London 1971: The Photos Of John De Prey

During 1971, John de Prey stayed for a few months with his friend Marcus in Powis Square in Notting Hill. This is the same area made famous in the 1999 film ‘Notting Hill’, but over fifty years ago, it was still a multi-cultural working class area of London.

From 1981 until 2001, I worked as an EMT in the same area, based at the nearby Ambulance Station. I saw it change rapidly during that time.

Hare Krishna devotees in Portobello Road Market. They had a ‘temple’ nearby in an old shop, and used to parade around the area.

These locals didn’t seem very keen on being photographed.

Graffiti on a side wall.

An unenthusiastic busker.

Some elaborately decorated shops in Portobello Road. They tended to sell ‘alternative’ items.

Golbourne Road Market. Many of the traders there sold second-hand goods.

This horse is taking advantage of discarded vegetables in the market to have a snack.

Children having fun in the Antiques section of the market.

This man is selling low-grade meat for consumption by pets.

Many of the items being sold were not of good quality. This potential buyer is inspecting something closely.

A second-hand shoe stall attracting some multi-cultural buyers.

43 thoughts on “London 1971: The Photos Of John De Prey

  1. (1a) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The Hare Krishna devotees need to pay attention to the One Way sign.
    (1b) “Forget about those religious dudes. Have a look at my sexy thigh!”
    (2) “How dare you take a photo of me with my dentures out!”
    (3) “The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.” Maybe, but their brawn is no match for the horsepower of that little Fiat.
    (4) The man is only a busker when he’s got no more bricklaying to do.
    (5a) I’ll bet you’d see at least one bad apple in that forbidden fruit shop. That is, unless your eyes are focused on the peacock.
    (5b) Always bring a brolly in case the The Dog Shop has a runny nose.
    (6) Dr. Frankenstein sold second-hand body parts in his little shop of horrors.
    (7) “This horse is taking advantage of discarded vegetables in the market to have a snack.” That hungry horse is wiser than a wrathful tiger.
    (8) Children like antiques. The elderly like novelties.
    (9) I’m wondering if F. Howard is related to Emma Howard. Did the blue light inspire him to butcher pets?
    (10) “I think I’ll wait until the Tower of London has a fire sale.”
    (11) If you put your foot in a second-hand shoe, where do you put your hand?

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  2. What a nightmare to remember the Hare Krishna every where, especially active at the airport. They still have a “temple” near us but their recruiting and begging efforts are not visible any more.

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  3. I wonder what became of the Hare Krishna’s? What a mixed-up muddle of life. You know, of course, that it’s the horse I like. I suppose other than the Horse Guards, you never see a horse in London now? In the parks?

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    1. When I still lived in London in 2012, you could see horses ridden by the Household Cavalry, and the King’s Troop of the Horse Artillery being exercised. Also (presumably) ‘rich people’ riding horses in Hyde Park, which were stabled nearby in Bayswater. The other horses in the city might be pulling vintage hearses for the funerals of the ‘tasteless’ , and very rarely by then, the carts of rag and bone men. (There were still rag and bone men using horse-carts in Camden Town before I moved from there.)
      Best wishes, Pete.


    1. I was there from 1981, witnessing that change. The area underwent some serious ‘genrification’, but the amount of social housing that remained ensured a huge cross-section of multi-cultural society. From drug dealers and gun-carrying Jamaican Yardies on street corners, to West Indian bus drivers and refugees from the Spanish Sahara. All alongside famous entertainers, rock stars, entrepreneurs, and multi-millionaires. Like the old saying goes, “All human life is there”.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  4. We had the Hari Krishnas in Dallas during the 60s and 70s. At best, these guys and gals were a nuisance. Their favorite locality was Dallas Love Field, the only airport at the time. They would gather in the main lobby, beat their drums, and rattle their tambourines while sending the Krishna chicks to beg for money. Returning servicemen from Viet Nam didn’t much care for their aggressive antics, and more than a few were sent sprawling across the marble floors. George Harrison seemed to like them, but then he never visited Dallas, or he may have changed his mind.

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