George Jermy, Bookseller of Hackney (1869 - 1958)


George Jermy's Bookshop at 33 Lower Clapton Road, Hackney


George Samuel Jermy was born on 10 August 1869 to James Jermy and Ann Coleman of 6 Old Bethnal Green Road, Bethnal Green, who later established a Salvation Army presence in Cleveland, Ohio. He married Maud Louise Wood on 28 February 1901 at St John Hackney. The 1901 and 1911 census records him as a book dealer and book seller.

The Electoral Registers establish that George Jermy owned the business at 33 and 35 Lower Clapton Road, Hackney between 1919 and 1923. In 1918 the establishments were owned by Messrs. Weber and Burns, but in 1919 George Jermy and Percival Marks took over the ownership, although neither of them actually lived at the shop. George Jermy, his wife and two children lived at 9 Alcester Crescent, E.5. By 1923 George Jermy had sold the business to his partner Percival Marks, and only the name Marks appears in the Electoral Register for 1923 at the address. Marks subsequently sold the shop to a Mr Jarvis in circa. 1932. The bookshop, still with the Jermy name above it, was being run by Mr Jarvis' son in 1957 when the photographs were taken.

According to interviews of local residents recorded in 1959, George was a scholarly, witty man, about 5 ft 7 or 8 in, thick set, with a fair moustache. As a second hand bookseller he sold works on religion, philosophy, self-educational subjects, etc. Prior to owning the bookshop on Lower Clapton Road, he had a shop next to the corner shop on a turning off Mare Street, Hackney. Another interviewee said George was a Sergeant in the Salvation Army, and was a grand old man remembered by thousands. The Founder (William Booth) always asked for him and shook his hand. He was of medium build, a jolly man with gingery gold grey hair. He was always there at the open-air meetings and would fervently shout Hallelujah. (One wonders whether this interviewee, who was 87, was confusing George with his father James Jermy?)

According to the 1839 Population Register, George Jermy was a Bookseller (Retired) living in Guildford, Surrey. He died on 1 July 1958, and his wife Maud died on 14 April 1967. The photographs below show the changes that have occurred in the street between October 1957 and October 2015, when it was recorded by Google Street View - the Dallas cafe now replacing the Jermy bookshop.

George Jermy's Bookshop at 33 Lower Clapton Road - October 1957

33 Lower Clapton Road - October 2015 (Google Street View)