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Some Favourite John Claridge Photographs

December 8, 2020
by the gentle author

We have extended our ADVENT BOOK SALE with all titles in our online shop including John Claridge’s EAST END at half price until midnight on Wednesday. Enter code ADVENT at checkout.


Lady with Gumball Machine, Spitalfields 1967

Perhaps no-one took more photographs of the East End in the sixties than John Claridge? Here are just a few of my all-time favourites from his classic volume EAST END. The book has been so popular that we only have a few copies left.

Hotdog van, Spitalfields 1961

The Daily Message in E3, 1972

Corsetiere, Whitechapel 1961. “A man came up to me while I was photographing this and asked, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I’m taking a picture,’ I said. ‘There’s something wrong  with you, lad,’ he replied.”

Man with jobs poster, Spitalfields 1963. “I asked him, ‘Are you alright for a couple of bob?’ and he sat in the sun for me for a moment.”

Butchers, Spitalfields 1966. “I had just finished taking a picture next door, when this lady came out with a joint of meat and asked me to take her photograph with it.”

Groundsman, E15 1965. “This is the groundsman at the Memorial Ground where I played football aged ten in 1954.”

Ear piercing, Spitalfields 1964. Is this ear piercing done to people over five years of age, or has the jeweller been piercing ears since five years of age?

E16, 1982. “He’s going home to his dinner.”

Plaistow, John Claridge’s neighbours Mr & Mrs Jones, 1968

Clocking in at the Truman Brewery, 1964

Spitalfields 1960. “I came across this lady sitting on an orange box, there was nothing else around. Then she got up and walked off with her box.”

At the ’59 Club, 1973

Princelet St, 1962. “Just a man and a pigeon.”

Mass x-ray to eliminate tuberculosis, 1966

Michael Ferrier, Breaker’s Yard, E16 1975. “He looks like the artful dodger.”

Whitechapel Bell Foundry, 1982

Whitechapel Bell Foundry, 1982

E9, 1964.

E1, 1968. “My mum and dad read the Stratford Express.”

Dray horse grazing next to the Truman Brewery, 1964

Newsagent, Spitalfields, 1966. “I said, ‘Shame about Walt Disney dying, can I take your picture next to it?’ and he said, ‘Alright.’”

Brick Lane, 1966

Strudel, E2 1962. “You’ll like this, boy!’ I had just taken a photograph outside this lady’s shop. I said, ‘I think your window looks beautiful.’ and she asked me in for a slice of apple strudel. It was fantastic!  But she would not accept any money, it was a gift. She said, ‘You took a picture of my shop.’”

Sammy Fishoff, Old Montague St, 1964

Tubby Isaac’s, Spitalfields 1982. “Aaahhh Tubby’s, where I’ve had many a fine eel.”

John Claridge taking a photo in Old Montague St, 1964

My Mum & Dad, Plaistow 1964. “Taken in the backyard.”

John Claridge’s childhood home in Plaistow, 1964

13 Responses leave one →
  1. December 8, 2020

    Wonderful photographs capturing the images of the East End I knew and will always remember with much affection.
    I’ve had “many a fine eel” at Tubby’s stall too!

  2. Patrick Crowther permalink
    December 8, 2020

    John Claridge is one of the great British documentary photographers. His imagery is so powerful but seems to become more telling as the years go by and his early subjects fade into distant memory. ‘East End’ is a wonderful book, a fitting tribute to the area and his talent.

  3. December 8, 2020

    Incredible pictures. “The Club 59, 1973” with the three bike ladies is really great.

  4. Sharon permalink
    December 8, 2020

    I really love looking at the photographs taken by John Claridge they are so good. So much so I have just spent some very enjoyable time looking through again some of the archives here such as ‘John Claridges’s cafe society’ and ‘at the Salvation Army’. Brilliant as usual. Thank you GA.

  5. December 8, 2020

    A word to the wise…….If you have enjoyed this array of photos today, treat yourself to a whole volume of John Claridge photos. The book is a lavish doorstop of images, wonderfully presented. An art book for the ages. Of the countless books in my art library, this one keeps pulling me back. This photographer was a master chronicler of his well-loved/well-trod neighborhood and (dare I say) his generation.

    Any day that begins with John Claridge photos is a GOOD day.
    Many thanks, GA.

  6. Elizabeth Newell permalink
    December 8, 2020

    I absolutely love this collection of photos. Thank you for sharing them.

  7. Mark permalink
    December 8, 2020

    The Master at work.
    I know of none better, do you ?

  8. paul loften permalink
    December 8, 2020

    Where would we be without these fantastic photos that capture an era that has been erased? Oh the corset and lingerie shop. It sends a thrill right down to my toes!!! Thank you John Claridge and the GA and also the unknown gent who gave us a piece of his mind

  9. December 8, 2020

    Wonderful, resonate and evocative photos of the area he grew up in and the people he knew. In particular, I loved the picture of his parents, two profiles artfully juxtaposed. You knew their characters and could almost hear their voices from this intimate portrait. His work is a major find for me – thank you so much. I will definitely be looking out for more of his work.

  10. David Green permalink
    December 8, 2020

    ‘There’s something wrong with you, lad,’ he replied.” Hilarious!

  11. Linda Granfield permalink
    December 8, 2020

    Love the ear piercing sign.

    Makes me think of a sign I saw in a Niagara Falls restaurant: “All You Can Eat/Spaghetti $6.95/Children $4.95”

    I didn’t order either of the selections!

    Book Bit: Treat yourself to a copy of A Hoxton Childhood and/or The Boss of Bethnal Green. We totally enjoyed them both–and the design of the books is superb.

  12. December 8, 2020

    Laughed at the comment regarding the corsets! The ear piercing notice was a bit scary. The lady holding a joint of beef is wearing an extremely sturdy looking pair of shoes; you wouldn’t mess with her. Could comment on all them. Amazing photographs that all clearly tell a story. Brilliant images. Thank you GA

  13. Marc permalink
    January 4, 2021

    Wonderful photos. They inspired me….
    Amid the complex and competitive machinery
    Of a world hardened into deathly ideal
    Within catacombs of concrete, iron and exclusivity
    The maladjusted (Or too well adjusted) scuttle
    Seeking small comfort before a premature death
    Hemmed in, yet alienated
    With no goal beyond sunrise

    A daughter, perhaps loved, perhaps not
    And yet always a child
    An orange box her mobile seat
    A child’s toy her talisman
    Her world too profound for such concepts as ‘deserving’
    Hers a world where tragedy perhaps saved.

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