Skip to content

Phil Maxwell’s Kids On The Street

June 17, 2016
by the gentle author

Dr Daniel DeHanas, Author of London Youth, Religion & Politics: Engagement & Activism from Brixton to Brick Lane, will be giving a lecture as part of the Immigrants of Spitalfields Festival on the subject of The Children of Immigrants: The Religious & Cultural Lives of Young East End Bengalis this Sunday 19th June at 1pm at Hanbury Hall, E1 6QR. Click here for tickets

Phil Maxwell’s BRICK LANE photo exhibition runs at The Archers, 42 Osborne St, E1 6TD from 26th June until July 10th. You are all invited to the opening on Sunday 26th from 1pm onwards. Please RSVP to attend.

East End Film Festival is hosting a screening of Phil Maxwell’s films on Sunday 26th June at 4pm at Rich Mix, Bethnal Green Rd, E1 6LA. Click here for tickets

In Spelman St

Spitalfields Life Contributing Photographer Phil Maxwell – who has taken more pictures on Brick Lane than anyone else over the past thirty years  – selected these vibrant images of children running free upon the streets of Spitalfields from his vast personal archive. “Most of these pictures are twenty to thirty years old.” he admitted to me, “There aren’t any contemporary photographs because I don’t take pictures of kids these days, not least because there aren’t so many on the street anymore – they are all at home playing on their computers.”

Phil’s lively photographs are evidence that – not so long ago – the streets of Spitalfields belonged to children, offering them an extended playground, including the market, waste land and derelict houses, where they roamed without adult supervision.

“When I first started taking photographs in Liverpool, the children in the street would demand that I take their photographs but that wouldn’t happen today.” Phil recalled, “In those days, children were a constant presence upon the streets in every city, playing their games and enjoying themselves. In the East End in particular, a lot of children played on the street because they lived in restricted conditions – so the street was the space where they were free to run around and discover things.”

In Swanfield St

On Brick Lane

On Brick Lane

In Commercial St

On Brick Lane

In Hanbury St

On Brick Lane

In Cheshire St

In Bethnal Green Rd

On Brick Lane

On Whitechapel Rd

On Brick Lane

In Buxton St

In Arnold Circus

In Cheshire St

On Brick Lane

Photographs copyright © Phil Maxwell

Follow Phil Maxwell’s blog Playground of an East End Photographer

See more of Phil Maxwell’s work here

Phil Maxwell’s Brick Lane

The Cat Lady of Spitalfields

Phil Maxwell, Photographer

Phil Maxwell & Sandra Esqulant, Photographer & Muse

Phil Maxwell’s Old Ladies

More of Phil Maxwell’s Old Ladies

Phil Maxwell’s Old Ladies in Colour

Phil Maxwell on the Tube

Phil Maxwell at the Spitalfields Market

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Melanie Williams permalink
    June 17, 2016

    Brilliant photos- I used to teach many of those children in the 80s at Christchurch Primary on Brick Lane. Noorjahan, Shueb & Sadiq etc- where are you now?

  2. June 17, 2016

    Wonderful photographs from Phil Maxwell. There are nuances of his predecessor, Horace Warner. Please keep them coming

  3. June 17, 2016

    Times that won’t come back …

    Love & Peace
    for JO COX (1974-2016) — R.I.P.

  4. June 17, 2016

    The perfect antidote to a week of horrible news. I hope that these now-grown-up young people will have the opportunity to see these wonderful, spirited photos of themselves. These images provide such insight into a child’s world, and how it feels to “inhabit” a community as a young person. To me, each young face communicated a sense of “this is my home”.

  5. Sueb permalink
    June 17, 2016

    I love reading your stories every day Gentle Author also seeing the photos of Brick Lane but they are always taken E1. My grandmother had a newsagents in 266 Brick Lane and both my parent grew up in Brick Lane but it was Brick Lane E2. Any chance of photos from E2?

  6. June 17, 2016

    Wonderful photos, children are the hope we have for the future. Valerie

  7. Malcolm permalink
    July 25, 2016

    Great pictures Phil, as always.

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS