Haji Nanna Biryani, 14 Whitechapel Road

Built 1881-2 as the George public house, shopfront of 1934

14 Whitechapel Road
Contributed by Survey of London on June 27, 2016

A timber-framed building on this site by the early eighteenth century was the George public house, then by 1841 the George and Dragon. It had livery stables to the rear. The pub was rebuilt in 1881–2 for Courage & Co. Ltd by Ashby Brothers, builders, and its name changed again to the Old George. But the licence was lost and the premises converted to shop use by 1914; there were partial rebuilds in 1923 and 1927. These were followed in 1934 by the insertion of a two-storey faience-trimmed neon-embellished shop-front, designed by North, Robin & Wilsdon, architects, and made by Crabb & Son Ltd of Tulse Hill. This was for Boris Bennett (1900–1985, born Sochaczewska in Poland), who traded as Boris Studio and became ‘the doyen of Jewish wedding photographers’. 1 The building was acquired by Buck & Hickman Ltd in 1952, when first-floor windows were inserted, and is presently occupied by Haji Nanna Biryani with flats above.

  1. British Library, Crace Port.16.22: spitalfieldslife.com/2014/11/21 /boris-bennett-photographer/: www.jewisheastend.com/boris.html: District Surveyors Returns: Metropolitan Board of Works Minutes, 14 July 1882, p. 92: Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, Building Control File 42763: The National Archives, IR58/84803/2080 

Boris Bennett, photographer, and the later history of the building
Contributed by Maureen on July 28, 2017

Boris Bennett had a photographic studio at 14 Whitechapel Road. He was a Polish Jewish refugee. Couples queued on the staircase and the police had to control the crowds. He sold out to Stanley Kalm's father and it became Currys.

Boris the photographer
Contributed by Joe Swinburne on June 12, 2017

Every Jewish house had the wedding photograph. The only thing that was different if you were to pick ten or twelve houses with these wedding photographs were the faces of the people. Everything else was identical.

14-18 Whitechapel Road from the north-west, April 2017
Contributed by Derek Kendall