Encouraging bidders at an auction of images of the Jewish East End from the 1970s, Boris Johnson told guests at Forman’s Fish Island Gallery in Hackney: “These are historical photographs.”
They were among 40 donated pieces being sold in aid of the Stairway to Heaven Trust, which wants to erect a memorial to the 173 victims of the wartime bombing of Bethnal Green station. Around half-a-dozen Jews were among those who died.
The London Mayor said afterwards: “The East End, like many parts of London, has been a beneficiary of huge contributions by the Jewish community and it’s important we celebrate that.” The photographer, Mike Pattison, recalled “walking around with my Nikon and cataloguing the Jewish characters of the East End.
“They’re all gone now but if you look up, you’ll still see the old Yiddish signs.”
Jewish Pearly Queen Doreen Golding also attended and EastEnders actress Patsy Palmer auctioned-off an Albert Square street sign signed by the cast.
Host Lance Forman said it was “so impressive to see Boris Johnson auctioning a picture of rabbis and to have members of the public showing such interest. It is really quite heartwarming.”
The sale raised over £5,000 for the trust.