Greater Whitechapel: Bernhard Baron House

Memories of Basil Henriques and the Bernhard Baron settlement
Contributed by Maureen on July 31, 2017

Basil Henriques was the first Briton to driver a tank in the First World War. He was an Oxford graduate and a Justice of the Peace. He has a street named after him off Commercial Road which was firstly called Berner Street. He and his wife Rose who was an artist and a pianist started a youth club in one room in Cannon Street Road and later were bequeathed a building by Bernhard Baron called the Bernhard Baron Settlement in the-then Berner Street. They organized lots of activities for the children such as shows and other activities. They were known as the Mrs and the Gaffer. They bought a house in a village called Ugley near Bishop's Stortford and we used to get picked up and taken there for two weeks in the summer holiday each year. He received a knighthood from the Queen and so became Sir Basil Henriques. The club that he and his wife founded was called Oxford and St Georges which is still running but is in North West London. When Basil died 200 people attended his funeral.

When they retired the people that took over the club were Miriam and Myer Sopel, the parents of Jon Sopel who is the BBC North America Editor.