Anglo-Jewish Life

In Praise of Whitechapel Library

Kops’ poem and stories of the university of the East End.

Philip Green, Blogging & Writing.

I am a huge fan of public libraries, from childhood up until today I have found them wonderful places of education, escape, peace and adventure. At secondary school I was a ‘librarian’, and for a time in the late 1980s and early 1990s I worked at Whitechapel Library – once known as ‘The University of the East End’- a wonderful place full of history and atmosphere. As soon as it opened its doors in 1892 the library became a place of escape and learning for the local poor and the large Jewish population who had sought refuge from persecution in eastern Europe. It became a place of refuge and learning, and it was also a meeting place for political activists and revolutionaries. Famous library users have included the poet Isaac Rosenberg, artists Mark Gertler and David Bomberg, the playwrights Arnold Wesker and Bernard Kops, (his wonderful poem Whitechapel Library Aldgate East is below), and the…

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