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Ron McCormick’s Spitalfields & Whitechapel

July 29, 2018
by the gentle author

Today it is my pleasure to publish a third installment of Ron McCormick’s fine photographs of Spitalfields and Whitechapel taken in the seventies when he lived in Princelet St

Carrying bicycles over Pedley St bridge

Street musician in Brick Lane market

Faces in the crowd, Commercial St

‘The boys’ pass time on the steps of the Great Synagogue, Fournier St

Costa cobblers, Hanbury St

Engineering works, Heneage St

Engineering works, Heneage St

Bottling girls in the Truman Brewery

Mother and toddler, Buxton St Holiday Club

Street scene, Whitechapel

Flower seller, Whitechapel

Shoe shop, Wentworth St

Mr & Mrs Ali with their children, Brick Lane

Bakery, Whitechapel

Leaving Spitalfields, Artillery Passage opens onto Middlesex St

Family playtime in streets off Whitechapel Rd

Cheshire St market

Girl and her grandmother, Great Eastern Buildings, Quaker St

Rooftop playground, Great Eastern Buildings, Quaker St

Roof of Great Eastern Buildings, Quaker St

Tenement buildings, Spitalfields

Street singer, Brick Lane market

Diamond merchants, Black Lion Yard

Woman with dogs in alley off Quaker St

Photographs copyright © Ron McCormick

Cafe Royal Books have published two books of Ron McCormick’s photographs of Whitechapel and Spitalfields. Click here to order copies

A new expanded hardback edition of Chris Searle’s Whitechapel Boy, a reading of the poetry of Isaac Rosenberg including a photoessay by Ron McCormick is now available. Click here to order

You may also like to take a look at

Ron McCormick’s Whitechapel

Ron McCormick’s Spitalfields

11 Responses leave one →
  1. Yvonne Kolessides permalink
    July 29, 2018

    Woke as usual in far away Nicosia to find your absolutely wonderful photography..
    It brought back so many memories from the past, good bad and ugly and it will certainly stay with me for some time to come..Thank you

  2. Caroline Bottomley permalink
    July 29, 2018

    Such evocative photographs

  3. July 29, 2018

    Wonderful empathy in these shots, best of the genre I’ve seen. Thank you Ron Mccormick

  4. pauline taylor permalink
    July 29, 2018

    Beautifully composed and every picture truly does tell a story. Brilliant.

    Do children still skip nowadays? If not perhaps it would be good idea to reintroduce it, it is a very enjoyable way to keep fit and, for some of those that I have seen recently, to lose a bit of weight as well. Fat children do not seem to appear in these photos.

    Thank you as always GA.

  5. bellehelen permalink
    July 29, 2018

    Wonderful photos. Spitalfields had so much more character then even if it was scruffy.

  6. Ronnie Cohen permalink
    July 29, 2018

    Dear Gentle Author, Thank you so much! The photo labelled ‘Shoe Shop, Spitalfields’ shows my father outside 58 Wentworth Street showing the shoes in the window to a lady customer. I have never seen this photo before! Around 1910 the shop had originally been rented by his mother who decided to sell shoes. She had no stock nor money, but persuaded a nearby shoe manufacturer to “lend” her a pair of children’s shoes which she displayed in the window. The shoes were sold within hours and she triumphantly made her way back to the manufacturer to pay for the shoes and borrow a further two pairs. Once the business was established, it did a brisk trade and my grandparents managed to bring up 11 children above the shop. Due to a redevelopment in the 1970s, the shop was forced to move to Middlesex street but continued trading until 1991 when, after 81 years selling shoes, it was sold to a jeweller.

  7. Ron permalink
    July 30, 2018

    Thank you all above for your encouraging comments, they are greatly appreciated.
    Thank you especially Ronnie Cohen for the telling story about your mother and the foundations of the business. I would greatly appreciate it if you could let me have the names of your mother and father so I can update my information on the photograph. many thanks in anticipation, R.
    You can email me via

  8. Sheila Spivack (nee- Cohen) permalink
    July 30, 2018

    I would like to purchase a few copies of ‘Shoe Shop’ Wentworth Street, where Jack Cohen, my father, is outside the shop, pointing out shoes to a customer.

    Would you kindly let me know if this is possible.

    Many thanks

  9. July 31, 2018

    Thanks again for publishing more photographs from Ron. They are an extraordinary and beautiful record of the East End.

  10. August 1, 2018

    What great photos. I was a student at QMC from 1970-1973 and this is the area as I remember it.
    Rundown, filthy and decrepit but with great character!

  11. Chris Hall permalink
    July 12, 2019

    The woman in an alley off Quaker Street, is actually Lucy Parker in Tailworth Street off Spelman Street E1

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