Robert's Restaurant

Memories of the East End

 

 

 

From 1940 until the mid-Fifties, Robert's Restaurant was renowned as a meeting place for Continental Jews who had arrived in London's East End following their successful escapes from Nazi oppression. Many became close personal family friends, forging relationships that endured throughout their lives. The restaurant was the scene of many happy memories and magical moments - both tender and comical. The refugees frequently raised voices at each other, much to the amusement of younger persons present. Some even openly expressed a dislike for one another. And yet, despite this, there was an almost formal politeness of address.

 

Refugees drawn into the inner family circle were initially referred to as "Uncle" and "Auntie", and there was the knowledge and awareness of both first and last names. Those less close were known by either a forename or surname - either of which would be used with a polite "Mr" or Mrs", such as "Mr Dave" or "Mrs Levinson". All, however, were an indelible part of East End life in the Forties and Fifties.

 

This page is an assembly of East End memories of a time gone by, featuring both refugees and locals who added to their warmth.

 

Barney ~~~

Sir Basil Henriques

Bernie Share

Bertha Broat

Bertl Hassler

Betty Collins Bonnie ~~~ Charles Roth

Clara Teitler

Daisy Fuller

Dave ~~~

Dora Zweigenthal

Emmy Nissenfeld

Gisella ~~~

Hans Zweigenthal

Helen Hirn

Ilbert Borchardt

Ilonka Lieblan

Jack Spatz Josef  Nissenfeld

Lily Spatz

Maurice Cheepen

Max Lieblan

Max Strum

Mr Eisler

Mr Hysler

Mr Katz

Mr Sawady

Mrs Levinson

Mrs Schönthal

Paula Nossig

Pipsi Gertler

Rella Borchardt

Rosie Gottlieb

Rudi  Schönthal

Sid Cohen

Not refugees, but for this trio of  Siamese sailors Robert's Restaurant 

was their favourite London haunt.

[Now Thailand, but always our Siamese Sailor friends]

Patrons of the Grand Palais in Commercial Road and artists appearing at the venue, frequently dined at Robert's Restaurant. Pictured above in 1954, at a 21st anniversary celebration of the Troxy Cinema's opening, were the proprietors of the Grand Palais,

Mr and Mrs H I Greenby, actor David Kossoff and family friend, Troxy manager Maurice Cheepen.

The magnificent 3,500-seat Troxy Cinema opened in 1933 with King Kong as its first presentation. The cinema survived a mere 27 years before falling attendances forced its closure in 1960. Throughout the Fifties, Robert's Restaurant advertised Troxy programmes on a pavement hoarding in return for two weekly cinema tickets. In 1963 it reopened as the London Opera Centre and, horrifically, in 1991 became a Mecca bingo venue. In 2006 the Troxy was sold, and its new owners have undertaken  a lavish refurbishment programme that has restored it to its former glory, as well as providing additional banqueting and conference facilities.