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Colin O’Brien’s Playground Portraits

September 2, 2014
by the gentle author

In the midst of spending last week preparing the book of Horace Warner’s Spitalfields Nippers for publication in the autumn, I asked Contributing Photographer Colin O’Brien if he would like to visit Weavers’ Adventure Playground with me before before summer’s end and create a series of portraits of ‘Bethnal Green Nippers’ in collaboration with the children. We were delighted to discover that our project coincided with the playground’s fortieth anniversary celebrations and join Sunday’s exuberant birthday party for this beloved institution which has brought joy to generations in this corner of the East End.

Alfie Davis

Brogan Ferron

Leo Hassan

Mason Pearce

Mickel Warner Mahood

Mya Warner Mahood

Arthur Ferron

Ishaac Bendjenahl

Michael Brown

Tilly Latham

Adam Warner Mahood

Lottie Ferron

Aaron McPherson

Mikki Gilbert

Patrick Doherty

Brogan Ferron

Mya Warner Mahood

Mason Pearce

Mikki Gilbert

Mason Pearce

Arthur Ferron

Paige Housham

Aaron McPherson

Arthur & Lottie Ferron

Brogan Ferron

Victor William, Playleader in charge at Weavers’ Adventure Playground

Victor and pals

Playleaders experience the ice bucket challenge at the adventure playground’s fortieth birthday party

Photographs copyright © Colin O’Brien

Weavers’ Adventure Playground, Viaduct St, Bethnal Green, E2 0BH

You may also like to take a look at

Horace Warner’s Spitalfields Nippers

Colin O’Brien’s Travellers ‘Children in London Fields

Chris Kelly’s Columbia School Portraits 1996

Phil Maxwell’s Kids on the Street

7 Responses leave one →
  1. September 2, 2014

    Boys and girls, come out to play,
    The moon doth shine as bright as day.
    Leave your supper, and leave your sleep,
    And join your playfellows in the street.

    Come with a whoop, and come with a call,
    Come with a good will or come not at all.
    Up the ladder and down the wall,
    A penny loaf will serve us all.


    Nice pictures from innocent childhood times…!

    Love & Peace

  2. September 2, 2014

    A lovely set of portraits of some great characters. I love Colin’s portraits of the traveller children. It’s really nice to see some of today’s east end kids.

    And the Ferron family have beautiful children.

  3. September 2, 2014

    You get an extra something in your portraits Colin, very direct and respectful

  4. September 2, 2014

    These are all beautiful portraits of lovely children but I think my favourites are the photos of Mason – what a wonderful smile!

  5. Rupert Neil Bumfrey (@rupertbu) permalink
    September 2, 2014

    Oh dear, following the route of populism – #icebucketchallenge!

  6. sarah ainslie permalink
    September 2, 2014

    Wonderful, sensitive portraits and great to see present day kids in their playground.

  7. Ros permalink
    September 2, 2014

    A great pleasure to look at these and see the children’s personalities burgeoning.

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