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Women Of The New East End

February 21, 2018
by the gentle author

Contributing Photographer Sarah Ainslie took these portraits of women in Hackney 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.”

Sarah’s exhibition WOMEN OF THE EAST END AT WORK runs at the Brady Centre in Hanbury St from 5th-30th March as part of Women’s History Month – all are welcome at the opening on 6th March 6-8pm.

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

13 Responses leave one →
  1. Caroline Bottomley permalink
    February 21, 2018

    Love these pictures and the various trades

  2. February 21, 2018

    The contrast between these and yesterday’s formal portraits is remarkable. Women as agents rather than subjects.

  3. February 21, 2018

    Productive, innovative, intrepid, focused, joyous, hopeful, eternal……..WOMEN.
    Ladies, you rock. (and that includes photographer Sarah Ainslie. Wonderful series!)

  4. Frances Donnelly permalink
    February 21, 2018

    What a truly wonderful, heartwarming and excellent set of photographs.In these very dark times it is crucial and necessary to show how far women have come and the progress they have made to empower themselves. Well done!

  5. Paul Loften permalink
    February 21, 2018

    This was not the Hackney of the 50’s and 60’s that I grew up in. At one point in time , If you saw a woman driving a car down Mare St it would turn your head . Now my head has turned full circle. For those who have never lived through those previous generations it just a matter of course to see women do those jobs . For those of us men who can remember the world of “Men Only Jobs” seeing these women in action ,will always be a source of “secret” envy and amazement.

  6. Claire Sancroft permalink
    February 21, 2018

    Great pictures! I would like to see some stay at home mums celebrated too, I believe this is such an important job often over looked.

  7. Gary Arber permalink
    February 21, 2018

    Women taking prominent positions in the East End is not a new thing.
    As a child in the 1930’s I new the Rev. Mary Collins who was the minister at North Bow Congregational Church that was in Roman Road. My father was at the time her Church Secretary.
    She died in the London Hospital during the war, my father used to visit her there, she took an interest in me. She asked my father to bring me to visit her in the hospital, as she had heard that I was going to my new high school. She said that I would be learning French at this school, This wonderful woman on her death bed had sent to the British & Foreign Bible Society for a set of the Gospels in French that she said would help me in my studies.

  8. Helen Breen permalink
    February 21, 2018

    Greetings from Boston,

    GA, thanks for sharing Sarah Ainslee’s wonderful portraits from the Hackney Museum collection. Such variety and these women look proud to be engaged in their particular occupations.

  9. February 22, 2018

    Love these. Thanks Sarah.

  10. Colin permalink
    February 22, 2018

    love these informal portraits, especially the bunny wrangler!

  11. Sally Hirst permalink
    February 26, 2018

    A truly great set of photos. They are so down to earth and yet inspiring. All young girls should see these and know there are many paths in life.

  12. Lori Newcomb permalink
    March 1, 2018

    These are like a new series of Cries of London — although the only crying is by a few newborns!

  13. Marcia Howard permalink
    April 2, 2018


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