Memories of 71 Varden Street, the London and Passover brandy
Contributed by jean.gaffin on March 24, 2018
My main memory is visiting my grandparents at 71 Varden Street, which was just behind the London Hospital. The house is now demolished and the new building is part of the London Hospital. Grandmother cooked amazing food like stuffed cabbage and biscuits, with a coal-burning stove in the kitchen and kitchen sink outside the back door. Lavatory at the end of the garden - I used to stand outside and look up at the medical students playing football [on the bomb site behind the bombed-out Philpot Street Great Synagogue, site of John Harrison House] and hope for a football to be kicked into the garden. My grandparents spoke Yiddish and very little English so there was little conversation but lots of warm smiles and my grandfather taught me to play cards. We played for money, pennies, and he always made sure I won the last game.
I was eight when we came back to London from being evacuated in Oxford, and my father came back from the army having been abroad most of the war. When I was a little older, and he started to earn, a big treat was eating out in the East End either in big Felds in Whitechapel Road or little Felds in Commercial Road. Mr Feld of big Felds eventually opened a kosher hotel in Bournemouth. My cousin lived in Philpot Street round the corner. My grandfather made wonderful cherry brandy for Passover.