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.

Watney Market 1973-1978: The Photos Of Tony Bock

Watney Street Market in East London was once one of London’s largest street markets. Trading since 1881, it was later redeveloped into a pedestrianised shopping precinct, and now very few market stalls remain there.

Eileen Armstrong, selling fruit and vegetables.

Joe The Grocer, in his shop.

Gladys McGee, a local poet and writer.

Redevelopment begins. Joe The Grocer’s shop is being demolished.

The Photos Of David Hoffman: East London, 1970.

David Hoffman was interested in the area around Roman Road Street Market, in East London. Originally born and raised nearby, his parents had moved to the suburbs. In his twenties, David returned to the area to take photos of life at the time, in pubs, cafes, social clubs in East London, and on the market that runs along Roman Road. It seems to be much earlier than 1970, and shows how little had changed there since WW2.

A friendly crowd of drinkers in a local pub.

Dog traders in the market.

Old ladies celebrating something at a social club.

A Kosher Butcher catering to the large Jewish community.

This man is trying to sell string puppets, and busking to attract buyers.

Fans of old-school Rock and Roll dancing at a gathering near the market.

Ladies at a dance club.

A man selling various things next to his disability car.

Unlicensed traders selling at the edge of the market.

Two men selling assorted items from a pram.

An afternoon dance at a social club.

John Claridge: East London In The 1960s/1970s

Photographs copyright © John Claridge

I found some more of John Claridge’s photos online. They date from 1962-1972 but seem to come from a much earlier time. Hard to believe I was aged from 10-20 years old when these were taken. There are few captions, as most are self-explanatory.

An ex-boxer, well known in the area.

John’s Parents, 1968.

Nostalgia In Photos: London’s East End, 1960s

I found this series of photos online. They were all taken in the East End of London from 1965-1967. Most look like they could have been taken twenty years earlier.

A woman outside her Nissen Hut, 1967. Those huts were supposed to be temporary accommodation during the war, but she was still living in hers in 1967.

One of her neighbours, an elderly man. He had also been living there since 1945.

A mini-skirted school crossing lady, in 1966. She took her baby along as there was nobody to care for it while she worked. Those women were called ‘Lollipop Ladies’, and still exist today. There is one helping schoolchildren cross a busy road in Dereham, the nearest town to Beetley.

Bomb damage from the Blitz on an East London Estate. It was 1965, twenty years after the end of the war. Rebuilding had yet to be completed in this area.

David Bailey, the famous photographer. He is pictured here with his girlfriend at the time, around 1967. He was living in a run-down part of East London, what we used to call ‘slumming it’. It had become trendy to live in what most regarded to be poor quality housing, or slums.

Two old ladies chatting outside a shop, 1967. They look more like they are living in 1867.

A model shows off the latest 1960s fashion in Stratford Market, 1966. The onlookers seem to be enjoying themselves.

Little girls out playing with their dolls and prams, 1967. No sign of any supervsising parents.