Roy Reed At Billingsgate Market 1975
Roy Reed took these pictures of Billingsgate Market when he was a twenty-three-year-old documentary photography student at the London College of Printing in 1975 and they are seeing the light of day for the first time now.
Roy’s enthusiasm for the subject was greater than the interest of the student-journalist who asked him to take the pictures for a project on London’s dying markets. “When I suggested we get there early, she said, ‘See you there at eight,’” Roy recalled, rolling his eyes significantly. In the event, Roy got there at seven-thirty on a February morning and took his pictures just here as business was winding up at the nocturnal market. Forty years later, any disappointment Roy might harbour that the project was never written up and published is outweighed by his satisfaction in having taken these rare photographs of a lost world.
“It was nice chatting with the porters,” Roy remembered fondly, “No-one seemed to mind having their photograph taken – except maybe the guy in the tweed hat, you can see him looking at me suspiciously in the picture.” Taken at the time the market was already due to leave its ancient location next to London Bridge, Roy’s lively photographs comprise a fascinating record of a seemingly recent era in market life that grows increasingly remote.
Photographs copyright © Roy Reed
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