Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16. Photo © Roger Dean 2013
Living London, Its Work and Its Play, Its Humour and Its Pathos, Its Sights and Its Scenes – George R. Sims, 1902:
If he escapes the foreign harpies the immigrant is not even safe when he has reached London. Men, frequently of his own faith and country, wait for him outside the docks, and because he is ignorant and friendless in a strange land, and speaks only his own language, seize upon him and convey him to a shark’s boarding house, and keep him there on some pretence or other until he is penniless. Then the “shark” lends him a few shillings on his luggage, and when that is gone turns him out into the street with only the clothes he stands up in. That is how hundreds of Jewish immigrants commence their career as units in the densely-packed population of East London, and begin “to look for work” destitute.
The Jewish community, fully aware of these evils, does its best to guard against them. They have agents who meet every boat, and addressing the poor aliens in their own language, help them to get their scanty belongings from the docks, and advise and direct them as to lodgings and homes with shelters where they will be honestly dealt with.
Let us meet a ship from Hamburg, laden with men and women who will presently be working in the dens of the sweaters.
It is a pouring wet day. The rain is coming down in torrents, and one has to wade through small lakes and rivulets of mud to reach the narrow pathway leading to Irongate Stairs, where the immigrant passengers of the vessel lying at anchor in the Thames are to land.