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Suresh Singh’s Spitalfields

October 29, 2018
by the gentle author

When Suresh Singh was a student at City & East London College in 1979, he was given a project for General Studies O Level to record his neighbourhood. So he set out with his camera from his home at 38 Princelet St and took these photographs of the streets of Spitalfields. They are published here for the first time today and are now in the collection at Bishopsgate Insitute.

Suresh will be in conversation with Stefan Dickers talking about his book A MODEST LIVING, MEMOIRS OF A COCKNEY SIKH at the Write Idea Festival at the Whitechapel Idea Store on Saturday November 17th at 1pm. Click here to book a free ticket

Christ Church from Wilkes St

Spitalfields Market seen from Christ Church

Looking towards the City from the rooftop of a Hanbury St factory

Children playing cricket in Puma Court

Mr Sova, proprietor of Sova Fabrics on Brick Lane

Brick Lane

Shed on Brick Lane

Shoe shop on Cheshire St

Cheshire St

Stamp and coin dealer in Cheshire St

Boy carrying home the shopping on Brick Lane

Shops on Hanbury St

Truman Brewery seen from Grimbsy St

Woman on Brick Lane

Her shoes

Down and out on the steps of the Rectory, Christ Church

Homeless men sitting outside Christ Church – this area has recently been fenced off

In Fashion St

Naz Cinema, Brick Lane

Family walking from Shoreditch Station into Brick Lane

Clifton Sweetmart, Brick Lane

Former Central Foundation School for Girls, Spital Sq, now Galvin restaurant

Inside the former Central Foundation School for Girls, Spital Sq

Abandoned books at Central Foundation School for Girls

There was a constant police presence on Brick Lane due to the race riots

Crowds leaving the mosque on Brick Lane

Sign in Fournier St

Sign in Fournier St

Christ Church prior to restoration, without balconies

Christ Church from the roofs of Hanbury St

Photographs copyright © Suresh Singh


Click here to order a signed copy of A MODEST LIVING for £20


7 Responses leave one →
  1. Jane Jones permalink
    October 29, 2018

    What wonderful moody photos. I also really enjoyed Suresh’s book. I read it in one sitting and was reminded how extraordinary ‘ordinary’ lives can be – it was a sheer delight. I hope this is the beginning and not the end of his writing career.

  2. October 29, 2018

    Those photos really capture the atmosphere of the area at that time. Valerie

  3. Peta Bridle permalink
    October 29, 2018

    Dear Suresh
    I hope you were given an A for your photography project. They are beautiful pictures. I particularly like the 3rd picture of the view over the rooftops and chimney pots on Hanbury Street. It is interesting to see the many gaps on the streets in your photos – all patched up now!
    Best wishes Peta

  4. Jill Wilson permalink
    October 29, 2018

    Yes – fascinating to see the Spitalfields area before gentrification. Suresh obviously has a good eye, and I thought the shoe shop window photograph was particularly striking.

    I also really enjoyed his book, and thought his Dad came across as an extraordinary character…

  5. Jose Cadaveira permalink
    October 29, 2018

    There are some really brilliant photos here! Thanks for sharing, love the atmosphere, takes me back to when I was a kid.

    Jose C.

  6. October 30, 2018

    I absolutely love the photograph of the woman in the white coat with her torso framed by the wall painted sign. I only wonder what the words, framing her head, mean?

  7. November 1, 2018

    Suresh certainly knew what he was doing when he took these photographs in 1979. A marvellous collection taken by a young photographer with a natural eye for composition and subject. It would be great to see some contemporary photographs of Spitalfields from Suresh. I photographed the woman on Brick Lane around four years later wearing the same coat. She appears in my book Brick Lane published by Spitalfields life. She lived in Flower & Dean walk.

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