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Tassaduq Ahmed MBE Tassaduq Ahmed

The Evening Standard

8 July 2002

A Princelet among houses

A.N. Wilson

The beautiful terraced houses of Spitalfields were first occupied by Huguenot weavers, and have provided homes for Jewish refugees from the Continent in the 19th and 20th centuries. Now that part of London is home to a melange of Sikhs and Bengali immigrants, 18th century aesthetes, city slickers (it is five minutes' walk from Liverpool Street) and such figures as Gilbert and George and Tracey Emin.

No 19 Princelet Street, which has been described as "the nation's answer to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam", was a refuge and centre for many Jews coming to London during the 1930s. It had a synagogue that has not fallen into disuse and a meeting-room that was used for anti-Fascist gatherings. The small house was a prism through which the whole European catastrophe could be apprehended.

It is good news that English Heritage is going to restore the house and make it into a museum, describing among other things the Kindertransport project that rescued 10,000 children from Europe. It can be put right for £3 million - not much for a project of this sort.

Editoral Comment
It is in fact the multi-cultural charity the Spitalfields Centre that will save the house and create the museum. We thank English Heritage for their help and support, but we still need to raise all the money.