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East End Women At Work

October 3, 2017
by the gentle author

Contributing Photographer Sarah Ainslie took these portraits of women in Hackney between 1990 and 1991 as a commission for Hackney Museum. “I was aware there were a lot of women in the workplace but mostly in behind the scenes roles,” Sarah explained to me, “I wanted to give them visibly and also show the variety of work that women were doing.”

Terrie Alderton, Bus Driver

Loretta Leitch, Electrician

Rosemary More, Architect

Fontanelle Alleyne, Environmental Health Officer

Hackney Regristar of Births, Marriages & Deaths

Jenny Amos, Heating & Ventilation Engineer

Carol Straker, Dancer

Annie Johns, Sculptor

Sue Hopkins, Doctor at Lawson Practice Baby Clinic

Lilly Claridge, Age Concern Charity Shop Manager

Karen Francis & Carolyn Donovan, Dustwomen

Helen Graham, Street Sweeper

Denise Martin, Truck Driver

Judy Benoit, Studio Manager

Luz Hollingsworth, Fire Fighter

Diane Abbott, Member of Parliament

Dionne Allacker, Joanne Gillard, Winnifred John, Clothing Warehouse Supervisors

Lanette Edwards, Machinist

Nora Fenn, Buttonholist

Jane Harris, Carpenter

Eileen Lake, Chaplain at Homerton Hospital

Dr Costeloe, Homerton Hospital

Ivy Harris & E Vidal, Cleaners at Homerton Hospital

Sister Ferris Aagee, Homerton Hospital

Joan Lewis, Homerton Hospital

Sister Sally Bowcock

Valerie Cruz, Catering Assistant

K Lewis, Traffic Warden

Gerrie Harris, Acupuncturist

WPC Helen Taylor

Mary, Counter Assistant at Ridley’s Beigel Bakery

Mandy McLoughlin & Angela Kent, Faulkners Fish & Chip Restaurant

Terrie Tan, Driver at Lady Cabs

Maureen McLoughlin, Supervisor at Riversdale Laundrette

Anna Sousa, Hairdresser at Shampers

Jane Reeves, Councillor

Carolin Ambler, Zoo Keeper

Mrs Sherman, Dentist

Eileen Fisher, Police Domestic Violence Unit

Yvonne McKenzie, Jacqui Olliffe & Dirinai Harley, Supervisors at Oranges & Lemons Day Nursery

Jessica James, Active Birth Teacher

Di England, Supervisor at Free Form Arts

Sally Theakston, Chaplain, St John’s Hackney

Photographs copyright © Sarah Ainslie

Photographs courtesy Hackney Museum

14 Responses leave one →
  1. Melvyn Brooks permalink
    October 3, 2017

    What a wonderful diversity of occupations. I wish I could meet some of the ladies to hear their stories. Thanks Melvyn Brooks Karkur Israel

  2. October 3, 2017

    They are so striking. I love how you have encouraged people to look happy and in charge.
    It’s very empowering looking at these, but also annoying that it IS still striking to see so many woman in positions of responsibility in one place in the media.
    Thanks, great photos, unexpectedly great impact x

  3. October 3, 2017

    Stunning photos of women at work in all walks of life. Valerie

  4. Barbara Elsmore permalink
    October 3, 2017

    What a wonderful set of photos and thank you to Sarah Ainslie who had the idea to get out there and take these photographs and to make this quiet and powerful record.

  5. October 3, 2017

    Very engaging. A great range of occupations. I missed the teachers, lawyers and social workers, though. Loved the women in the chippy, the women in what are still traditionally male occupations and the NHS workers. In fact, I liked it all. More please from Sarah.

  6. October 3, 2017

    This is probably the only site on the ‘net where a photograph of Diane Abbott won’t immediately unleash a stream of sexist and racist abuse.

    May I extend a much-belated mote of sympathy for Karen Francis, by the way? Her face says it all.

  7. Betsy Barker permalink
    October 3, 2017

    I think Diane Abbott is much loved by her constituents….didn’t she increase her majority by a great deal at the last election?
    I love this entire photo essay.

  8. Gary Arber permalink
    October 3, 2017

    Congratulations to Sarah on a fantastic set of photos.

  9. October 4, 2017

    I love them all. Sarah brings a special sensitivity to these studies.

  10. Jeff Peters permalink
    October 4, 2017

    The pictures are a wonderful look back at the past! Karen Francis & Carolyn Donovan, Dust women great!!

  11. Fran Happ permalink
    October 4, 2017

    Your blog brings me so much pleasure.

  12. Marcia Howard permalink
    October 14, 2017

    What a wonderful collection of photographs, all sending positive messages, and shining out from beautiful faces. All of them winners.

  13. Sally Theakston permalink
    January 6, 2018

    What a surprise to see my younger self! I am now Team Rector of a market town and 7 villages in central Norfolk.

  14. Anne Ambrose permalink
    April 5, 2018

    Bethnal Green Walk Group visited the exhibition at the Brady Centre today and had a great time seeing/reading the different occupations of the women portrayed.

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