As an antiques dealer brings new life to a shop in Spitalfields (see Spitalfields market story here) this piece of folk art recalls the district’s past.
This late 19th century oversized metal hat, measuring 10in (25.5cm) high, was made as a sign to hang outside the milliner’s shop of Annie Gold, who traded from 42 Brushfield Street.
Gold and her husband Jacob were among the many Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who settled in Spitalfields in the late 1800s. Her French milliners would have fitted in well with the fabric trade which dominated Spitalfields at the time, though Brushfield Street also had furriers, confectioners, a fried fish dealer and a watchmaker.
Built in the 1780s, the premises had previously been home to diamond-cutters, drapers and book-binders. Gold and her husband were at the property from 1889-92, making it possible to date the sign fairly closely.
It is now offered on the website of Doe & Hope for £1400.