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Lollipop People

June 30, 2017
by the gentle author

Let us now praise the Lollipop People. Those benign spirits who arrive miraculously twice a day, like guardian angels or fairy godparents, glowing fluorescent, wielding their wands and shepherding their flocks safely across the road to and from school.

When the City of London & Cripplegate Photographic Society approached me offering their services to collaborate with Spitalfields Life, I knew at once that the Lollipop People would be the subject – to my eyes, they are unacknowledged, universally-loved, heroes and heroines who deserve to be celebrated and photographed.

Yet, getting to the right place at the right time and capturing these timid fleeting spirits, proved more challenging than we had anticipated. We discovered that, due to the Education Cuts, the Lollipop People are an endangered species and, such is the unassuming nature of these modest folk, some shunned the lens while others would not give their names.

Thankfully, through tenacity and charm, Cathryn Rees and Jean Jameson were able to produce this slim portfolio of elegant portraits that must serve as the historical record of these hardy, altruistic souls.

Frank Smith at Cubbitt Town School, Isle of Dogs (Photo by Cathryn Rees)

Sabah at Bigland Green School, Limehouse (Photo by Jean Jameson)

Abdul Rif at Caley Primary School, Bow (Photo by Jean Jameson)

At Cyril Jackson Primary School, Limehouse (Photo by Jean Jameson)

Jackie Clarke, St Peter’s School, Wapping (Photo by Cathryn Rees)

At Cyril Jackson Primary School, Limehouse (Photo by Jean Jameson)

Julie Hutchinson at Mayflower School, Poplar  (Photo by Cathryn Rees)

Sabah at Bigland Green School, Shadwell (Photo by Jean Jameson)

At Redlands Primary School, Stepney (Photo by Cathryn Rees)

Photographs copyright © Cathryn Rees & Jean Jameson

Learn more about City of London & Cripplegate Photographic Society, London’s oldest photographic society, founded in 1899

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. Amoret Tanner permalink
    June 30, 2017

    Delighted that these warm hearted, hard working, dedicated characters have been recorded and their character shone through the photographs

  2. June 30, 2017

    I am glad GA has highlighted this band of lollipop’ers. The front line today is our roads, lollipop people are out there manning the safety crossings in all weathers, saving children’s lives above all they have a sense of community spirit !well done them. Not sure if there is any remuneration to be had. Of course duty time is minimal but has to be constant in school term time. Dig deep and one will find the odd MBE or two awarded for exceptional attention to duty. Sometimes there is a mix of people, of course children & mums are the main priority also seen sometimes are the elderly crossing all through the generosity of our gallant band of people movers. Poet John. PS – If I remember my American cousins have this system with a bit more grandeur.

  3. Richard Smith permalink
    June 30, 2017

    Excellent pictures and great that these folk are rightly celebrated, they are all treasures!

  4. June 30, 2017

    Great and delightful subject, people in service with a sign, Lollipop people. In 1949-1967 our dear Lollipop person was called “Cookie the Cop” who help children in many ways beyond the street crossing at elementary school. Thanks atk

  5. Pam permalink
    July 1, 2017

    They are All Angels!! They keep the children save before and after school and they may not have Angel wings, their yellow coats are Beautiful!!! bless them All.

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