddington’s opinion: food was equally used to confer identities on different national and immigrant groups—from the German sausage and the Spanish onion [added] to the Roast Beef of Old England—in a form of culinary and “gastro-nationalism” As John Walton notes simply on the cooking oils of fish and chip shops as from ‘English haricots, French haricots, English butters, Dutch butters and Rangoons.’
By tracing and exploring what and how food was prepared in this area, we can start to map out what resources were available, and how they became so popular and well known in British food. We can learn culinary skills and resources, such as what spices were popular, or where these foods came from. This adds colour to the past, this brings a face to the names and the facts, learning about their lives and their existences, and humanises them in greater detail. In comparison to other approaches, the sheer number of people or the facts and statistics can get in the way of addressing a more qualitative, anecdotal way of viewing the past. While it is important to focus on such things as how high the death count was in a certain battle, or the cost of a Queen’s funeral, there is space to talk about the past in more unsophisticated tones, that fleshes out the life and times of the average worker. This is important to depict the past as a living, breathing ‘character’, rather than ‘forgetting the human’ behind statistics. What they liked, what parts of their life were like and what they did with their time. This dissertation is a contribution to that niche.
Final word count: 11,185.
“. . .This is a highly original dissertation which really does shake up the way we think of Victorian London. The tone is engaging, and the angle very original. Certainly thought-provoking.
Your introduction, if it needs tightening at times not least in the wording, does do a good job in presenting the historiography & methodology. I also like your mini-history inserted into your introduction. Then, where this dissertation really shines is in its originality and what you’ve done with the sources. Chapter one is a great example of how you show the impact of migration on London’s food scene, and in chapter two we see how Jews were responsible for one of the most ‘English’ meals. You zoom in on some specific shops, and do indeed bring these places to life. I like too the attention to detail in regards to cooking, making us think of the actual ingredients and how they were adapted and cooked, giving us an insight into the period but also delving into mentalities, mindsets and tastes of that specific area.
The primary sources are varied and original and rich. I think you could have done a whole thing on shop fronts with those pictures! One thing though is that we don’t get much of a sense of the demand side of things.
I do have a few comments: if the writing style is engaging, it does lack precision. The abstract is a good example of some unfinished sentences and inexact wording – when you write such short pieces, every sentence matters, so go over it with a fine tooth comb. What are ‘facts and accounts’? ‘some mobility’… in what? ‘The significance of this’, but what is ‘this’? and has it been ‘unnoticed’, or
not been discussed ‘thoroughly’, which are two different things? At other times your turns of phrase are in exact, as in the first sentence of the introduction: ‘unheard of subject’. And again, does ‘often overlooked’ mean the same thing as ‘unheard of’? Not quite, as one suggests no one has ever talked about it (the latter), and the other suggest there have been some mentions, if minor (the former). Or when writing a sentence, don’t overuse adjectives: for the sentence ‘not entirely strictly the whole truth’, use entirely or strictly – no need to use both. (i say this because you seem interested in writing, so it’s something to focus on)
Finally, I think there is a slight risk of presentism at times – you talk of a food ‘scene’, but this kind of language is very much a contemporary one; what was the language which surrounded food and the food industry at the time? How did they refer to it? To what extent was this diversity of food valued? These are hard questions to answer, but a close analysis of language in the media at the time, or in diaries, journals, reports, could be enlightening.”
“. . .What an enjoyable read! Your foodie enthusiasm for the subject as well as abundant knowledge comes across nicely here. The paper is well structured and focused and you have made good use of the necessarily limited resources you have been able to access in order to weave together a compelling account. This is not simply a description of the growth of fast-food type businesses in London’s East End in the late Victorian period. You also provide plenty of analysis of why particular types of food emerged and found a market.
There are a few points I would have liked a bit more analysis of Why, for instance, did fish and chips go national but pie and mash did not? Am I reading you right in thinking that this reflects the peculiar abundance of eels in the vicinity of the Thames, as opposed to other cities?
Second, I would have been interested to learn more about the demand-side of the market for these fast-foods. Your evidence that pies or fish and chips were cheap and convenient foods for the poor might be even more compelling if there was a bit more evidence on their affordability. We know that real wages rose during this period across the country as a whole (and presumably in the East End as well).. Did the development of a nascent fast-food industry contribute to this process by effectively reducing the cost of foodstuffs? Without knowing a bit more about the movement of prices and wages it is, however, difficult to be sure.
Third, I cannot help reflecting that this was a period of growing regulation of foodstuffs, not least through the 1875 Public Health Act. What impact, if any, did this have on the development of the businesses you mention? Did it, for instance, lead to a consolidation of the industry and serve as a contributory factor in the decline of the itinerant piemen?
A final comment is to wonder whether the sale of shellfish was also part of this emergent fast-food market? If not, when did the tendency of itinerant sellers of cockles and mussels to wander into East End pubs barking their wares start?
As I hope you will be aware, all of these queries are more comments than criticisms. They are reflective of how stimulating I found this paper. They also suggest issues you might explore further if, for instance, you develop this theme in your blog. In the meantime, it only remains to thank you for such a thought-provoking paper.“
British Newspaper Archive
Bell’s New Weekly Messenger – Sunday 01 March 1835. [Accessed at https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0001319/18350301/081/0016]
Clerkenwell News – Friday 07 1871. [Accessed at https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0001001/18710707/049/0002]
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Morning Chronicle- Monday 22 March 1852. [Accessed at https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000082/18520322/027/0007]
Morning Chronicle – Tuesday 04 December 1849. [Accessed at https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000082/18491204/013/0005]
Shoreditch Observer – Saturday 24 November 1866. [Accessed athttps://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000382/18661124/020/0004]
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Hackney Archives. Bottom section of advertisement by L. Sakove, proprietor of The Local Fish Dinner & Supper Bar, 100 Church Street, Stoke Newington, announcing opening night [Accessed at https://hackney.soutron.net/Portal/Default/en-GB/RecordView/Index/22289]
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Library of Congress
Levy, E. Jewish cookery book, on principles of economy, adapted for Jewish housekeepers, with the addition of many useful medicinal recipes, and other valuable information, relative to housekeeping and domestic management. (London. 1889.) [Accessed at https://tile.loc.gov/storage-services/service/rbc/rbc0001/2014/2014bit80014/2014bit80014.pdf]
National Office of Statistics
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3081/14. Mrs. Altman (c.1840-1934) and Mr. Morris Zietman (1909-1963) inside Kosher Butcher’s shop at 103, Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16. 1920s. Morris Zietman was Mrs. Altman’s great-grandson. Note: The door at the back of the picture leads to a room where salt-beef sandwiches were served. The glasses visible at the back of the picture, were used for serving lemon tea. c1840-1934. [Accessed at https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/442bc009-d97a-4c53-b243-8a771ec09ac2
Poplar Military Service
Poplar Military Service Tribunal Register excelsheet. [Accessed at https://www.ideastore.co.uk/assets/documents/Local%20History%20Archives%20Online/Poplar%20Military%20Service%20Tribunal%20Register/Poplar%20Military%20Service%20Tribunal%20Register%20excelsheet.pdf]
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 Ibid. p. 272.
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 Ibid. p. 21
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 Panayi. Op. cit. p. 51.
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 Ibid. Leviticus 17:10.
 E. Levy. Jewish cookery book, on principles of economy, adapted for Jewish housekeepers, with the addition of many useful medicinal recipes, and other valuable information, relative to housekeeping and domestic management. (London. 1889.), p. 89.
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 M. Kurlansky. Salt: A World History. (Vintage. 2003.) pp 131 – 132.
 J. Burnett. England Eats Out. (Routledge. 2004.) p. 52.
 J. Lipman. East End street where Jews were safe from antisemitism. The JC. [Accessed at https://www.thejc.com/news/uk/east-end-street-where-jews-were-safe-from-antisemitism-1.34175
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 A. Morrison, Tales of Mean Streets. (London. Roberts Brothers. 1895.),p. 20.
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 BNA. Leicester Chronicle – Saturday 09 September 1893.
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 P. Panyai. Fish and Chips – a History.’ (Reaktion Books. 2014.) pp. 16 – 17.
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 Major. Op. cit. p. 2
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 Dowd. op. cit. p. 537.
 C. Manby Smith. Curiosity of London: What has become of the piemen? (Great Metropolis. 1853); BNA. Morning Chronicle – Tuesday 04 December 1849.
 BNA. Ibid.
 Manby Smith. Op. cit.
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 T. Stopard. Cook’s encyclopedia. (London. Grub Street Publishing. 2016) p. 152
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 Manby Smith. Op. cit.
 Panayi. Op. cit. pp. 113.
 A. Morrison. op. cit. pp. 32.
 Mayhew. Op. cit. p. 176; Panayi. Op. cit. p. 108; Major. Op. cit. p. 2; Manby Smith. Op. cit; Morrison. Op. cit. Chapter XXVIII.
 Mayhew. Op. cit. p. 161; Greenwood. Op. cit. pp. 36.
 Dowd. op. cit. p. 538; Major. Op. cit. p. 6; Mayhew. Op. cit. p. 196.
 A. Morrison. A Child of Jango.’ (London. Methuen & Co. 1897.) Chapter VI.
 BNA. The Charter – Sunday 24 February 1839.
 Jewish Museum. Letter by Mrs Kitty Collins (depositer) containing memories of the East End in the 1930s, particularly of Esther, a woman who sold bagels near Brick Lane and shouted obscenities at passers by . . .
 Major. Op. cit. p. 18.
 Major. Ibid. pp. 7 – 9.
 Dowd. op. cit. p. 512.
 Major. Op. cit. p. 9.
 Laudan. Op. cit. p 273.
 R. McWilliam. Response. Victorian Studies. Vol. 52, No. 1, Special Issue: Papers and Responses from the Seventh Annual Conference of the North American Victorian Studies Association, held jointly with the British Association for Victorian Studies (Autumn 2009), pp. 106-113 (9 pages)
 Panayi. Op. cit. p 13.
 Waddington. Op. cit.
 Walton. Op. cit. p. 9.