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Val Perrin’s Brick Lane

December 19, 2014
by the gentle author

Photography has been a lifetime’s hobby for Val Perrin. Yet it is apparent from this selection of his pictures of Brick Lane Market, taken between 1970-72 and published here for the first time today, that he possesses a vision and ability which bears comparison with the Magnum photographers whose work he admired at that time.

While studying Medicine at University College, London, Val visited East End markets with members of the University Photographic Club, but Brick Lane drew his attention. Over the next two years, he returned alone and with fellow students, with whom he shared a flat in West Dulwich, to document the vibrant market life and surroundings of Brick Lane.

Born in Edgware, Val moved to live near Cambridge in 1976 and now photographs mainly wildlife and landscapes, but the eloquent collection of around a hundred photographs he took of Brick Lane in the early seventies comprises a significant and distinctive record of a lost era.

Photographs copyright © Val Perrin

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Unknown Photographs Of Brick Lane

17 Responses leave one →
  1. ROBERT GREEN permalink
    December 19, 2014

    These photo’s are fantastic, I recognize so many of the people in them, in fact I am 99% sure that I can even see myself in one of them, sadly so many of the people in these picture’s are no longer with us and I honestly never ever thought that I would see images of them again, when I checked today’s story I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what was on hear, it all brings back so many memories for me, at the time these were taken in the early 70s I was just a teenager and had only just started working for my father on his stall, (the same pitch I now run myself) and I use to see a lot of the people in these pictures every week, some of them even became good mate’s, just so many faces that I know and remember well, I cant get over it, I’m so grateful to you for publishing these wonderful images GA, Thank You VERY much.

  2. December 19, 2014

    Fantastic reporting, they paint a hard life.
    Not one happy face, I don’t think.

    I particularly love the record stall – busy at every side, and a real range of people.
    It’s very illustrative of how marketing and technology has changed the place of music in people’s lives in the last 40 years.

  3. Robert permalink
    December 19, 2014

    Cute pics. But it must be very early ’70’s as one picture features LPs for 35s. But the people have changed but some of the street scape still exists intact from the ’70’s.

  4. Brian Weaver permalink
    December 19, 2014

    great images from another world, thanks for putting them up

  5. Libby Hall permalink
    December 19, 2014

    Wonderful photographs! They have a feel, for me, of exactly what it was like.
    I miss those Sunday mornings of long ago!

  6. December 19, 2014

    A lovely set of pictures with real warmth and quality.

  7. December 19, 2014

    Nice Post…

  8. December 19, 2014

    Very fine studies of the so called ordinary people in the times of T.Rex and early David Bowie… Watch the admiring faces of the children!

    Love & Peace

  9. December 19, 2014

    Wonderful! It would be good to to see a book of these. Perhaps you could work your magic, GA.

  10. Peter Holford permalink
    December 19, 2014

    Definitely an end of an era. It is so hard to equate that area and time being so close to the City – two separate worlds. Grim but interesting photos.

  11. Pauline Taylor permalink
    December 19, 2014

    An incredible record of the times, the sideburns, the cigarettes, the headscarves and that really incongruous short coat, how strange it all looks now, and, as far as I can tell, only one face that looks even vaguely happy. But, once again, these show the way in which black and white photography captures a mood in a way that colour photography never does.

  12. Neville Turner permalink
    December 20, 2014

    I enjoyed these photo’s of people going about their every day life, a very good snap shop of life thank Val Perrin.

  13. aubrey permalink
    December 20, 2014

    The photographs look as though they were taken of aspects of the Sunday market. The pet market (primarily puppies, kittens and canaries) always took place on a Sunday. As a small child I was always hanging around the area and gazing at these animals – hoping that, perhaps, one day I would be able to have a dog of my own. The crush of people and the acrid smell of the cigaret roll-ups- always a feature of my earliest memories.

  14. December 21, 2014

    Wonderfully evocative pictures. Great documentary photos. Another great find by you, GA. These are the scenes that I can remember seeing when my Dad took me there on a Sunday in the early 1970’s.

  15. Martin Backhouse permalink
    January 28, 2015

    Amazing photos – the one at the bottom of the guy playing the accordion, Lofty, has my grandad in it on the left just in front of Lofty with the hat on! My dad, Barry, is over the moon to have found and old picture of his dad! Does anyone know if there are any more pics around?!

  16. Nicola J permalink
    August 22, 2018

    Fantastic photography

  17. David permalink
    August 23, 2018

    Fabulous. Goes to show us that despite everyone these days having a camera on their phone, there is so little worth photographing in this day and age.

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