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Spitalfields In Kodachrome

April 12, 2020
by the gentle author

As an Easter treat we are offering 50% off all titles in the Spitalfields Life Bookshop with the discount code ‘EASTER’ until midnight on Easter Monday.

Please click here to visit the bookshop

Photographer Philip Marriage took these pictures on 11th July 1984

Crispin St

Widegate St

White’s Row

Artillery Passage

Brushfield St

Artillery Passage

Brushfield St

Fashion St

Widegate St

Artillery Passage

Gun St

Brushfield St

Gun St

Brushfield St

Parliament Court

Leyden St

Fort St

Commercial St

Brushfield St

Photographs copyright © Philip Marriage

You may also like to take a look at

Philip Marriage’s Spitalfields

Photographs of Time Passing in Spitalfields

17 Responses leave one →
  1. April 12, 2020

    This reminds me how the area looked when I started work around here in 1991, before it was a tourist destination. Would love to see Blooms restaurant and Debbies sweet shop again!

  2. Alison Ashfield permalink
    April 12, 2020

    It struck me this morning that these pictures of an empty Spitalfields of before may be replicated, now. No way of verifying this, of course as wandering with a camera would not be the thing to do, given the difficult and frightening times into which we have been thrown. Keep safe all those of the great city.

  3. Bailey Jones permalink
    April 12, 2020

    Happy Easter GA.

    The locations are immediately recognisable and yet it’s all so very different from the Spitalfields of today. And so much litter everywhere.

  4. Jonathon Green permalink
    April 12, 2020

    If now were then I would have been cycling East from W9 to fill my bag with deli delights from Marks of the Lane. I miss it still.

  5. Chris Webb permalink
    April 12, 2020

    Around this time there were several vintage Citroens parked in the market. I always wondered who they belonged to and why they were there.

  6. Brian Stokoe permalink
    April 12, 2020

    Have these images been cropped from 35mm? I don’t recall Kodachrome having been produced in a roll film format that would have supported square format cameras.

  7. April 12, 2020

    Fantastic! 🙂

  8. April 12, 2020

    I really enjoyed these colour pictures. They look so “alive”.????????

  9. Adele permalink
    April 12, 2020

    What memories! Walking to school in Spital Square every day I knew these streets like the back of my hand. My father worked in Whites Row – love seeing it again!
    Stay safe everyone.

  10. Saba permalink
    April 12, 2020

    GA and GR, Happy Easter, Blessed Passover, and blessings to all of you of other religions or no religion.

    Filthy streets, bathrooms — yes, part of life. Still, joy — if not happiness — is everything we will ever need to know about the lives we lead.

  11. Chris Webb permalink
    April 12, 2020

    In reply to Brian Stokoe, I have just checked Wikipedia and Kodachrome was indeed made in a wide range of formats including 120 which was used by many cameras using square format such as all Hasselblads and various Bronica and Mamiya cameras.

  12. Philip Marriage permalink
    April 12, 2020


    These photos were taken with an old Iloka 3D camera which produced an almost square tranny (23x24mm) on standard 35mm film so 48 images or 24 stereo pairs. I’m currently processing them so they can be viewed in 3D.


  13. paul loften permalink
    April 12, 2020

    Thank you both for these memories of how it once was. So may stories are contained within the photos I don’t know where to start . The ladies toilet in Leyden St could be a good place. I do recall we once had public toilets that we could be proud of but they are now a distant memory. There was a gentleman’s toilet in Bishopsgate in the middle of the road opposite Ditrty Dicks that had some beautiful victorian plumbing and fixtures and fittings and an attendant that kept it clean. I think I would be willing to pay a good fee to have kept him and others in this valuable job but the powers that be, at the time, thought perhaps it was better to try and turn it into a posh restaurant. I would have told them not to waste their time.
    BTW I am feeling better now with the sore throat and headache I tried steam inhalation three times and added a teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt each time. It cleared up the next day. It’s worth a try as it cannot do any harm

  14. Bernard Cohen permalink
    April 12, 2020

    I would love to know where the one-but-last image in this display was taken. The first-floor flat above the “Sokhals” signboard might very well be where my parents lived until about 1929, and the second-floor flat might also be where my uncle Wolf had his furriers workshop.

  15. Amanda permalink
    April 12, 2020

    Lovely to read others recollections.

    At this point in our lives l’d give anything to be back there in the 80s, with or without the debris which l didn’t ever really notice. Walked along eating a latke or two stepping over crates.

    And there l was a few short weeks ago nonchalantly window shopping, happy exhanges with chatty shop assistants and not wanting to leave the buzz to return to the countryside.
    So oblivious then to what was about to mysteriously creep into our atmosphere

    The Commer van in Commercial Street
    is my favourite nostalgic photo. l can hear its distinctive engine.

    My other half and l always had an old MG for tootling and a van in those days so we could park in the West End (wardens were blind to vans then) or to weekend in Glastonbury piling in 6 pals and taking the kitchen sink. ?

    The 70s and 80s were the best times for me. The best adventures, the best London neighbours and the best friends and my solution for foreign travel on a shoestring was working abroad on a visa.

    These posts and their memory-jogging always switch a dull or preoccupied frequency to happiness and relaxed escapism.
    Thank you to Philip M & the GA.

  16. Philip Marriage permalink
    April 12, 2020

    Bernard, the last but one photo showing the SOKHALS sign was taken standing on Commercial Street just before where White’s Row meets Toynbee Street. Your triangular building is still there though ‘modernised’ and is currently EYEDIOLOGY opticians. The more eagle-eyed might also spot the Gillette ghost sign above which is still visible after thirty-five years though even more faded.

  17. Bernard Cohen permalink
    April 12, 2020

    Philip, thank you very much for replying. Sadly, my parents’ one-time flat is just out of shot to the left.

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