Home Library Library Displays Bishopsgate Voices Are Yer Comin' Dahn The Lane?

Are yer comin' dahn The Lane?

'Are yer comin' dahn The Lane?': Petticoat Lane, c1930Even though the name hasn’t officially existed since 1830 when it became Middlesex Street, Petticoat Lane is synonymous with the East End, bustling crowds and market stalls. By the mid-Victorian era, the Lane was not only the place to buy new and second-hand clothes, it was a centre for all kinds of secondhand goods, and the nearby markets of Brick Lane and Club Row made Spitalfields the marketplace of all London.

Using memories and interviews from our Bishopsgate Voices project, along with photographs from the archives at Bishopsgate Library, we invite you to share some accounts of the characters, shops and atmosphere of this famous area.

Colourful characters and the Lane's tipster, Prince Monolulu

The Jewish tailoring trade and buying a new suit

Petticoat Lane Market, c1940People visited ‘the Lane’ from all over London and West Londoner, Robin Dickers, regularly visited the Market on a Sunday with his parents to peruse the stalls, take a drink in Dirty Dicks and get something to eat at Tubby Isaacs' famous shellfish stall. In the following sound clip he recalls the Jewish tailoring trade that flourished in the area and the experience of buying his first suit.


'Monkey Millie', Mary Green, the peanut queen, and Jack Strong

Selling watches at Petticoat Lane Market, c1960Laurie Allen was born in 1945 in the Royal London Hospital and brought up in Goulston Street, just around the corner from the Lane. He still lives in Goulston Street today. As well as remembering Prince Monolulu, Laurie describes a whole new cast of colourful characters who frenquently London's most famous market, including 'Monkey Millie', Mary Green and Jack Strong.





The rag trade above the shops

Petticoat Lane on a Sunday, c1920Billy Dove moved from Yorkshire to London in 1958 to attend teacher training college in Chelsea. He subsequently went on to teach at a number of schools in the area, including Sir John Cass School and Rochelle School, while also living at Toynbee Hall for a time. Still a resident of the area, he recalls in this clip a number of attractions in the area, including Kossoff's Bakery and the local Jewish rag trade.



Finding the lyrics to the latest hit single and buying handbags

Marie Henderson was born in Stepney and spent a large part of her career working in the rag trade in Strype Street. In this clip, she vividly recalls coming to the Lane on a Sunday to find out the lyrics of the latest pop single and to visit Wentworth Street to browse the high quality handbags for sale.


Londoner48 avatar
29 January 2012 17:43

I believe that Jack Strong may have been related to me. Lots of my relatives lived and worked down the Lane and I recall Jargoon, who sold cheap watches I think and Jack Strong, amongst many others. My father also worked down in the market too. I believe that Jack Strong was shown on the BBC TV programme "Tonight" fronted by Cliff Michelmore in the 1960s. He had won an award as best salesman in Europe, or something like that. Cannot seem to find out much about Jack Strong, but if any of his descendants or relatives read this, please write in your comments. Thanks. I also remember my dad introducing me to Prince Monolulu as a child. They do not make characters like these ones any more and more is the pity.

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