Chapter 12 - Levy Brothers Matzo Bakers

Levy Brothers Matzo Bakers

The Levy side is probably the part of our family that has been in England the longest, as Sidney, my father always said “We can go back to Queen Anne (1702 – 1714)

Some way back we find my great, great, great grandparents Joseph and Blennah Levy who were both born around 1799. They were Bakers and owned and ran the well known firm of Levy’s the Matzo Bakers. If what was said is true then there are at least two generations of Levys before Joseph and Blennah.

If you look carefully at the photo of the Levy Brothers Bakers over the door it says “Established 1710” So they were in England some time before that.

I have traced them back through my grandmother Kate Joel and then through her mother, Rosetta Levy.

The Levys and the Isaacs (Barney Barnato's family certainly knew each other as they all lived and worked around Whitechapel. MORE

It really was a family business. They had four Bakerys;133/134/135 Wentworth Street, 122 Middlesex Street, 13 Scarborough Street (all in Whitechapel) and 31 Widegate Street in Bishopsgate.

Interestingly in a Passover Baker's list I found there are listed nine memebrs of the Levy family working at the Levy Brothers various bakeries. Isaac and Lewis who were Israel Levys children but also David, Moses and Sara. Probably their cousins.

But one of the most fascinating things I found is this:-

Levy Bros, Matzo Bakers, 31 Widegate Street, London E1 - a curious fact! - Courtesy of Philip Walker

At the North end of Middlesex Street is a picturesque little quarter of cobbled streets, 18th century shop fronts and narrow alleyways with names like Sandy's Row home to the 2nd oldest Ashkenazi synagogue in the UK founded 1854

In Widegate Street is a curious reminder of what was once the oldest shop in London: Levy Brothers, Matzo bakers of number 31.

An article in the Jewish Chronicle of 31st August 1928 joined a controversy to name London's oldest shop. A shop called Ellis the booksellers of Bond Street, established in 1728, had laid claim to this worthy title. Not so, said the Jewish Chronicle, because Levy Bros, Matzo bakers of 31 Widegate Street, on the corner of White Rose Court, could beat this by 18 years, having been established in 1710!

The article went on to say that: ...Antiquarians who love old pieces of architecture will find pleasure in studying the curious old carvings in the front of the quaint pointed roofs of the premises of this well known matsot baker. And what were these figures? They were relief representations of bakers making bread from the beginning of the process to the end. Levy Bros may be long gone, but look above the modern shop front of 31 Widegate Street and you will see that these sturdy fellows are still toiling away!

White Rose Court, off Widegate Street on the corner of 31 Widegate Street - now La Forchetta sandwich bar, formerly Levy Bros

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