4 Wentworth Street, London E1 7TF

1885-6 stock brick shop with residential over | Part of 2-4 Wentworth Street

Shops at 2-50 Wentworth Street
Contributed by Survey of London on Aug. 27, 2019

The shophouses at 2–4 Wentworth Street form part of James Hartnoll's development of 1885–6 that continues at 52–72 Middlesex Street. Their shops were in use as butchers until the First World War. Ladies outfitters moved in and took over after the Second World War, reflecting the wider supplanting of food shopping by the rag trade in Petticoat Lane Market.1

Shops further east form the ground-level storey of the Wentworth Dwellings development of 1884–6, a backdrop to the street market that ran, and still dribbles, along Wentworth Street. Originally these had rear rooms, some used as parlours, and two basement rooms, some used as kitchens. Until the Second World War they housed a mixture of general traders catering to the local, mainly Jewish, population – fishmongers, grocers, tobacconists and, especially, butchers. Thereafter the rag trade predominated. In 2019, fifteen out of twenty-four shops here were devoted to textiles, most run by women from Nigeria and selling West African waxed cotton, Swiss voile and guinea brocade, a glazed jacquard cotton. This specialism began around 1997 when Franceskka Adimbola opened her double shop, Franceskka Fabrics, at Nos 2–4. With the exception of one takeaway café and two clothes shops, the other shops sell accessories – jewellery and shoes – that are intended to go with the fabrics.2

  1. Post Office Directories: London Metropolitan Archives, District Surveyors Returns: Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper, 4 April 1886, p.10; 16 June 1886, p.2: The National Archives, IR58/84820/3781–2 

  2. Post Office Directories: The National Archives, IR58/84820/3783-3800: spitalfieldslife.com/2011/01/17/the-wax-sellers-of-wentworth-st/