Christmas party in Hoxton and ragged schools

I have categorized this under Bermondsey but the post is, in fact, about a neighborhood north of the river. However, the similarities between the two areas in decades past were so great that I think it is well worth seeing the images and understanding the context. Interestingly, both have undergone a process of gentrification in recent years.

“The character of the whole locality is working-class. Poverty is everywhere, with a considerable admixture of the very poor and vicious … Large numbers have been and are still being displaced by the encroachment of warehouses and factories … Hoxton is known for its costers and Curtain criminals, for its furniture trade … No servants are kept except in the main Road shopping streets and in a few remaining middle class squares in the west”

Charles Booth on Hoxton (Booth himself is a man well worth reading about)

This photo dates from 1933 and is of a Christmas party organized by the Hoxton Market Christian Mission. The mission is described as having been a “soup kitchen and refuge for the poor… It was founded in 1881 by brothers John and Lewis Burtt.” The Burtts themselves were found living on the streets as boys and brought up by a local charity.


This photo is children cared for by the mission. In the 19th century, philanthropists set up charities of all kinds in Britain.  A social conscience was developing that would eventually lead to the creation of the Welfare State.


The Burtts were educated at a ragged school. There are plenty of websites containing information about these schools, including this one. Some experts believe the first was set up in Portsmouth by one John Pounds. Eventually they appeared all over Britain and hundreds of thousands of poor children received a basic education in them.

This is a painting of the first ragged school in Westminster (Birmingham Art Gallery)


There is a museum housed in a former ragged school in the East End. Most suitably, it is located in Copperfield Road.

Old friend Alan had a personal note to add concerning the museum. “An old colleague of mine from my schoolteaching days is Tom Ridge. Tom has worked tirelessly for many years studying and documenting his beloved East End (he is actually from Liverpool). Apart from his writing, he has made enormous efforts to have historic industrial buildings listed and found new uses, and the buildings at Copperfield Road are a case in point. Tom was a voice in the wilderness at first, but gradually managed to drum up interest and after many years hard slog in cajoling, persuading, fundraising and all the other myriad activities, the Museum that was his pipe dream came into being.”

I find this photo of two pupils particularly evocative.


I have come across a number of other old photos in the same vein – also of the East End – that I will post as soon as I have time.

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109 Responses to Christmas party in Hoxton and ragged schools

  1. John and Lewis Burtt were my great Uncles. I would love to hear more about them and the Hoxton Mission if anyone can help.

  2. hi, I dont know if this will be of any interest to you,as I attended ” Hoxton Market Christian Mission” when I was a child in the 50’s. At that time we knew it as DANNY BURTS. I have many happy memories of that time. It was run then by Mr.F.Jerman. and Miss M.Breach. Is this of any help to you.? Vicky.

  3. veronica ziebarth {cordwell} says:

    My great grandfather was John Francis Burtt.
    I have just recently found out he was connected to the Hoxton Market Mission and would love any information anyone may have on the family or the mission. I live in Australia and my email is
    Again I would love to hear from anyone with connections to the aboveRegards

  4. chrissie says:

    My mother, who was one of the poor children of Hoxton in the early 1930’s and used to go with other kids to The Hoxton Market Christian Mission (or Daddy Burtts as it was known to the kids) for a meal Mon – Fri at around 5.30pm. The meal was usually shepherds pie which the kids wern’t too keen on and they used to aim it at each other. However, the desert which was usually roly poly pudding was delicious and all eaten up. The Birtt Brothers John and Lewis left money for the ‘ragged children of Hoxton’ which paid for these meals. Before they could eat the kids had to sing: ‘thank you for the words so sweet, thank you for the birds that sing, that you for the food we eat, that you God for everything’ then they could eat.
    Once a year the kids were marched up to The Alexandra Trust (Dining Rooms) in City Road singing ‘I am H A P P Y ‘where they entered into the big hall which had large long tables lined with sandwiches and cakes etc. and the kids would eat there. I believe the money for this came out of the money that the Burtt Bros left to the ragged children of Hoxton.

  5. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Chrissie. Thank you very much for leaving that comment. It makes it all much more real. Best regards, Peter

  6. Elaine Jones says:

    My mum was born around the market in about 1920 (in Boot Street) which if you know Hoxton Market it is one side of the Square that forms the “Market”. My mum talked about Daddy Burtt’s with real affection. In her time it fed and shod the poor. The children were able to get new boots, whereas otherwise they would be barefoot. They were also taught to mend the shoes. I understand the boots would not be replaced unless the old boots were returned. I am now 63 and also remember Daddy Burtts with great affection. Mr German (or Jerman)ran it in my time. He would have clothes sales on one or two mornings a week. He would stand behind a big counter (upstairs in the Mission) holding up clothes, that had been donated to him, and asking what people would give him. Hands would go up offering a price, usually, pence… if I remember rightly. It was always busy and provided me with quite a wardrobe. Vintage now I’d say…

    Christmas parties were still held there at least until about 1954. I remember going Christmas morning. I wasn’t in need of dinner but I believe some children did stay. Mr German knew who the really needy children were and they would get new toys and sat at the front of the hall. I also remember going there some afternoons when I was small as they had some sort of old people’s club, and my used to go and “give a song”. They weren’t fussy and usually joined in .

    The Mission is now a Branch of the “Real Greek Restaurant”. I went in with some friends from Hoxton and the Manager at the time showed us pictures of the many children lining up for food all wearing the same boots. I visit Hoxton about 3 times a year and have seen it change such a lot. I will be going with some old School friends from St Monica’s very soon. A trip down memory lane.

  7. thebarrowboy says:

    Thank you for that comment, Elaine. It’s fascinating to hear these stories. All the best, Peter

  8. thebarrowboy says:

    Thank you, Vicky. Some of the other comments after yours give great insights into the Burtts.

  9. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Veronica. I hope you find some of the comments made after yours interesting. best regards, Peter.

  10. ALAN BADMAN says:

    am now 90 ;was brought up at the back end of Muswell Hill; my mother ,from Somerset ,was attenndee of the MH Congregational Church with our neighbours in Barnard Hill were also attendees. with the father the main organiser of charity to both Missions, Hoxton and Claremont; remember being hauled down there every Xmas to help hand out the food. a world apart; very exciting; inexplicable for one so young; how kind elderly people should thank me; thank me for ANYTHING. thought the people were far less BORING than those in Muswell Hill.

  11. thebarrowboy says:

    Hello, Alan. Thank you for your memories. What a different world it was. And so few people today are even interested.

  12. Jackie Portlock says:

    Hello – my mother was born in Penn St, Hoxton in 1923 and before she died wrote her memoirs (self-published) about growing up in the area. She mentioned the Mission in Hoxton and how she used to queue for soup. She also had great recollections of the Blackshirts and the dancing troupe run by Lady Moseley of which she was a member for a short time until her father found out who the backers were! She described the big East End funerals, the Friday night ‘knees ups’ , the bonfire night street parties, the poverty and friendship and how it all ended with Hitlers bombs. Several years ago I took her back for the first time and she marvelled at the fact that a block of flats had been named after her family (Sillitoe House) – her uncle used to be Mayor of Shoreditch. We had a stroll around and ended up in Hoxton Square in front of the newly opened Real Greek restaurant. She stood stock still and said that she remembered something about that building and then we turned our attention to the old lamp posts which she clearly remembered hanging ropes from as a child. It wasn’t until several years after her death that I returned to the Real Greek and happened to see the plaque inside identifying it as the site of the Mission and Soup kitchen in Hoxton. That’s when the penny dropped and I understood why Mum had been so interested by the building. I am keen to find out anything else to fill in the gaps. Took my Auntie back there last week and she had the waiters in tears with her recollections. Thank you for taking the trouble to research all this. I think you would be surprised to find just how many people today are not just interested, but positively fascinated by this part of London and its history. Thanks again

  13. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Jackie. Thank you so much for those memories. I feel the same about my old neighborhood. Lots of the old buildings are still standing but only the ghosts of the former residents remain.

  14. James Catherall says:

    I remember queing outside with all the other hungry children . On school holidays we were taken to epping forrest. At christmas we used to queue up for our dinner and toy. I remember getting a car or a train. I went to dany berts every day we had soup or apple turn over and custard I lived in drysdale st hoxton.I lived there with my mother and father with 6 siblings. I went to Daddy Burrts from age 7 untill the war broke out so I was evacuated at !2. The mission kept all the children of Hoxton alive. I lived in hoxton square but dont remember which number and I was told that Nell Gwyene lived in this house previously. James Catherall

  15. thebarrowboy says:

    Thanks for those memories, James.

  16. lynda says:

    does anyone remember the withers at no. 2. boot st,

  17. Elaine Jones nee Duncan says:

    Hi Lynda .. My nan was Kate Withers and lived at 2 Boot Street. My grandad was Harry Withers, newspaper seller and when not selling papers was to be found in the Hop Pole (public house) in Pitfield Street. I do not recognise your name unless you are my cousing Lynda. I spent nearly all my young life at 2 Boot Street and loved it. Please email me at as I would love to know who you are.

  18. john cruddas says:

    my mum was lilian frances grover ,later cruddas,was born in 1924 andlived in aske street,no longer there,,her mum jane elizabrth grover was a cook at st leonards hospital for many years,her husband charlie died young and the family struggled for many years,my mum had 4 sisters,laura,ginny,doris and ivy who was downs syndrome and died at 5 years old,all the sisters married,notably doris married alfie gilder ,the same family as the infamous porky gilder.we lived in aske st until it was demolished about 1952,love to hear from anybody else who remembers aske st and perhaps my family

  19. Elaine Jones nee Duncan says:

    Hi John,

    My family lived in Boot Street but I certainly remember the name Gilder and Grover and certainly the name Porky Gilder. I am 65 and my mother and grandmother are no longer alive. They would certainly be aware of these names…. I now live in Bromley but walked down Pitfield St and Hoxton St to visit my friends mum who still lives there. When I get to see her again I will ask if she remembers the names. Not many of the old Hoxton generation still living around there. I always stand and look up at St Leonard’s Hospital (it’s been cleaned up and modernised now) and read the sign that says something like “for the poor …. ” … it certainly was/


  20. Dianne says:

    I’m researching the Catherall family from Hoxton, and was interested to read the comments by James Catherall.
    If you’d like to get in touch, James, I’d be interested to see if yiu’re ooart of the family I’m looking at

  21. Ive just been reading the comments on here and its nice to read about peoples memories, Ive been working for a just over a year in Hoxton and found out from a few people about Daddy Burrts and wanted to know more. I work in Hayes & English Funeral Directors so i get to hear a few stories from the residence of Hoxton. From what ive heard Daddy Burrts was a much needed place. Sue

  22. Elaine Jones nee Duncan says:

    Hi Sue

    Are your family from Hoxton? I went to St Monica’s School in Hoxton Square and we had Camilleri’s there. I was also very familiar with Hayes & Engllish as it was the place of choice for all Family Funerals! We lived in Boot Street which is where Daddy Burtts was (Hoxton Market). My nan made wreaths and crosses from her house and many would have been for local funerals…
    My mum and her brothers and sisters would have been regulars at Daddy Burtts for both food and boots… Although I am only 65 I used to go there as they had little clubs going on and at Xmas always had a party. All the new toys would go to the children who would have been known as in real need and other toys to other local children. A Mr German, a lovely man, was involved then. He used to have a weekly morning clothes sale which was really well attended. He would hold up a garment and people would say “I’ll give you 3p, 6p a shilling or whatever for it. I remember these times with great affection…


  23. christina zahid. Nee. Frasi. om says:

    What memories,my late father spoke very movingly about daddy burts,he remembered the food and gifts at Christmas also the kindness shown by all who worked there.he was born in 1916 his father died young,and he was one of twelve children so this place was a lifesaver for his mother,they were very hard times! Thank you so much x

  24. I remember a family called Cruddas, twin brothers, John and Peter, we lived in Vince court in Charles square, and they lived on the floor above. My father Albert Hobbs was a ‘helper’ in Daddy Berts, and when we were children in the late fifties early 60’s we went to Sunday school in the mission.

  25. Just to say my Dad helped in the mission in the 30’s and was given a beautiful leather bound bible from them.

  26. Elaine Jones nee Duncan says:

    What a lovely keepsake of times past … Did you live in Hoxton Pa

  27. john cruddas says:

    i remember the hobbs family well i went to school with john and my brothers the twins peter and stephen were mates with eddie ask him about margaret russell and the spatula lol…peter has been in the news a lot lately he is sueing the sunday times,i now live in highams park and am still a london cabbie and i am round hoxton a to the hobbs family

  28. Steve Clifton says:

    My father was also born in Hoxton in 1921 and often told us about the Mission. We went to see it on Friday and it prompted me to search for more information.

    Luckily I found this kind person had put a scanned copy of a 20 page booklet about the work of the Hoxton Market Christian Mission and the Burrts on his website.

    Click to access Hoxton%20Mission.pdf

    I think lots of people here will find it interesting.

  29. Jon says:

    I’m researching my Mother’s family and am a nit stuck and wondered if anyone could help – but time is passing – she was born in Crondall Place in 1919 – the family name was Woods and she had 2 brothers and one sister (as far as I’m aware) One brother was Albert and Sister Rose – Her mother was Emily Woods (nee Biggs) – anyone with any pointers/knowledge please drop me a line.

  30. Candy Jones says:

    Hello, I’ve been researching my father’s family, there were from Hoxton (St Peter’s Parish). Richard George Williams was a Gas Time Keeper and he was married to my gt gt grandmother Edith Eliza Williams (nee Jones). They had 7 children, Maud, Jessie, Ivy, Lucy, George, Ernest and the youngest was my grandfather Richard Williams born in 1911 and lived at 36 Tuilerie Street, Haggerston. In the 1930s he was living at 35 Queens Road, Shoreditch. When he was married he lived shortly at 48 Eltham Walk, Walworth. He died in Newington in 1988. Richard was a cabinet maker journeyman and at the age of 22 married my grandmother Annie Lilian Williams (nee Fletcher). Due to the war my father was evacuated as a young child and was later adopted by the people who looked after him in the war. Richard and Lilian didn’t appear to stay together for long. I would love to know if anyone knows anything about my family.

  31. thebarrowboy says:

    Hi, Candy. Thanks for your comment. Hopefully, you’ll receive some feedback.

  32. Bob Billingham says:

    I lived in Phillip St,born in St.Leonards,AttendedShoreditch Central School
    until the outbreak of war.Which meant that I had to walk the length of Hoxton
    four times a day (no schooil meals then).My banns read in the church on the corner of Hemsworrth St. My brother and I used to go to Daddy Burrts to
    get our cards stamped so that we could go on the outing to Theydon Bois
    It also meant us having to sing.:Jesus is coming from earth to the sky:Who
    remembers Long & Doughtys. Is it still there.,?

  33. Elaine Jones nee Withers says:

    Was Long and Doughty a pawn shop….I rembember a jewellers called John Long that I believe was a pawn shop ….

  34. Elaine Jones nee Withers says:

    Hi Bob … was Long and Doughty a Jewellers and Pawn Shop… which later became John Long

  35. Bob Billingham says:

    Hallo Elaine,Yes,Long And Doughtys was the pawn shop.An extra penny
    was charged for paper and string on redemption! My mates first job at
    Sainsbury,s when 14 was digging the maggotts out of the backs of bacon that were hung up in the back of the shop.! and yes both Mum and Dad were
    interred by Hayes and English!.

  36. Elaine Jones nee Withers says:

    The pawn shop became just John Long but went ages and ages ago. There was also another pawn shop called Cohens nearer to Falkirk Street I believe. What a different world it was. Health and Safety would have had their work cut out when Sainsbury’s were cutting magotts out of Bacon. Obviously didn’t do us too much harm did it. I wasn’t born until 1947 so didn’t live the life that you had with a war on. My family all lived around the market where Daddy Burtts was. They did a great job didn’t they. Yes. and all my family were buried by “Hayes & English”. I loved growing up in Hoxton. Still visit regularly as my friend’s mum still lives there. I think the Church on Hemsworth Street is St Anne;s and is still there.

  37. victor coules says:

    I remember going to Daddy Burtts about 1950 ish to the Christmas Party with my brother and sister we all got a good meal and a small gift to go home with
    we lived in Grange street and had to walk all the way there and back but have never forgot the experience of Daddy Burtts

  38. Janet Hancock (was Beaumont) says:

    My mother and her brother and sisters told me that they used to share boots, and take it in turns to take the long walk from Baring street, through the market to Daddy Burt’s for food (late 20’s – 30’s)
    Some 30yrs later having moved to Geffrye court, Hare Walk and attending the just opened “Shoreditch Secondary School in Falkirk St, I was introduced to Daddy Burt’s or to give it it’s proper name Hoxton Market Christian Mission by a class mate. I joined the youth club, Christian Endeavour class and eventually the Silver Band.
    Mr German was the superintendent, with sister Margery and Miss Breach or “Breachy” as we called her, after Mr German retired his post as superintendent was taken over by “Mac Macombie” who had been the secretary for many years and was also involved with the Scouts at the mission. One of your other contributors John Cruddas and his brother were scouts along with Tony Strange Robby Wilson and Ray Cowley and Alan Watson all of whom I remember well. The scout leader at this time was Graham Hancock (Mac’s stepson)
    In 1967 along with 3 other friends we started 10th Shoreditch Guides at the mission and in 1970 I married Graham Hancock and Mac became my father in law and then moved to Kent. We stayed very involved until the mission closed and inherited a lot of material about the mission when Mac died and mum came to live with us. An Archivist from Hackney came to our home and interviewed mum at length and took most of the paper work for their records.
    Your previous contributor Victor is also a distant relative, my Grandad, Ted Dove and Victors mum are related. Small world!

  39. victor coules says:

    Hi Janet yes your granddad and my mother were brother and sister I new uncle Ted he lived in Baring St as I remember and I do have a few photos of him and some of the dove family if you are interested just email me and i will find them and send them to you
    all the best
    Victor Coules

  40. Janet hancock says:

    Hi Victor,
    Lovely to hear from you. I can be reached at, and would love to see any photos you have. Are you aware of the site called “we lived in Hoxton N1” loads of pictures and names you may be familiar with.
    Best wishes

  41. Elaine says:

    My Dad was an Hoxton boy and proud of it, a pupil at St Monicas he was evacuated to Wellingboro and hated it, cycled home many a time back to the old smoke. He was born in 1929 and used to go Daddys Burts for his dinner, I belong to the East London Family History group and a picture appeared in an edition of a class at St Monicas, I showed it to him and said ‘dad that looks like you’ ‘o yars he said it does’ I remarked how chunky and healthy he looks compared to the other ragged boys and girls. He said that was because he used to go to Daddy Burts for some dinner, but he used to get caned in school the next day for fratenising with non-Catholics!! it didnt stop him tho, he loved his grub did my Dad. He also told me a story that he doesnt remember clearly he was only two so my Aunties confirmed it, and he was stolen by the gypsies and carted off on the back of an Horse and Cart down Essex street with all the kids chasing after it, he was an angelic round faced little blond lad with a floppy pudding basin haircut.
    In the photo was a coloured boy, ooo Dad i said there was a cloured boy in your class, was there I dont remember, he takes a look and says oh yeah the Bellamys, ( a well known family whose tales can be dound elsewhere on the net)
    I was so pleased with the lady that sent that picture in its one of only two early pictures of my Dad being bombed out so many times…. Miss you Dad

  42. Elaine Jones nee Withers says:

    Hi Elaine…. my name is also Elaine, I was Elaine Duncan before I married a Jones. I also have a great photo of a group of St Monica’s Children. I gave a copy to Hoxton Hall as they were collecting photo’s for display. This photo was taken in around the 1930’s and my mum is in it. They look a pretty poor lot … I expect most of them went to Daddy Burtts for dinner. I am probably a lot older than you and Elaine was not a name heard often in Hoxton at the tine.

  43. Lynda says:

    Hello everyone, my uncle was a young theology student in the late thirties and lived at Hoxton mission for two years while in training. He would preach on Sundays and my grandmother and mother would travel up from Coulsdon to help put on a Sunday tea for the church goers. My grandmother also would make up pansy bouquets and my mother would stand at the mission door and hand them out as the ladies left the service. Sp many memories…..

  44. Olive Bradstock says:

    I was born in St Leonards and lived in Crondall Street, but can’t find any photos of old Crondall Street. Have just returned from a trip down memory lane to Crondall Street and the surrounding area. Didn’t recognise any of it but I would love to see any old photos. Many thanks Olive

  45. Janet Hancock says:

    Hi Olive,
    I’m Jan Hancock I was very involved with Hoxton Market Mission as you may have read above.
    I am also a member of an on line group called “Memories of Hoxton, Shoreditch. On there you will find many friends from the area and lots of photos of familiar places, Crondall St, St Johns Church and all around the Hoxton area.
    If you would like to join, I would be happy to help you do it.

  46. Jon Pyke says:

    This latest post from Olive and Jan prompted me to write. I’m not a Hoxton lad but my mother was born in Crondall Place in 1919 and I am desperate to find out more – the name was Woods – so if anyone can help I’d be very grateful.

  47. Elaine Jones says:

    Hi, my names is Elaine Jones and I was about to offer the same advice as Janet Hancock. Memories of Hoxton would be a good idea. My mother was born in 1919 in Boot Street which isn’t far from Crondall Street but she is no longer around to ask about people she might have known. Good luck with your search.

  48. Jon PYKE says:

    Thanks for the reply – you mum and my mum could have gone to school together 🙂

    Is there a link to the memories of hoxton site ?

  49. Jon PYKE says:

    By the way my grandmother was from hoxton as well and in the Census she is a box maker – does anyone know if that was at the match factory

  50. Olive Bradstock says:

    I am enjoying all the news about Hoxton. I would love to know of anyone else who lived in Crondall Street 1950’s and also any pictures of the street. I have had no luck so far and would appreciate any if they can be sent.

  51. Elaine Jones says:

    Hi Olive .. the link is on Facebook. I am new to the site but it seems that Crondall Street is mentioned quite a lot. I think it would be a good starting place. Request to join and then ask if anyone knew your family. It is very easy and becomes quite compulsive.

  52. Denise Hyde says:

    My Grandad was born at 54 Hoxton Square name Cleave he was born in 1881. Anybody know the name. Would love to hear anything.


  53. Rob Smith says:

    Anyone ever heard of the Kahlows (releatives of mine. They would have been around Hoxton 1900-1940 (I know it’s a long time ago!) I understand they were well known!

  54. Bob Billingh says:

    Never hear of anybody from the Witmore Estate. Especially from pre war residence. Surely I cant be alone.My sister Mill and cousinn Margie were regular worshippers at the Hoxtion Hall and the Tabernacle. Does anybody remember them.? Bob Billingham

  55. Elaine Jones says:

    hello Jon …box making was a flourishing trade in and around Hoxton. If you are thinking it could be the match factory girls and the strike initiated by Annie Besant I would guess it was not. Bow would have been quite a trek from Hoxton and jobs in this trade would have been readily available locally. If you are on Facebook it could help to look at Memories of Hoxton and search the name. You can also ask if anyone knows of this family ….good luck

  56. Jon says:

    Thanks Elaine I shall go an investigate the FB page – see what I can find. It’s all a bit frustrating trying to get past my Grandmother’s time on the genealogy trek – but I’ll get there 🙂

  57. grace owen says:

    hi my mum grace owen also known as dolly, lived in Hoxton 6, barton court, she went to crondall school she was born in 1934, her mum was called olive and father named jim.she had 3 brothers and three sisters.she was born at st. leonards hospital.mum would absolutely love to hear from anybody who knew her family please she has very fond memories

  58. Olive Bradstock says:

    To Grace Owen, hi there, my name is Olive Bradstock (I was born Olive Davidson in St Leonards Hospital in 1939.) I lived at 11 Crondall Street, right opposite the North Briton Pub and went to St Johns School, infants and juniors and then Shoreditch Central School in Hoxton Street. My friend Lucy was born Lucy Aldrich in 1935 in Bookham Street and went to Crondall Street School, she lived in Bookham Street. She married Terry Parish, whose Dad had a grocery shop for many years in Bookham Street. It would be good to hear from anyone who remembers either of us;. Merry Christmas to you and your family and a happy new year.

  59. Kim Johnson says:

    hi olive bradstock, I have spoke to my mum grace owen, and she does not recall any of the above names, she was born 1934 in st leonards hospital and also went to crondall school.mum says would youre friend lucy remember her.also mum has a lot of brothers and sisters as well don’t know if u r youre friend would remember the names of them.its really lovely u have replied I know mum would love to know if their is anybody out their remembers her or any of the owen family, or know of the parrott family my dads surname.merry xmas to yourself and youre family to and a happy new year back x

  60. jean says:

    Just found this. So interesting. My father was the milkman for Hoxton market during this time and my brothers and sisters often spoke of Daddy Birtts. When one of my sisters was knocked down by a car the market traders had a whip round and paid for my family to go to Canvey Island for a weeks holiday for her to convalesce. A rare thing in those days. One Christmas dad was given a shot of whiskey at nearly every delivery, by the time he finished he was so drunk the children of Hoxton pushed him back to his boss on his cart and not a penny was missing from his takings. They lived in Drysdale House. Does anyone remember him?

  61. ken. lee says:

    I.Went to st johns in the 40s and pitfield street in the 50s

  62. shepherd says:

    hi everyone i must say how much i have enjoyed reading all your memories of hoxton i was born there in 1933 in ivy walk hoxton and remember going to daddy burts befor the war my family name was adams my mum was rose and my dad was dick does anyone remmember them

  63. maureen copeland says:

    Just found this site. My husband is William Copeland., one of seven siblings born to Grace and Ted Copeland. They all grew up in Hoxton Market and knew Daddy Berts well. All their shoes came from there. There were seven of them, Grace,Lylie.Dolla,Joanie,Teddy ,Bella and my husband Billy. They moved from the market to Styman Street. The Withers and Duncan families are known to us. Sadly now, only Billy and Joanie are left. Joanie married Gordon Bloxham the bookmaker.We moved out of London many years ago and now live in Welwyn in Hertfordshire.I come from Timothy rd Bow.My parents were Ada and Harry House. If anybody reading this can shed any light on the “House” family I would love to hear. I must have lots of cousins out there because dad had many siblings…..Mary,Annie,Charlotte,George,Wally,Jimmy and probably more.All from Limehouse and Poplar. Please feel free to e mail me with any snippets of information.

    Maureen Copeland nee House

  64. Elaine Jones says:

    Hello Maureen,

    I am the granddaughter of Kate Withers and daughter of Maggy Duncan nee Withers and Doug Duncan. The Coplands were names very familiar to me. My cousin Tommy Yetton was friends with them . My mum Maggy was good friends with Grace but I believe she was known to mum as Dangles and dad was a drinking friend of Mackie Martin. Dangles had a lovely singing voice and used to sing in the Crosby Head and mum would accompany her . It was about having fun in those days. The name House doesn’t ring a bell with me and I have no living relatives to ask . My cousin Tommy died in his early sixties and he would have been able to tell us more. I am 68 so I think that’s why I do not know enough to help you. It was lovely to read your email. You should put put out a request on Memories of Hoxton and I think you would get a response. I look forward to hearing of a news you have.

    Elaine Jones

  65. Henry Pilott says:

    My mother Alice Pilott 1889-1967 was involved with Burtts during the thirties. She was in charge of many outings to the mission’s holiday place at Loughton in Epping Forest. We children called it “Lousy Loughton”. I often had a dinner of shepherd’s pie and bread pudding afters. I remember sitting at the long tables while some adult would call out “Elbows Off” We moved from the area 1937.

  66. Janet Hancock says:

    I think that would have been the Sunday School outings to a Tearooms at, or opposite a place called the Rising Sun. The visits continued well into the 60s. My Husdband Graham, whose Father worked as the Superintendent of Daddy Burtts (Hoxton Market Christion Mission) untill it closed, remembers going on many occassions. Jan Hancock.

  67. Alex Pemberton says:

    Great site looking for anybody that would remember my mum and dad there names are Harry and Elsie pemberton,mums maiden name was Elsie Vincent she was one of 8 sisters and 1 brother, mum lived in pitfield st and then bridport place in and before the war hope somebody can remember my e/mail is

  68. Patrick Smyth says:

    Hi Maureen Copeland, was reading through the posts, when i happened across your surname as i think . that one of your sisters in law, Bella Copeland attended St Monica`s alongside of me during 1948/49. I was known then as Pat Smith and lived at Stringer House, Nuttal Street and was friendly also with Tommy Yetton cousin of Elaine Jones. Looking back on your posting Maureen, i see that Bella has passed away, very sorry to hear that.I now live in Romford and my name had the letter y inserted in my surname as apposed to the letter I, so i am now, and have been since 1950, known as Pat Smyth. I remember doing a little bit of boxing near Boot Street, with two brothers, Guss and Stanley Austin, their sister Caroline was good friends with my now sadly departed sister Ellen Smith. I am approaching 79 years of age now, and think how lucky i am, to be able to look at terrific sites like this and read the stories of all those who have posted on here. Good luck to all you Hoxtonites and God bless.

  69. john payne says:

    hi my name is john payne,I lived in Hoxton,I cant remember the name of the street,but I do know that I was run over by a motcycle and side car,I was about three and a half, at the time, somewhere close by in Hoxton,and spent 6 months in hospital with broken legs,and when I came home, I remember going to daddy burtts for a meal with my brother,soon after that we moved to hackney,

  70. maureen copeland says:

    Hi everyone, So excited, we are going back to Hoxton tomorrow for the first time in 20 years. Bill was born and bred there in Hoxton market in 1938. Lived in Styman St and then Scorton House in Hoxton St, We are looking forward to Pie and mash and having a walk around. No family there now but lots of memories. Went to St Monicas school and got shoes at Daddy Burts. Saturday nights at Brookes pub. Billy,s sister Grace Martin (known as Dangles) married to mack Martin lived in Hemsworth Court. Best friend was Tommy Yetton. Oh! could go on forever.

    Maureen and Billy Copeland

  71. Elaine Jones says:

    High Maureen…. I hardly ever look at my emails and was so pleased to see your message on The Barrow Boy site….. if I had read this sooner perhaps I could have met you there. Until fairly recently I was in Hoxton quite a lot but my friends mum died and therefore didn’t have so much reason to visit. My friends mum lived in the flats where Dangles lived, not the same block though. I can only imagine you might have been disappointed when you look at it now. Its the atmosphere that is missing … and that was so important. Did you go down pitfield t. Love to hear from you….r….

  72. Maureen Copeland says:

    Hello Elaine Nice to hear from you. Well, we had a great day in Hoxton. As you say, it will never be he same. We went up by train and walked from Old St. What a change at Old St. Wow! We walked down Pitfield St and went round the market. St Monicas school still the same from outside. We had our pie and mash and had a good laugh with the owner. Looked up at Dangles’ old flat.Ahhhh!Looked in Brookes’. They are turning it into offices. What memories that pub holds!. We walked for about 3 hours. Came home absolutely shattered but went down memory lane. Hope to speak soon Maureen Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2016 18:38:59 +0000 To:

  73. Ilona Cove nee Scrivener says:

    I have just been down memory lane after looking at some photo’s of Hoxton that my son in law sent me. I am now 66 and still remember Daddy Burtts, or as we called it The Hoxton Market Christian Mission. I had some great times there as did my brother John. The Saturday night get together’s, on the opposite side of the square, (run by Miss Breach) practicing our jive moves, or listening to our band thinking one day they may be famous! Then we had the usual Sunday school with Mr German, I still have the bible he gave me for attendance to Sunday school.. we had stamp collecting nights lots of things to do, what good fun! I remember the trips to Chalkwell beach near Southend, what a great time, I could go on and on…..

  74. M Robus says:

    I’m M Robus I used to live in Fairbank St and remember Daddy Burrts well,the meals we received and the toys handed out at Christmas time,If my memory serves me well when he approached us in the street for a chat he used a walking stick against his back for support,so many memories…….

  75. jean says:

    Does anyone remember my dad. He was the milkman that worked around the area including the marke. Not sure of years but between 30s annd 40s. My brothers and sisters talked often about daddy burts dinners. My sister was about 11 when she was knocked down by a wedding car. All the market traders clubbed together and sent mum, dad and 6 kids off to Canvey for a holiday for her to recuperate. They lived in Drysdale house. Yes, it was hard times but hearts were big and generous and I grew up listening to their stories of kindness from the people of Hoxton.

  76. terry j says:

    grace, i was born in barton court behind hayes and english in 1936 i also went to shoreditch central, left about 1949 / 50 not sure i remember you but…maybe you remember lenny kemble he is a mate of mine

  77. kim johnson says:

    hello terry.i was born 1934 and lived at 6 barton crt.i had seven brothers and sisters our surname was owen and went to crondall school.married a man called walter parrott who also had a large family

  78. terry j says:

    my mums name was nellie jones and dad was tom jones i had two brothers at that time one was tom the other was robert,, not to sure when we left barton court, left london during the war but returned to london about 1943 then i went to coleman st ward school then to shoreditch central,also a member of the lions boys club in hoxton

  79. kim johnson says:

    my mums name was olive Christine owen and my dad was jim owen I remember their was a rag and bone man that used to give u a balloon for clothes.i remember the lions boys club.i can remember the honours family at barton brothers names were Lennie, franky, jimmy and then me grace, mary, Susie and louie

  80. terry j says:

    do any one billy witt who was a friend of mine who was killed in 1955 when he was in the army

  81. Dean Rimmer says:

    I am the Grandson of Porky Gilder and would love some information on him. My Dad was given up for adoption and ended up in Liverpool. I never knew of his real family until recently. Always thought I was half scouse but now realise my fathers family are Londoners.

  82. says:

    Hi we r related in a way ,my mums sister doris married alfie gilder ,i beieve porkys nephew ,they had three girls joyce,christine and pat ,all gilders ,ill see if i can forward this to pat ,joyce is dead now,christine lives in spain but pat is still about ,look on facebook for pat piper ,see if she can help ….john cruddas

  83. dean rimmer says:

    Hey thanks for the reply John. I will have a look on fb.

  84. says:

    Stay in touch with me via Facebook ,I’ll see what I can find out

  85. dean rimmer says:

    I am off fb at the moment but you can email me on

  86. victor coules says:

    just been back to hoxton a quick visit looked att the old school in pitfield st
    not there anymore.went to st monicas church got married there in 1971
    how things have changed in London over the 40 years since i left to settle
    in australa

  87. says:

    Its a sad place now ,full of the wrong sort of people ,loony lefties and yuppies ,all the community gone now,real eastenders,market is a shithole no proper coster mongers now ,stalls and shops handed down ,immigration destroyed this part of london if not whole of london ,everybody knew everbody in my day,anybody needed help there was a whipround ,no doors locked ,all the pubs gone ,soulless ,lifeless place now ,spirit has gone from london

  88. Janet Hancock says:

    Lovely to read your back home on a visit Victor. Will let the Dove relatives and their families know. How long are you visiting for. Jan Hancock x

  89. victor coules says:

    Back in Australia now .To cold over there

  90. victor coules says:


    In my Street I knew my neighbors.
    In my Street I felt quite safe
    I walked to school and back again
    And life was not so much a race.

    I knew the faces in my street
    We said good morning when we would meet.
    Didn’t look away as we pasts by
    Like we do today, not eye to eye

    In my Street we stuck together.
    Talked of substance not the weather.
    Child skinned their knee or cried for mum.
    Just a call. Someone would come.

    In my Street we had the time.
    A cup of sugar to lend that’s Fine.
    Our Street door we never locked.
    You rang the bell or you just knocked.

    In my Street when someone died.
    A reef of flowers the street would buy.
    We all went out to see them go.
    In our street it was quite a show.

    In my Street Now, we know not many.
    Lost a pound and found a penny.
    Doors are closed and locked real tight.
    Hear a knock and you get a fright.

    Today our streets are all the same.
    Cars are parked where once kids played.
    Neighbors go and Neighbors stay.
    Bring back My Streets of Yesterday.

    V. Coules 15/12/05

  91. says:

    Brilliant sums up everything ,our london gone for good and much the worse for it

  92. Terry jones says:

    Another pomme from hoxton I left hoxton in 1968/9 used to be a lion boys club member also went to shoreditch central now live near adelaide

  93. victor coules says:

    Gday Terry i have just come back from the UK (HOXTON) and took a photo
    of the new LION CLUB if you would like a copy i will send it to your email address .

  94. I have seen the name Gilder mentioned quite a few times. In the early sixties I was friendly with Porky Gilders son David.. Does anyone know what happened to him.

  95. dean says:

    Hi Chris. David was my Dads brother. David died a few years go.

  96. Chris DevAney. (Range) says:

    I am sorry to hear that. He was an important part of my teen age years. I have good memories of him. Thank you for letting me know

  97. John Kahlow says:

    Comments sent earlier sending details again

  98. Philip Burtt says:

    Hi My greatgrandfather was Richard martin Burtt – brother of Lewis and John Burtt (founders of the Hoxton Mission) If any one has any information about them please contact me at

  99. Bon Kahlow says:

    Responding to Rob Smith, comment 53, my Dad is a Kahlow and his mum was a Smith. He would love to hear from anyone who remembers his family.

  100. Rob Smith says:

    Hello Bon Khalow. What is your fathers first name?

  101. John Kahlow says:

    Hello Rob Bon is my daughter my name is John Kahlow,. My mums side of family are Smiths she had six brothers all lived in Hoxton, my uncle Albert lived in Branch Place

  102. Rob Smith says:

    Hello John, Was your father also John?

  103. John Kahlow says:

    Yes Rob he was born 1900 died 1977’have you heard of them they were well known in Hoxton in the 20s 30s 40s perhaps for the wrong reasons ! They were a very big family

  104. Rob Smith says:

    Yes John I am aware of the background I think! I thank you may be my dads cousin. He is Eric Smith age about 76. He is the son of John Smith and Dorothy Kahlow. I’ve heard tales of Johnny and Arthur. My dad has photos of the family. The names Rose and Maude ring a bell too. Will speak to my dad now just to confirm what I have told you is accurate

  105. Rob Smith says:

    John I have spoken to my dad and you are cousins. In addition to previous your dads siblings were Henry, Emma, Eddie, Lizzie, Martha and Charlie who died in WE1 in France. He thinks your siblings were Teddy, Albert Sylvia and Joan. His mum Dorothy was known as Dolly. He remembers Elmore Street. He has done a lot of research on the Kahlows and is happy to talk to you if you are interested.

  106. John Kahlow says:

    Rob: A blast from the past,I remember Eric very well frequent visitor with Aunt Doll and Uncle Jack did’nt he have brothers they were great fun.
    Would be delighted to compare notes and photos of family history,I seem to have come to an impasse with the Kahlows.
    I find this site a bit cumbersome ,have you and dad reached the dizzy of emails which I find easier for attachments and photos.I’ll let Bonny know you replied she went back to Germany on Tuesday.
    Regards John

    mob: 07957 934244

  107. John Kahlow says:

    Fantastic your dad rang me Thanks

  108. Roy Hill says:

    I used to play Cornet in the Hoxton Market Christian Mission ‘Silver’ Band in 50’s-60’s ( Mr Jerman, Miss Breach, Mr MacCombie ) with my Older Brother Will – any of us still left? I’m still playing in Bondi Brass in Sydney Australia.
    Used to be in the Mission ( ‘The Mish’) scouts aswell ( 10th Shoreditch at the mission and my younger brother John was also in the scout/cubs group)

    These are some of the names I remember from 60 years ago. The brass band was full complement ( at least 20+ players ) and very dedicated most were +50yrs when we were there around 1960

    Fred Potter – Solo Cornet & Bandmaster – used to be Mr Jayes before Fred.
    Charlie Smith – Solo Eb Horn
    Eddie ?? – Eb Tenor Horn
    Ted Smith – Eb Tenor Horn
    Christine Smith – Trombone
    Chris Potter – Trombone
    John Edwards – Euphonium
    Graham Hancock – Cornet
    Will Hill – Repiano Cornet & Drums in 1960’s Band @ Mission Youth Club
    Roy Hill – 2nd Cornet
    Robert Wilson – Flugel Horn
    Ray Cowley – Baritone
    John ?? Bass G-Trombone
    Ted ?? Eb Bass ( we was about 70+ in 1960’s)
    Alf ?? – Bb Bass ( his son , Tom ? used to play cornet also)

    And we had a choir! ( at least a dozen people)

    We played every sunday night at the service 6.30-7.30 and always a huge concert at Easter. We did the Hallelujah Chorus one Easter – the ‘Mish’ was packed to the brim. I remember it like yesterday. Some of the best times ever. there were numerous band tours to the country ( at least an hours drive away! – that was the country to us growing up in Shoreditch) . We did away concerts for ‘Harvest festivals’ in Essex – I was very impressed going to a country town – it was like they were foreigners!! – and Band Beano’s to Hastings. I think we have some family 8mm film of that somewhere.

    Would be interesting to see any old pictures of the Band from the mission.
    contact ( Sydney, Australia) 69 now

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