East End poverty – Bert calls it out.

Melbourne Jewish Herald on October 30 1908. (TROVE)

Petticoat lane, Spitalfields, London East End

Above story originated in the Paris edition of the New York Herald.
That paper was largely targeted at American expatriates in Europe and was established in 1887 and published all the way through to 2013. Some of you seasoned travellers may remember it ! Did he actually stand on street corners encouraging the Jewish residents to migrate to America or possibly Australia ? I’ve looked in UK papers archives but I somehow doubt English newspapers would have reported any sentiments especially from from a foreigner !

Background: Obviously, living conditions in 1908 had not greatly improved from the time Bert’s parents and elder siblings lived in the London East End before immigrating to Australia. Simon and Mina Levy were living in Spitalfields, the notorious White Chapel hamlet in the 1850s and 60’s. The area had evolved into classic “Dickensian” London, with problems of poverty and overcrowding with warrens of small dark streets housing great suffering, filth and danger. For those families seeking a better life out of the London east end, the bulk would have headed to the United States with a small but steady number undertook the 3-4 month perilous voyage across the world to Australia.

As for the Lord Rothschild’s interest – next post…..

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