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Dan Cruickshank’s Photos – Then & Now

May 26, 2015
by the gentle author

Yesterday, I took a walk with my camera to visit the locations of Dan Cruickshank’s photographs of Spitalfields as he first discovered it and I recorded the changes that forty years have wrought.

Wheler St, mid-seventies

Wheler St, today

Quaker St, mid-seventies

Quaker St, today

Quaker St & Railway Dwellings, mid-seventies

Quaker St & Sheba Place, today

Redchurch St & Bethnal Green Rd, mid-seventies

Redchurch St & Bethnal Green Rd, today

Corner of Bacon St & Brick Lane, mid-seventies

Bacon St & Brick Lane, today

Sclater St, mid-seventies

Sclater St, today

Sclater St, mid-seventies

Sclater St, today

Brick Lane, mid-seventies

Brick Lane, today

Hanbury St, mid-seventies

Hanbury St, today

Calvin St, mid-seventies

Calvin St, today

Doorcase in Wilkes St, mid-seventies

Doorcase in Wilkes St, today

Brushfield St, mid-seventies

Brushfield St, today

Brushfield St, mid-seventies

Brushfield St, today

Looking towards Brushfield St, mid-seventies

Looking towards Brushfield St, today

Looking towards Norton Folgate, mid-seventies

Looking towards Norton Folgate, today

Spital Sq, mid-seventies

Spital Sq, today

Spital Sq, mid-seventies

Spital Sq, today

Dennis Severs House in Folgate St, mid-seventies

Dennis Severs House, today

Folgate St, mid-seventies

Folgate St, today

Elder St, mid-seventies

Elder St, today

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Alex Pink’s Fournier St, Then & Now

Alex Pink’s Spitalfields, Then & Now

Alex Pink’s East End Pubs, Then & Now

16 Responses leave one →
  1. May 26, 2015

    It’s good to see that many places are looking much better kept these days. Thanks for taking the ‘today’ photos. Valerie

  2. May 26, 2015

    I was hoping there would be a follow up to Dan Cruickshank’s evocative photos. Although sad to see some of the new builds are clearly simple and hideous, it’s also heartening to see that some of the buildings have been sympathetically restored and as Valerie writes, that they are in better order than they were half a century or so ago.

  3. Robert Green permalink
    May 26, 2015

    The up to date photo’s of Elder St and some of the Spitalfields locations show just what could have been achieved with so many of the buildings that have been lost if only more people could have had the imagination (and determination) to preserve the important historical architectural legacy of these areas, it is true that the merits of any redevelopment are always a matter of personal opinion but to me the moden development’s even if well mauntainted always lack the atmosphere and individualism of the buildings they replace and the moden buildings unimaginative design and total lack of character causes most redevelopments to make an area feel moden but very sterile and uninteresting.

  4. Lucy permalink
    May 26, 2015

    Well done for getting the Porsche in !

  5. Peter Holford permalink
    May 26, 2015

    The before-and-after technique is very revealing in showing what we choose to value and what we allow to be built in the place of cleared buildings. Unfortunately the replacements seem to be of little merit and do little to enhance the area. So the lack of imagination leads to the obliteration of the historic fabric. Will the new buildings be valued by future generations? I doubt it unless proposed developments in the next century are deemed unacceptable by local residents.

  6. Richard Hughes permalink
    May 26, 2015

    Great Project – well done. I’ve always wondered why that end of Redchurch Street has never been restored – there are still buildings which are derelict. What it shows is that there is hope … but so much more work to be done.

  7. May 26, 2015

    Sadly, it seems to me that the destruction and ignorant rebuilding far outweighs the restoration.

  8. Robert G. Redford permalink
    May 26, 2015

    Some you win some you lose ! Apart from the hideous new builds the street scenes shown here are an improvement on the mid seventies. Amazed at how much new greenery there is in such a relatively short space of time.

  9. May 26, 2015

    Very interesting how some buildings did survive and others not … — But by the way: those “modern” graffiti are anything but nicely!

    Love & Peace

  10. Roger Carr permalink
    May 26, 2015

    Saint Dennis Severs.
    Great to see people lining up for the tour.

  11. REDMANTHINKS permalink
    May 26, 2015

    A mixed bag really. Some look better now then they did then, and some have been replaced, rather than renovated, by buildings unsympathetic to the area, however, all is not lost !! Thanks for sharing.

  12. David Sime permalink
    May 26, 2015

    Love the one of Brushfield Street with the Market cart being superseded by a Porsche.
    Seems to sum up the gentrification of the area rather nicely!

  13. May 26, 2015

    These wonderful images that document the great lost historic past of Spitalfields are an important reminder of just how important it is that we should save the last buildings that still stand. The ancient buildings restored and greatly loved are the very buildings that people in their thousands come to Spitalfields to enjoy today!
    The current threat to the Liberty of Norton Folgate that includes 18th and 19th century houses along with fine 19th century warehouses should be saved from their current plan of demolition and desecration, if they are saved from the current plans to replace them with yet more towers of glass future generations will thank us with the streets of Blossom, Flere de Lei and Elder street becoming wonderful places that people will want to visit work within and inhabit.
    David Milne.

  14. May 26, 2015

    Thank you so much for today’s “now” images…I couldn’t work out Spital Square until I saw the today pictures as I was disoriented by Dan’s earlier shots…unbelievable how much has it changed….Norton Folgate must be saved before it is too late…

  15. May 27, 2015

    thanks for these excellent photographs Placed side by side they show what we’ve lost in terms of detail (the doorcase in Wilkes Street) but also the seismic changes in shopping that have taken place in the last few decades. Sanitised, out of town shopping centres have taken the place of busy, cosmopolitan street markets which were much more than somewhere to shop. Yes, people were looking for staples like fruit and vegetables (now usually bought wrapped in plastic from a supermarket) but they were also places to wander, chat, earwig, look. They were entertaining in a way that those huge shopping malls will never be. Much of the housing stock was in dreadful condition and needed repair or replacement, but most of the replacements are functional but soulless. Hey – thanks for Dan Cruikshank for taking the original photographs. We need to document what is around us.

  16. Highlight permalink
    October 5, 2015

    Not only have the buildings dissapeared, where have all the people gone ? This is the most important question. Does it not tell those modern glass house maniacs that without life you have nothing. Long live preservation.

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