This insignificant little alley nonetheless has on its corner a relic of Spitalfields Jewish past.

The alley first appears as Rose Alley in Strype’s Survey of London in 1720. It also used to be much longer than it is today, curving around a corner to rejoin the street further down Sandy’s Row. By 1746 the end had been cut off, and a new courtyard created. That may also be why by 1810 it had been renamed as White Rose Court.

In the post-war rebuilding the alley was cut back even further to be the short spur that it is today.

What’s worth commenting on though is the building on the corner — which is today a burger joint, but was for a very long time a bakery, the Nordheim Model Bakery. If you look up at the facade, you can see a row of four bakers frozen in perpetual work and adding a delightful quirk to this part of London.

The current building was built in an interwar neo-Georgian style, but replaces an even older bakery on the same site.

The street names have changed a bit, but that burger bar at 12-13 Widegate Street is the same as the old 31 Widegate Street.

Established in 1710, Levy Bros, Matzo bakers was named in 1928 as the oldest shop in London, beating the self-styled oldest shop, a bookseller on Bond Street called Ellis.

A modest little alley, but like so much of London, soaked in deep history.


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  1. Brendan O'Kane says:

    If it had been identified as the oldest shop in London in 1928 why would they then demolish it?

  2. JP says:

    Statistics, semantics, sizeists; we don’t often allow ourselves to revel in the childlike delight of the absolute, the biggest dinosaur, the loudest snore and so on. All is smudged together into an inoffensive and inordinately boring morass with the generic label “one of the top [X] in the world/country/&c.”

    Thus it is that I submit Lock the hatters in St. James’s ~ same business since 1676.
    One glorious step deeper into the absolute brings us to R.J. Balson in Bridport Dorset, the (same) family butcher since 1515, no less. I can recommend their faggots too.

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