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Homer Sykes’ Spitalfields

May 4, 2017
by the gentle author

At the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in Brick Lane

From the moment he first came to London as a student until the present day, Homer Sykes has been coming regularly to Spitalfields and taking photographs. “It was very different from suburban West London where I lived, in just a few tube stops the contrast was extraordinary,” he recalled, contemplating the dislocated world of slum clearance and racial conflict he encountered in the East End during the nineteen seventies when these eloquent pictures were taken.

Yet, within this fractured social landscape, Homer made a heartening discovery that resulted in one of the photographs below. “The National Front were demonstrating as usual on a Sunday at the top of Brick Lane.” he told me, “I was wandering around and I crossed the Bethnal Green Rd, and I looked into this minicab office where I saw this Asian boy and this Caucasian girl sitting happily together, just fifty yards from the demonstration. And I thought, ‘That’s the way it should be.’”

“I walked in like I was waiting for a taxi and made myself inconspicuous in order to take the photograph. It seemed to sum up what should be happening – they were in love, and in a taxi office.”

In Princelet St

In Durward St

Great Eastern Buildings

In a minicab office, Bethnal Green Rd

Selling the National Front News on the corner of Bacon St

Photographs copyright © Homer Sykes

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. May 4, 2017

    I love these pictures

  2. May 4, 2017

    Marvellous!

  3. May 4, 2017

    “Hello young lovers whoever you are
    I hope your troubles are few
    All my good wishes go with you tonight
    I’ve been in love like you.” – Oscar Hammerstein

    Thank you for this compelling series of images, particularly the young lovers —
    whether their special moment lasted for an afternoon, or a lifetime.
    Either way, a timeless and timely image.

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