The Queen's Head was an old coaching inn, first running in the eighteenth century (and possibly earlier).
On ebay today, I noticed a match case that includes an inscription relating to the pub. So, of course, I thought I'd see what I could find out about what was inscribed.
"Whitey", Mark Pollack was licensee at Queen's Head from the 1920s to the 1940s. From what I've been able to piece together, Marks or Mark was born in Vilnius, (then part of Russia), in 1880. From the names of the family members they appear to have been Jewish. They arrived in London between 1885 and 1888, probably escaping one of the Russian pogroms of the period. The family lived first in Whitechapel, then Bethnal Green.
Mark married a Julia Goldberg in 1921. A year later they were in the Queen's Head. Mark was naturalised as a British citizen in 1928.
A nice momento of Harringay's diverse history - currently £20 with no bids. If anyone buys it, please let us know!
"Whitey" because he was regarded as a White Russian? Though the family left before the revolution perhaps the fact that he was Russian was enough for people to give him that nickname.
Or because he lived in Whitechapel ?
More likely because he had white or very light hair.
Maybe, but if he was of Jewish descent, white hair a bit unlikely though not impossible. Whitechapel could be right. We'll probably never know.
That's true. Also interesting is where did his naturalised name come from. " Mark Pollack " doesn't sound very Russian or Lithuanian. Mark could be an anglicised Marx and Pollack could have been derived from Polish although that usage is rather American.
His name is recorded in the censuses as Pollack both before and after naturalisation. So I assume it his his given family name. The Dictionary of American Family Names Oxford University Press, 2013, has the following,
Pollack - Jewish (Ashkenazic): variant of spelling of Polak.
Polak - ethnic name for someone from Poland. In the case of the Ashkenazic name, the reference is to a Jew from Poland.
His place of birth is given on the censuses as 'Wilne, Russia', formerly used for Vilnius.
As I wrote on the original post, he was recorded as both Marks and Mark. I don't know why. I did check if, given the name, he was likely to be Jewish. One thing I found on the internet was an Israeli who wrote "When I came to Israel, I discovered that Mark was considered a Jewish name among the Russians". It's not conclusive. But it was enough for me for the purposes of this particular post, to dispel any immediate doubts. Feel free to dig out and share more evidence that deepens our understanding.
Sure. Many Polish immigrants shortened their name; for example, Stok for Stokowski. I think the Polish Mark is Marek. The English used to be hopeless at foreign names, and if they weren't shortened by the user, would take it on themselves to make a name up. Americans the same of course. Even English names are shortened. I should know.
Perhaps, because of his Russian origin, his English acquaintances joked about him being a communist or Bolshevik and frequently replied " I am Russian, yes, but White Russian, not Red "
Found this on Family Search. In fact it seems to be a White Russian had less to do than colour so Jewish were included. It had to do with the White Flag adopted. But it was during the Revolution and Whitey Mark Pollack was born some years before that.
This usage derived from the royalist opponents of the French Revolution, known as the “Whites” because they adopted the white flag of the French Bourbon dynasty. Although smaller than the Red Army, Russia’s White Army was better equipped and had an abundance of czarist officers, some of whom offered to serve as ordinary soldiers. The White Army had two main bases, in the south and in Siberia. Ultimately, the White Russians owed their defeat largely to internal quarrels and their refusal to grant land reforms in areas they controlled.
A couple more little bits of information.
Mark's father, Hyam, died in 1924 and according to his will, had been living at Snell's Park on the Tottenham/Edmonton borders. This area was also known as Little Russia in the early 20th century.
Hyam left £37 to his son. When Mark died in 1948, he had been living in Avenue Close, Regent's Park and he left over £55k to his widow Julia.
Very interesting that there was a Little Russia so close by. £55k was a lot of money in 1948. He did well.
Added to my watch list! Keep you posted.
Did anyone buy this?