A Hidden History of Women in the East End: The Alternative Jack the Ripper Tour

Beyond the Streets is a national charity working to build routes out of sexual exploitation for women. All funds raised from these tours support their Door of Hope project, which offers routes out of sexual exploitation for women in East London. Alternatives to prostitution weren’t available for Jack the Ripper’s victims, help us provide routes out for women selling sex in the area today by joining us on a tour.


Hear the untold story of Jack the Ripper’s victims. In this hidden history tour  which celebrates the strength of women led to sell sex for survival, not a serial killer. 
Visiting the streets where the women lived, the tour will explore what we know about their lives and commemorate their deaths. Alongside the historic, you’ll hear the stories of women still affected by sexual exploitation in the area today and how you can take action on these issues.



Thursday 26th July 2018

Thursday 30th August 2018

Thursday 27th September 2018

Thursday 25th October 2018

  • Tours depart from St Botolph without Aldgate at 6.30pm & 8.30pm.
  • Tour tickets cost £8 for adults, £5 for students, 65+ and those receiving income support. Advanced booking essential.

Middlesex Street massage parlour fined thousands for license breach following Labour pressure


A Middlesex Street massage parlour has been fined thousands of pounds for breaching its license after claims it was offering services of a sexual nature.

The owners of Health One at 66 Middlesex Street were ordered to pay £3175 in fines and court costs last month after Thames Magistrate’s Court found them guilty of breaching the special treatment license granted by Tower Hamlets.

Late last year, another massage parlour at 66 Middlesex Street was shut down when the City Corporation won a claim to forfeit its lease over claims it breached the terms of the lease by offering massage services.

And Tower Hamlets licensing chiefs voted to deny a special treatment license for a Gunthorpe Street parlour last week after council officers discovered evidence of sexual favours being touted in exchange for cash.

The crackdown comes off the back of a local petition demanding tougher regulations to prevent the area turning into “a red light district”.

Portsoken councillor and Middlesex Street Estate resident Jason Pritchard said he would be pushing for Tower Hamlets to shut the business down.

“What is going on here is so blatant,” he said. “As residents we don’t want to see these activities on our doorstep. We want Tower Hamlets to revoke their licence.”

Source: City Matters

See also: https://portsokenlabour.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/labour-launches-petition-for-massage-parlour-investigation-in-both-city-and-tower-hamlets/





Beyond the Streets is a national charity working to build routes out of sexual exploitation for women. All funds raised from their guided tours support their Door of Hope project, which offers routes out of sexual exploitation for women in East London. To find out more visit:


Taste of the old Jewish East End returns to Aldgate in June at the Aldgate Square Festival


On Saturday 16th June 2018 at the Aldgate Festival, a taste of the old Jewish East end will be returning to Aldgate for the opening of the new Aldgate Square with Jewish food and music on offer.

It’s going to be a celebration of rich history of this area where the City meets the East End. Local Councillor Jason Pritchard was keen that the opening of the new square should in particular honour its Jewish past and so he suggested to the organisers that they book local Jewish band, Klezmer Klub. “I first saw Klezmer Klub play a few years back at a birthday party in Bethnal Green” he said, “and I really fell in love with their music, particularly as they sang about those parts of the East End where I’m from. At the end of the evening I even went home with their CD!  So when we were looking for a Klezmer band to accompany the launch of the new square I knew where to look.”

Klezmer is, at its heart, dance music, in particular wedding music, both wild and tender. Played by the Klezmorim as they tramped the roads of eastern Europe, it is a music that gets to your heart by way of your feet. Often described as bitter-sweet, it came out of poverty and oppression. Both dances and song contain joy, exhilaration and wit alongside the sadness, anger and defiance.

Klezmer Klub sing in Yiddish, the language of the Jews in Eastern Europe. Vivi Lachs, Klezmer Klub’s lead singer, has collected her own unique repertoire of songs, which cover a wide variety of themes: love songs, political anthems and union songs, music hall comedy, songs from film and theatre, and songs about working class life in the old East End.  A great performer, Vivi animates them all with explanations, costume and character.

Whilst much of the Jewish community has long since moved on from Aldgate there are still many signs of the area’s Jewish past, if you know where to look. Within Aldgate ward, a short distance to the north of the gate, Jews had settled from 1181 and stayed until their expulsion in 1290 by King Edward I. The area became known as Old Jewry. Jews were welcomed back by Oliver Cromwell, and once again settled in the area, founding London’s oldest synagogue at Bevis Marks in 1698. On Creechurch Lane there is a blue plaque on the wall to mark the site of the first synagogue after the resettlement, 1657 – 1701.

Cllr Pritchard lives on the Middlesex Street Estate in the ward of Portsoken and describes how “many of the flats in the square and tower still have mezuzahs at the doors [these are small cases which contain pieces of scroll]. A mezuzah declares: The people who dwell here live Jewish lives. Even though the previous occupants have moved out these traditional pieces of parchment have often remained in the doorways on the estate. It’s this melting pot of history, where different cultures have left their mark, that makes our part of the City so fascinating. My own ancestors were French Huguenots who arrived as refugees in Spitalfields in the 1680s and my family has remained in the East End ever since.”

In addition to the Jewish music, Cllr Pritchard was keen to book a food stall where people could sample some of the types of foods that would have been sold locally when the area was the heart of the Jewish East End: “I approached my neighbour, Ivan, to ask if he knew of anyone who might want to run a Jewish food stall at the festival. That was when Ivan reminded me that Saturday is the Shabbat day, a day of rest, making it difficult to find someone to work that day.”

It was then that he came across Monty’s deli in Spitalfields Market. Monty’s make their own bagels, salt beef, pastrami and mustard and many more Jewish delicacies and are famed for their renowned Rueben Sandwich. Happily Monty’s agreed to run a stall at the festival.

“I am really happy that we will have this chance for people to hear traditional Jewish music and to taste a bit of Jewish food. I have already told our oldest Jewish resident centenarian Manny Blankett who is looking forward to coming along. I do hope that many local people will come along and enjoy the weekend. Alongside the Bangladeshi folk music and even a Latin Fiesta band and many more exciting activities, it looks like it is going to be a fantastic weekend.”

The Aldgate Square Festival will run from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th June 2018 in Aldgate Square just off Aldgate High Street. Klezmer Klub will perform on Saturday 16th June. Monty’s Deli will be serving Jewish-inspired dishes over the weekend. To find out more about the festival please visit the website www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/aldgatesquarefestival


See also:





Paid Summer Work Experience Opportunity July/August 2018

Work Experience Facebook ExampleApplications for paid work experience at Penguin Random House in July & August are now open.

You’ll spend two weeks in one of Penguin Random House’s departments, such as Editorial, Marketing, Publicity or Sales. The applications will close 23rd May 2018 at 9am.

You can find out more and apply at https://www.penguinrandomhousecareers.co.uk/your-career/work-experience

Applicants must be over 18 when they begin their placement, have not done a placement with Penguin Random House in the last six months and have the right to work and train in the UK.


Reminder: Artizan St Library new opening times start today

This is just a reminder that following our successful campaign with local residents the new opening hours at Artizan Street Library start today.  Please do spread the word!DbI2z-8XcAI0wNu


Portsoken residents – Need help to get to the City-wide Residents’ meetings on Wednesday 9th May 2018?

Need help to get to the City-wide Residents’ meetings on Wednesday 9th May? The City of London has offered free transport to Portsoken residents. If you need help to get there please contact Sophie Caley by 4 May: sophie.caley@cityoflondon.gov.uk or call 020 7606 3030 (ask for Sophie Caley)


We won! City of London announces new hours at Artizan Street Library


After a well publicised local campaign, I am pleased to announce that the City of London has agreed to extend the hours at Artizan Street Community Library. This is fantastic news! In addition to extending the hours the City will also now be trialling a Saturday opening slot for six months.

From 14th May 2018 the new Library hours will be as follows:

Monday- 8am-7pm
Tuesday- 8am-5.30pm
Wednesday- 8am-5.30pm
Thursday- 8am-5.30pm
Friday- 8am-5.30pm
Saturday- 9am-1pm

This really is tremendous news for the local community and it will now mean that this wonderful resource is available for even more people to use on a daily basis. Please do spread the word and let people know about the new opening times to ensure as many people benefit from the new hours as possible. Once again this result demonstrates that when residents come together on local issues we can influence positive change in the community and get our voices heard.

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and to the parents who came to the Guildhall last month to hand-in the petition. We couldn’t have got this result without all of your support.

Well done everyone!

Best regards

Jason Pritchard

Middlesex Street Resident and Common Councilman for the ward of Portsoken