Back in 1896 Jewish immigration from Germany and Eastern Europe was at its height, as families fled persecution and pogroms – often they arrived in the East End with nothing but the clothes they stood up in.
The poor immigrants, with no money and less English, poured off the boats and straight into the rag-trade sweatshops of Stepney and Whitechapel. Wages were low and often it was not just the parents who had to work long hours, but their children too – all had to earn their keep.
Many of the earlier Jewish settlers had established themselves and done well in their new home, and up in the West End a group of wealthy Jewish businessmen looked at the situation with alarm.
They saw these young people going without proper clothing and decent meals, let alone a proper education or the chance to play organised sports to get away from the relentless misery of their hard-working lives.

This philanthropic band set up a club in Brady Street, Whitechapel and set to work putting right some of the basics – early club records tell of the boys being given boots to wear and proper meals to eat.
Things moved on. In the 1930s the club organised an annual camp. It would be a bit spartan for a lot of today’s kids. Two dozen boys slept in army tents for a week, and directly on the grass. Washing was a standpipe in the field, the toilet a hole in the ground.
Luxury it wasn’t, but for the lads it was an undreamt of break from the grime and grind of their London existence.

Meanwhile, back at the club, the boys not only played sports but many received a basic education – for many Brady boys this was where they learned to read and write.
The club moved to Durward Street, thanks to the managers’ tireless efforts to raise funds, and the work went on, only interrupted by the outbreak of war.
Re-opening in the late Forties, the club moved to its present, Hanbury Street base. Now there was a girls’ club too, and in the 1950s a crèche, parents’ section, senior citizens’ section and old boys’ section were set up. A settlement started and overseas students could stay there while pursuing their studies in London.
A full-time staff was taken on and, in a typical Sixties week, a thousand people used the Brady Centre every week.
But as the Jewish community dispersed to Essex, North London and further afield so the Brady declined, and the last youth members left in the Seventies, with the building being sold to Tower Hamlets Council.
In 1979 came the re-birth of the new Brady Maccabi Club which was built in Manor Park Crescent Edgware, and ex-members of the original club began running activities for the thousands who continued to pass through the doors.

As the club popularity grew in its new area it increased its various activities including its football teams which became a major player in both the AJY and Maccabi Football Leagues.
After the millennium the daily activates of the club apart from the football side began to wane and it was decided in 2011 to sell the current building and merge with Maccabi London Recreational Trust to form Maccabi London Brady Recreational Trust.
The merger between London Maccabi and Brady Maccabi in 2012 was born out of the visions of both sets of Trustees to establish Maccabi London Brady Sports Ground at Rowley Lane Arkley as the number one destination for the Jewish and local community. By providing a demand driven range of sporting, social and educational facilities and programs our ultimate goal is Jewish continuity. Through our programming we bring young Jewish people together to socialise and play sport, concentrating on laying the foundations for tomorrow’s community.

Today Brady Maccabi still a major name in the Jewish football world and has 23 football teams across age groups from 8-60

Joel Nathan

Charity number: 277037