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Yet More Philip Cunningham Portraits

February 14, 2017
by the gentle author

In the seventies and eighties, Photographer Philip Cunningham took these portraits of his friends and colleagues while living in his grandfather’s house in Mile End Place, and employed as a Youth Worker at Oxford House in Bethnal Green and then as a Probationary Teacher at Brooke House School in Clapton.

Paul Rutishauser ran the print workshop in the basement of St George’s Town Hall in Cable St

‘We don’t want to live in Southend’ – Housing demonstration on the steps of the old Town Hall

Kids from Stepping Stones Farm in Stepney c.1980

“Kingsley Hall was a Charles Voysey designed building off Devons Rd, Bow, that had fallen into disrepair and which we were trying to turn into a community centre.”

Kids from Kingsley Hall

In the pub with Geoff Cade and Helen Jefferies (centre and right) who worked at Kingsley Hall

“Geoffrey Cade worked at Kingsley Hall from about 1982. He fought injustice all his life and was a founding member of Campaign for Police Accountability, a good friend and colleague.”

East London Advertiser reporters strike in Bethnal Green, long before the paper moved to Romford c.1979

National Association of Local Government Officers on strike at the Ocean Estate

Teachers on strike c. 1984

Policing the Teacher’s Strike c. 1984

Teachers of George Green’s School, Isle of Dogs, in support of Ambulance Crews c. 1983

Kevin Courtney was my National Union of Teachers Representative when I began my teaching career

Lollipop Lady in Devons Rd, Bow

“Our first play scheme was in the summer of 1979. One of the workers was a musician called Lesley and her boyfriend was forming a band, so they asked me to photograph them and, as they lived on the Ocean Estate, we went into Mile End Park to do the shoot.”

Does anyone remember the name of this band?

Busker in Cheshire St c. 1979

“We bought our fruit and vegetables every Saturday from John the greengrocer in Globe Rd who did all his business in old money.” c.1980

Photographs copyright © Philip Cunningham

You may also like to take a look at

Philip Cunningham’s East End Portraits

More of Philip Cunningham’s Portraits

A Lost Corner of Whitechapel

Philip Cunningham at Mile End Place

5 Responses leave one →
  1. February 14, 2017

    Conveys a strong sense of the Left in Thatcher’s England during the 1980s. A time I remember well. Also interesting to see the photo of the street musician in Cheshire St following the study you showcased last week. One gets a sense of continuity of busking on the East End.

  2. Susan carlyle permalink
    February 14, 2017

    There are several people I recognise or worked with in 80s Tower Hamlets.
    The musicians contact was Lesley Shone, who went on to learn bass guitar from her boyfriend and played with an aĺl girl band The Bells Stars.
    In the homeless protest Benjamin families were being threatened with hotels B&B accommodation but we’re suffering in Finsbury Park. Richard Backes a dedicated worker is pictured with me on the right looking at a document. I was a councillor for Spitalfields with a large housing caseload.

  3. Lisa Cade permalink
    February 15, 2017

    Hi Phillip,
    What a wonderful trip down memory lane, I have invited the Julien’s to take a look as they are in the photo of young people at Kingsley Hall

  4. February 17, 2017

    I was at Brighton College of Art with Paul Rutishauser and a few years later he was working in the Cable St community print workshop while I was living on Fournier st and painting in a huge freezing studio on Brushfield St .. A great guy , very serious about his work and a sharp wit.

  5. harry stannard permalink
    August 23, 2017

    These photos really bring back memories of living, working and being a trade unionist in the area in the 70’s and 80’s – though in black-and-white it makes it seem ancient!

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