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Alex Pink’s Spitalfields, Then & Now

June 17, 2013
by the gentle author

As Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archive reopens tomorrow after months of building work, it is my pleasure to publish this collaboration with Spitalfields Life Contributing Photographer Alex Pink who selected photographs of familiar locations from the archive, and then set out with his camera to revisit the same streets and discover what changes times has wrought.

Cygnet St, Brick Lane, 1932

Cygnet St, Brick Lane, c.1965

Cygnet St, Brick Lane, 2013

Corner of Brick Lane and Bethnal Green Rd, 1971

Corner of Brick Lane and Bethnal Green Rd, 2013

Brick Lane, c.1960

Brick Lane, 2013

Brick Lane at the corner of Bacon St, 1974

Brick Lane at the corner of Bacon St, 2013

Corner of Sclater St and Brick Lane, 1975

Corner of Sclater St and Brick Lane, 2013

Corner of Brick Lane and Grimsby St, c. 1985

Corner of Brick Lane and Grimsby St, 2013

Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, c. 1973

Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, 2013

Fashion St, c.1965

Fashion St, 2013

Corner of Brick Lane and Chicksand St, c.1981

Corner of Brick Lane and Chicksand St, 2013

Brick Lane at the corner of Chicksand St, 1972

Brick Lane at the corner of Chicksand St, 2013

Corner of Wentworth St and Commercial St, c.1981

Corner of Commercial St and Wentworth St, 2013

Corner of Wentworth St and Toynbee St, 1989

Corner of Wentworth St and Toynbee St, 2013

Wentworth St, 1968

Wentworth St, 1989

Wentworth St, 2013

Wentworth St  from Middlesex St, 1981

Wentworth St from Miidlesex St, 2013

Wentworth St from Middlesex St, 1981

Wentworth St from Middlesex St, 2013

Cobb St, 1968

Cobb St, 2013

Elder St, c.1935

Elder St, 2013

Archive images courtesy Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives

New photographs copyright © Alex Pink

Visit Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives for opening times, collections & events.

You may also like to take a look at

In the Footsteps of C.A.Mathew

A Walk Through Time in Spitalfields

A Walk through Time in Spitalfields Market

12 Responses leave one →
  1. Glenn permalink
    June 17, 2013

    Love the comparisons. Thanks.
    Many restored buildings look in better condition now. A great case for conservation.

  2. Greg Tingey permalink
    June 17, 2013

    Notice how much CLEANER everything is now?
    Look at the liiter & dirt … especially in the 1970′s – which seems to have been “the pits” for the area, when it was at bottom.
    In the much older photos, everyone, but everyone, is wearing a hat, too.

  3. Sheena Ward permalink
    June 17, 2013

    Thank you for these great photos and your great blog. Much appreciated.

  4. June 17, 2013

    Seeing what has persisted is very interesting – a great collection. Let’s have some more please.

  5. Darryl permalink
    June 17, 2013

    Great pictures – it’s amazing how much more colourful everything is now…

  6. Ros permalink
    June 17, 2013

    These are great. I love to run my eye over all their detail. Thank you.

  7. June 17, 2013

    Great combination of old and new.

  8. Peter Holford permalink
    June 17, 2013

    I love the before and after shots. Sometimes it’s depressing to see how much has been lost to mediocre new buildings but there are many positive examples of conservation here. More please.

  9. Barbara permalink
    June 17, 2013

    Great photos. Can the bollard on the right hand side of Fashion Street 2013 be the same one as pictured in 1965 ? Positioned at the same spot and leaning at the same angle…..if only it could speak…..what changes. As others have said, many changes have been for the better and it is comforting to know that so much has survived.

  10. Andy permalink
    June 18, 2013

    Some wonderful images

  11. Stephanie permalink
    June 25, 2013

    Great pictures. I love the comparisons and I also noticed how much cleaner the area looks now.

  12. Alan Bevan permalink
    November 10, 2013

    My late father told me about the Jewish Community who lived in this area before the Second World War, and who subsequently moved out of the East End to North London and beyond.

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