East London In The 1970s: The Photos of Homer Sykes

From his time as a student living in West London until the present day, Homer Sykes has travelled across the city to take photos in the run down working-class districts of Whitechapel and Spitalfields. These photos were taken during the 1970s.

Photographs copyright © Homer Sykes

The influx of immigrants to the area caused a backlash from neo-Nazi groups. This man is selling a National Front newspaper with a racist headline.

Car trouble outside the tenements.

Two elderly residents of the area.

A local white girl with her Asian boyfriend. It was still quite rare at the time for the communities to mix.

Many buildings were being demolished, or had not been rebuilt after war damage.

Neighbours of different races, a common sight in the area.

The signs show the traditional trade of the area, clothing manufacture.

Immigrants took over many of the shops, operating late opening hours every day.

This lady is selling off her possessions to make money.

42 thoughts on “East London In The 1970s: The Photos of Homer Sykes

  1. (1) Ironically, the National Front protesters are standing beneath a sign that says GENTS.
    (2) According to Hardy Krüger, that car owner should have bought a 1:18 scale Pontiac Phoenix and then watch as a mechanic practices what little skills he has on it.
    (3) There’s not a ghost of a chance that those two elderly residents are still around.
    (4) Wok tall and carry a big chopstick.
    (5) First they molish buildings, then they demolish them.
    (6) “Yoo-hoo! Romeo-meo! I’m up here!”
    (7a) K and B Clothing Co. Vacancies. “We’ve got the clothing. But they’re vacant. No one’s wearing them!”
    (7b) “I’m the watchdog. Anytime a customer approaches, I bark to wake up the business owner!”
    (8) You think it’s late in the U.K.? It’s a whole lot later where they come from!
    (9) “I’ve been here all day waiting for quick service!” (Also said by many unattractive brothel workers.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to agree, John. I was actually often around in those parts of London at the time, and I don’t remember it being so bleak. I was obviously ‘looking, not seeing’.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Poor lady. These are the photographs that tear the heart. I always had the impression that on the whole immigrants were better received in England than here is the US, but perhaps I am naive?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It depends if they live in large numbers in one area. That tends to rile up the racists. Most decent people don’t have any issues with immigrants. (We have an Indian Prime Minister, after all)
      Best wishes, Pete.


        1. He is doing what all Conservatives do. Making rich people richer, and obscenely rich people even more obscenely rich. His personal wealth is around £800 million, as he is a former Goldman Sachs executive, and his wife is the daughter of an Indian billionaire. He couldn’t be more out of touch with ordinary people if he tried.


            1. Jeremy Corbyn would have been a better Socialist option, but the Labour Party forced him out so they could become completely ‘middle of the road’. Now they appeal to almost nobody.


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