From Ridley Road to Radlett

Images from Jewish food shops capture a way of life that is fast disapp earing. Phil Harriss reports
Only one kosher butcher now remains in Ridley Road, but in the Twenties, Dalston's seething market street marked a first step in the diaspora of Jewish families away from the East End. As such it became the start of Ian Lillicrapp's photographic o dyssey, From Ridley Road to Radlett, a record of London's Jewish food shops in the Nineties.

Together with Alan Dein, an oral historian, Lillicrapp spent five years collecting material from a spectrum of shops - bagel bakeries, kosher poulterers, specialist Hasidic emporia - that followed the Jewish community out to the suburbs and thence to green-belt areas such as Radlett, Hertfordshire. Most of the 32 photographs have captions derived from customers or staff at the shops. At one Hampstead Garden Suburb store, three women are engrossed in conversation while staff wait patiently and interminably to serve them. The caption reads: "I always meet someone I know at the butcher's.''

The project is timely - already several shops have closed. As Lillicrapp remarks: "We saw family businesses that had been passed down the generations reaching the end of the line.'' His exhibition celebrates that fast-disappearing commodity: variety.

10am-5.50pm Tue-Sat, noon-5.50pm Sun, 24 Jan to 12 Mar, Museum of London, EC2 (071-600 3699)

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