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Spitalfields Market Parties Of Yesteryear

December 18, 2016
by the gentle author

The van drivers of the Spitalfields Market certainly knew how to throw a party, as illustrated by this magnificent collection of photographs in the possession of George Bardwell who worked in the market from 1946 until the late seventies. George explained to me how the drivers saved up all year in a Christmas Club and hired Poplar Town Hall to stage shindigs for their families at this season. Everyone got togged up and tables overflowed with sponge cakes and jam tarts, there were presents for all and entertainments galore. Then, once the tables were cleared and the children safely despatched to their beds, it was time for some adult entertainment in the form of drinks and dancing until the early hours…

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13 Responses leave one →
  1. December 18, 2016

    Great pics! Especially the Santa ones. Happy Hols!

  2. December 18, 2016

    Looks fantastic – love the younger women’s dresses

  3. December 18, 2016

    Wonderful photos, everyone looks so happy and nicely dressed for the occasion. Thanks for sharing, Valerie

  4. December 18, 2016

    These marvellous photographs capture the atmosphere of Christmas children’s parties that were a feature across the land decades ago. Can you imagine the employees of a ‘digital start up company’ organising such an event today? I don’t think so.

  5. Shawdian permalink
    December 18, 2016

    When society knew how to have good innocent fun and enjoy themsleves.

  6. Joross permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Wonderful photographs that bought a tear to my eye … so poignant.

  7. December 18, 2016

    I love these evocative photos, and am thrilled that they are still around, to provoke wonder and delight. Looking at each one, there are endless details…..a sly/shy smile, a ruffled party dress, a funny paper hat, a cigarette clenched in teeth while handing out gifts, an unusual Santa mask,
    the performing dog. These photos are a banquet. So glad to be included in the party.
    Thank you kind sir, for providing these daily treasures.
    Happy Holidays!

  8. December 18, 2016

    These are great. But that clown and Father Christmas…bit scarey…

  9. gkbowood permalink
    December 18, 2016

    Wonderful photos-Would love to have someone who was there share their memories of those parties- that would really be icing on the cake!

  10. pauline taylor permalink
    December 18, 2016

    A wonderful collection of photos which really capture those parties of long ago when children, and adults too, knew how to enjoy themselves with simple pleasures. Although I grew up in a small remote village we had parties of one kind or another regularly in our village hall; a concert party would come from a neighbouring village and entertain us with singing and dancing, conjuring tricks and so on, all of which we soon knew by heart, but no-one complained as it was all great fun. I think that children and ‘grown ups’ mixed much more then than now, and we as children, learnt so much about life from the behaviour of the adults which was, in my view a good thing, I doubt if children nowadays have that advantage which I find very sad. Thankfully it looks as if the children in these photos were lucky in that respect and probably grew up well adjusted as a result, as I hope did I.

  11. Malcolm permalink
    December 19, 2016

    Those days that went before, those days of works parties and works outings, those days when there were works of many different kinds. I remember the Gas works parties at Greenwich and Bow, the Dock workers parties in West India Docks, East India Docks, The Royal Docks, always for Children first. Sandwiches (jam, spam or fish paste) jelly and cakes and orange squash. Then a magician or Punch and Judy followed by presents for all. Those days that went before…
    Later, in the 80’s I took my own kids to parties at the Post Office Headquarters in St Martin – le – Grand before it closed down. I had friends who had worked there for years. The magic was still there then. The adults had their party in the evening, all paid for by a year of savings. Those were the days that went before us and where are we now? We don’t have parties like this anymore because the world has turned a different way and such gatherings are rare. I rejoice that I, and my kids, can remember these parties and those days that went before. But there is a sadness that such times were so precious and yet so easily lost.

  12. December 19, 2016

    Santa Claus, always a very respectable person!

    Love & Peace

  13. martin permalink
    December 20, 2016

    Santa’s doing a good Hannibal Lecter impersonations.

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