Gardiner’s Corner

Standing here today, watching the 18-hour traffic jam that is now Aldgate, it’s hard to understand why this area is called Gardiner’s Corner, the spot that stopped anti-Semitism in its tracks.

Looking towards a dull modern office block it is difficult to visualise a proud store dubbed ‘The Harrods of the East’, that stood opposite Aldgate East tube station, and the scene of one of London’s biggest demonstrations.

Gardiner’s Corner today (Google Street View)

[T]HIS WAS THE SITE of Gardiner’s department store until it was gutted by one of London’s largest post-war conflagrations.The Scottish clothing store, which stood at the junction of Whitechapel High Street and Commercial Road (now slightly shifted from its original position), would, in 1972 be lost. Its demise is vividly recounted in Mick’s Muses: Death of a Landmark.

Gardiner’s was also the scene of the famous Battle of Cable Street.

On Sunday, 4th October 1936, the British Union of Fascists, led by Sir Oswald Mosley marched through the East End, the location was deliberately chosen as it then was the heartland of London’s Jewish community.

Protests to the authorities had proved fruitless forcing many to turn up determined to stop Mosley’s 3,000 black shirts marching through this Jewish quarter.

Estimates vary wildly, from 100,000 people up to as many as 250,000, whatever the total, the crowd was huge and vastly outnumbered the Blackshirts and the Metropolitan Police officers, who perversely had been sent to prevent the march from being disrupted.

More than 100 were injured in the violence that followed and some 150 of the demonstrators were arrested. Most of the charges were of a minor nature but some of the ringleaders were given up to three-year terms of imprisonment, quite how the authorities managed to justify this when less than three years later we declared war against those who sought to impose anti-Semitism upon Europe.

4 thoughts on “Gardiner’s Corner”

  1. I worked as a printer for a company located at the end of Gardners corner, in a basement, I lasted 2 years there before moving on, I did miss
    Blooms Deli which was directly opposite though.
    Some years after while doing the knowledge I passed that location many times it bought back mixed memories.


  2. Just around the corner then, I left the trade in 1969, joined Royal Mail did the knowledge, after getting my badge I only worked part time, stopped renewing my license in 2000, I have friends still pushing a cab, telling me how hard it is to make living, a friend told me that certain ethnic minorities who are doing the knowledge are being fast tracked by TFL, on strict instructions from Sadiq Kahn.


    1. I qualified in 1997, worked part time for about five years before I was made redundant from printing. Worked until four years ago and surrendered my bill last year. I’m really doubtful about any fast-tracking at the Carriage Office.


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