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More Of Val Perrin’s Brick Lane

December 21, 2014
by the gentle author

It is my pleasure to present a second selection of Val Perrin‘s fascinating and evocative photographs of Brick Lane Market, taken between 1970-72 and published today for the very first time.

Photographs copyright © Val Perrin

You may also like to take a look at the first selection of

Val Perrin’s Brick Lane

16 Responses leave one →
  1. ROBERT GREEN permalink
    December 21, 2014

    Absolutely FANTASTIC, after the positive response to your first selection of these photo’s on Friday I was hoping so much that you would return with some more of these wonderful images, and when I read the first article and you mentioned there were possibly hundred’s of these pictures I was sure that you would come back with some more and I am so so so happy that you have, I am typing this reply at 3am Sunday morning just before I leave for this very market to do my days trading on this my 44th consecutive pre Christmas market and seeing these fantastic images before I leave has filled me with a heartwarming mixture of nostalgia and melancholy for the memories of the past that these images evoke in me, so many memories, happy memories, I know to lots of people they may look grim even pitiful but to me they are everything from my past and in many ways even my present and in the middle of a very cold night they have filled me with a VERY warm glow, thank you GA so very very much for bringing more of these precious memories back into my mind and even my heart, THANK YOU.

  2. GJM permalink
    December 21, 2014

    Brick Lane was much the same right into the mid 80s, when I worked in the area, in a clothing sweat shop.

    People may appreciate the ‘nostalgia’ of these images, but I’d like to remind everybody that for the poor amongst us, these were desperate places and desperate days. Look at the sellers’ faces and you will see these are not happy men, but survivors.

    I salute all of you that survived Brick Lane and escaped the poverty trap.

    I did escape thank God, but sometimes, when I am sad or depressed in the darkness of Winter, those days haunt my dreams.

  3. December 21, 2014

    Such character in those faces. Boy do I want to know the story behind the guy with the banjo and the harmonica.

  4. Libby Hall permalink
    December 21, 2014

    More splendid photographs! So full of poignant nostalgia for me. I keep expecting to see myself as I scroll down through the images.

    Looking at comments left for the first selection of these wonderful photographs, I noticed a couple of people saying they thought everyone looked unhappy. We weren’t unhappy – buying and selling stuff is a serious business. I think people look more studious than unhappy. Those Sunday mornings were happy times. The only truly sad moments were seeing someone with virtually nothing but bits of rubbish to sell displayed on the kerb. If it was a grey cold day that definitely could be desperately sad. But otherwise it was a vibrant, busy, just very human environment.

    At the end of the morning we would cram into the Carpenters Arms. It was always incredibly crowded but it was a happy atmosphere there as well. Dealers with their mornings takings, having a Sunday drink, looking forward to Sunday dinner. (Though I can’t believe now that we were able to breath in the dense clouds of cigarette smoke.)

    I hope there may be even more of Val Perrin’s marvellous photographs.

  5. Andy Willoughby permalink
    December 21, 2014

    Brilliant photos! Good quality, and very immediate, they capture the moment and the characters.

  6. December 21, 2014

    Wonderful pictures. There is a whole story there in everyone of them.

  7. December 21, 2014

    London flea markets in the early seventies — I would so gladly have experienced that with pleasure!

    Love & Peace & Merry Christmas

  8. December 21, 2014

    Wonderful Photographs!

  9. Pauline Taylor permalink
    December 21, 2014

    These photos are the best yet to me, and once again remind me of how so many people smoked and how many ladies wore a headscarf. Thank you to Libby for reassuring us that the people shown were not really as unhappy as they look, I can well imagine that they relaxed once they reached the pub and had a drink in their hand, surely it was ever so!! Thank you GA for letting us see these and thank you to the photographer, he certainly knew how to catch a moment in time. Good luck at the Christmas markets Robert Green, your comments are very enjoyable to read.

  10. December 21, 2014

    I’m very touched by Robert’s comment in particular. Black and white photography can seem to make things look a bit grim I suppose but despite all the hardship and graft that people had to get through in those times and no doubt encouraged many to aspire to a better life, what isn’t so obvious is the feeling of community that existed. Not rose tinted and perfect but lots of humour, vigour, generosity and warmth. I realise in retrospect what an incredibly rich legacy and world view my inner London childhood gave me. Tough no doubt but grit in the oyster.

  11. Ros permalink
    December 21, 2014

    I agree that the people in these great photos don’t look sad so much as concentrating on the job of buying, looking, selling. And look how expressive peoples’ hands are! Of course life was tough, but there was a camaraderie for many, and that is even apparent in the wonderful last photo of the two men who I guess had very little indeed. Life can be just as tough if not tougher today where the vitality and currency of everyday exchanges are missing for so many people. And you can’t just blame mobile phones!

  12. December 21, 2014

    It all looks so depressingly sad

  13. December 22, 2014

    Heart-warming that these lovely photographs have come to light. And I too was touched by the splendid comments of Robert Green and Libby Hall…

  14. Laura Jacobs permalink
    December 22, 2014

    These are wonderful photos. The use of black and white underscores how bleak and grim it was. I remember the market in the late 70s early 80 and it was pretty unpleasant yet compulsive. I used to scour the place for second hand clothes. Yes there were some gems but there were also heaps of rags.

  15. Neil Round permalink
    December 22, 2014

    Breathtaking that I lived through all this, it passes you by to a certain extent. I am just loving the closeness to the activity, it wondeful, thank you, thank you

  16. April 20, 2020

    The guy with the banjo is interesting. Mostly because those country towns listed on his drum are where a lot of my East end Ancestors,the Cazaleys settled and my 4 times great grandmother,Elizabeth Eagles- Cazaley is buried at Ballarat. It would appear he had spent time playing in each of those towns at some time. back in the post war decades,musicians were often booked to play at the various country ex services clubs where Friday and Saturday nights really hopped..

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