124 Whitechapel Road

1860s shophouse, possibly for Zebedee Wilcox, ginger-beer maker

Abdul Shukar Khalisdar started his first office on 124 Whitechapel Road
Contributed by Survey of London on Dec. 2, 2017

Local businessman and community activist, Abdul Shukar Khalisdar started his first business in rented rooms above the shop in this building in 2006, here he describes his working conditions.

I was operating from the top of the PFC, fast food shop, 124 Whitechapel road, I was on the third floor above a fried chicken shop, that's where I took my first office. It wasn't desirable, it was really horrible but that was the best that was on offer locally. I thought, "Hang on. There has to be something more than [this]”… It was a bit embarrassing, it wasn't the most presentable place but I kept saying, "Look, if the business does well, I'm going to move out."

[It was two rooms] up the stairs, [you had to] climb over dead rodents and things at times as well, genuinely, it was that bad. I used to go and use the bathroom in the shop.

It was a private landlord but he didn't care. The landlord had no vision, he somehow ended up buying the property and people asked him, "Would you rent it?" And he was renting out space but it was not dedicated to the business space. Anyway, in a very short space of time, three months I think, into the business, I realised I need to expand..

I was finding out [about] big employers, security employers and offering them a free recruitment service for all the candidates that we were getting qualified. Because of that guaranteed job interview, everyone was prepared to pay me as opposed to the two or more established training provider because we were doing something different which is guaranteed job interviews. Within a very short space of time I outgrew the space so I started looking for more office space, but at the same time, I wanted to get the centre accredited."

Abdul Shukar Khalisdar was interviewed by Shahed Saleem on 10.06.16

122 and 124 Whitechapel Road in March 2017
Contributed by Derek Kendall