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David Granick’s Spitalfields

March 16, 2018
by the gentle author

Stepney Photographer David Granick (1912-80) has been receiving well-deserved recognition recently thanks to an exhibition at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives which runs until 5th May and a book The East End in Colour 1960-80 edited by Chris Dorley-Brown and published by Hoxton Minipress.

Spitalfields Market, 1973

Brushfield St, 1970

Fournier St, 1968

Princelet St, 1968

Brick Lane/Hanbury St, 1976

Folgate St, 1979

Elder St, 1968

Elder St, 1965

Fleur de Lis St, 1966

Quaker St, 1970

Quaker St, 1978

Cheshire St, 1969

Black Lion Yard, 1966

Whitechapel Bell Foundry, 1969

Photographs copyright © Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives

Click here to buy a copy of THE EAST END IN COLOUR 1960-80 by David Granick direct from Hoxton Minipress

You may also like to take a look at

Philip Marriage’s Spitalfields in Kodachrome

10 Responses leave one →
  1. March 16, 2018

    Very evocative photos of the area as I remember it. So much has changed beyond recognition these days. Valerie

  2. Greg Tingey permalink
    March 16, 2018

    Doesn’t this show the awful level to which the area had sunk in the early 70’s?
    I can see why shortsighted people simply wanted to knock it all down, rather than restore – but, thankfully, they were wrong.
    I remember another area that used to look like that in the late 1950’s – when even a 12-year old me recognised that the houses were beautiful, but run-down. I think the first restoration I saw was about 1959 – the NW third of the N1 district – Islington/Highbury … look at it now!

    Though, as we all know, there are still the demolishers on the loose.

  3. Roger Tiller permalink
    March 16, 2018

    Fabulous photos please keep them coming, I would of loved to have been a teenager around that area in the 1950s, looking in them old shops.

  4. Jacqueline Tillyer permalink
    March 16, 2018

    I very much remember the Brick Lane area in this sad and sorry state, in particular the early eighties when living in Broadway Market, London Fields.
    Early every Sunday a visit to Brick Street market was an obligation, to scrabble around for treasures through the piles of what would be classified now as ‘vintage’ clothing.
    I often wondered how much dismal torment these splendid building could take and in any form survive.
    Often the heavy front doors of the original Huguenot houses were open, as then rented in mostly individual rooms, revealing the broken down state of the interiors.
    Thankfully, those buildings that survived the swing of the ‘demolition ball’ have been revived and survive as a reminder to my and others Huguenot heritage. Viva Spitalfields!

  5. March 16, 2018

    Such an incredible work covering so many great little corners.
    Just ordered a copy of the book.

  6. March 16, 2018

    marvellously evocative photos, with that special 60’s colour palette that I remember so well!
    Truman Brewery on my Dad’s doorstep loomed large.

  7. Philip Marriage permalink
    March 16, 2018

    These are simply wonderful photos, capturing the period so well and thankfully taken in colour – showing that the sun did shine in those days, even on the East End.

  8. mark permalink
    March 16, 2018

    Just brilliant. What clarity! What colour! What poetry! The London we will never see again. Stolen. Wiped out. Left to degrade. What beauty!

  9. Malcolm permalink
    March 16, 2018

    The exhibition is superb, I saw it last week. The book is beautiful too. But the overall feeling one is left with is an overwhelming melancholy. Even now, looking at these wonderful pictures I fell a lump in the throat. To look at these images to see the slow death of old London, the rapid fading of the once grand old Victorian metropolis following the brutal destruction of the war and several decades of arrogant, heartless town planning and development that robbed the people of their homes and communities and replaced them with faceless corporate blocks of glass. I remember the period when these pictures were taken and looking at them now is as if I have been somehow transported back through the mists of time. The colours show the reality, the terribly sad state of this part of London, the odd shops among the broken shells of houses, streets where there were more gaps than houses, like a mouthful of bad teeth. There never was a sadder time for the great City that we all love, a time when gleeful architects and ignorant town planners seized the chance to start killing off the old streets and pushing out the communities that they despised. If you get a chance to see the exhibition I urge you to go, but be prepared to hold back a tear or two.

  10. Michael Fishberg permalink
    October 1, 2019

    So, there’s Black Lion Yard already half-demolished. You can just make out my dad’s sign (foreground on the right) informing of his move next to Bloom’s in Whitechapel High Street. Happiest days living above the shop. We moved to Finchley and I opened a jewellery shop in Golders Green in 1971. Closed some eighteen years later following a spate of armed robberies.

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