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Derek Brook’s East End

February 4, 2021
by the gentle author

Take a walk around the East End on a foggy day in the sixties with Derek Brook.

Brook was a commercial photographer who came from Australia to London and photographed the explosion in fashion and music, including The Beatles. Yet he also recorded political protests, and came one day to capture his impressions of the East End in these considered and atmospheric pictures.

Whitechapel Rd

Whitechapel Rd

Whitechapel Rd

Whitechapel Rd with Royal London Hospital in the distance

Whitechapel Rd

Whitechapel Station

Whitechapel Station

Whitechapel Market

Mile End

Mile End

Mile End

The Anchor, Mile End Rd

The Railway Tavern, Commercial Rd, Limehouse

The Oporto Tavern, West India Dock Rd

The Prince Alfred, Poplar High St

Wood St, off Cheshire St

Great Eastern Buildings, Quaker St

Brick Lane

On the steps of the synagogue, Brick Lane


Middlesex St

Middlesex St

Middlesex St with The Bell

Middlesex St

Photographs courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

You may also like to take a look at

Dennis Anthony’s Petticoat Lane

Alan Dein’s East End Shopfronts

17 Responses leave one →
  1. February 4, 2021

    Wonderful East End atmosphere — without any damned pandemic!

    Love & Peace

  2. Richard Smith permalink
    February 4, 2021

    Atmospheric photos populated by interesting souls. Where are they now – the policemen , the cider drinking trio laughing into the camera, the children playing beside ‘Moseley’ written on a wall. Where are they now?

  3. February 4, 2021

    Fanatastic photographs. I love looking at theses prints, you can almost hear the sounds that would have been around as they were taken.
    Thank you.

  4. Jude permalink
    February 4, 2021

    Loved them all but particularly the 2 smiley blokes being photobombed!
    Thank you!

  5. Bernie permalink
    February 4, 2021

    Oh thank you! I have saved images 22 and 24 to my archive as they bring back a critical period in my life for which I have very few other photographs.

    These frames show the Lyons restaurant close to Whitechapel underground station, where I ate my high tea on the way from my first job (technician in the Biochemistry department of the London Hospital Medical School) to my Birkbeck College Intermediate BSc classes, taking the Underground railway to Euston Square station. Everything fell out well for me. I graduated top of London University in Zoology and went on to gain a PhD at Edinburgh and to teach Genetics at Glasgow, having left school because I could see no prospect of doing well.

    But what did I have for tea? I can recall Tomato Soup, but little else except that the dishes were pigeon-holed in a wall of hot compartments, doubtless an arrangement imported from America.

  6. Stephen Barry permalink
    February 4, 2021

    These wonderful, atmospheric photos bring memories flooding back. The second photo shows the entrance to my old school, Davenant Foundation, right next door to the Salvation Army hostel. I remember the groups of down-an-outs gathered around the hostel holding their bottles of cider. They never bothered us although fights would sometimes break out amongst them. The teachers never mentioned the hostel or warned us off the ‘residents’. Also recall the Joe Lyons tea shop near Whitechapel station with its gold lettering.

  7. Adele Lester permalink
    February 4, 2021

    So many memories – Always remember Whitechapel Station on a Saturday morning with the latest 45’s blaring from the record stall outside!

  8. February 4, 2021

    …..And I’ve spotted another Fab Four, outside of Paget’s Cafe on Mile End.

    Wonderful photos!

  9. February 4, 2021

    I love these photos, some of which remind me of the time I lived in Stepney. I particularly like the one of the Savlvation Army’s Victoria Home for Men, especially as it included a shot of the school I attended – Davenant Foundation. I was a pupil there in the 1950’s and although it relocated to Buckhurst Hill in 1966, it was probably still functioning as a boys school when this photo was taken.

  10. Linda Granfield permalink
    February 4, 2021

    These photos remind me that, yes, there was a time when women wore dresses/skirts and stockings–on every outing. So many legs on view!

    And I wonder how anyone slept in the rooms above The Railway Tavern. Looks as though one could reach out the window and touch the train cars! Scrreeeeeech!

  11. Bernie permalink
    February 4, 2021

    Beans on toast! Sometimes!!

  12. February 4, 2021

    Thanks for publishing these wonderful images of the East End from the 1960s. Whitechapel market is a lot busier now!

  13. Cherub permalink
    February 4, 2021

    I wonder what happened to the 4 schoolboys walking past Paget’s café? They look so well turned out and smart in their uniforms.

  14. February 4, 2021

    Whitechapel as I remember it back in the day, love those prams!
    Images of Brick Lane and Mile End that look so familiar…….yet so far away now.
    Great photographs, thank you for sharing them.

  15. Christy S. permalink
    February 4, 2021

    These photos cast a spell. A hush, sometimes formal, and very nice.

  16. Eric Forward permalink
    February 5, 2021

    Incredible photographs. A couple of Whitechapel and Mile End are barely changed in some ways, other areas completely unrecognisable.

  17. David Wootton permalink
    February 13, 2021

    I first started work in the mid 1960’s in the East End. My whole memory of this time is in black and white just like the photos . There were a lot of people living in poverty, bomb sites still existed and a general run down state of the area. What was amazing was the spirit of the folk who lived there, they had little but were always smiling. The lovely old buildings that were worth preserving have gone. Developers have no sympathy for the area, many of them hide behind off shore companies. Hopefully the dreaded Covid will have curtailed their plans.

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