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Roland Collins’ East End

May 2, 2021
by the gentle author

It is my pleasure to show this selection of Roland Collins‘ evocative photographs of the East End and the City. For a spell in the sixties, while he was working as a Commercial Artist for the Scientific Publicity Agency in Fleet St, Roland Collins had access to a darkroom which enabled him to develop his own photography, and he produced striking photoessays exploring aspects of London life.

Fairground on the Hackney Marshes.

Salvation Army prayer meeting in the Lea Bridge Rd.

In Petticoat Lane.

In the East India Dock Rd.

Porters at Billingsgate.

Spirits are high as a porter is hoist onto his own shellfish barrow by his sixteen stone son.

A porter makes a bit extra on the side, street trading in boots and shoes.

The Monument.

View from the top of the Monument.

Looking down Eastcheap from the Monument.

Fish shop by the Monument.

Visitors at the top of the Monument.

The shadow of the Monument cast upon King William St.

Relief upon the Danish Embassy at Wellclose Sq at the time of demolition – now removed to Belgravia.

In Albury Rd, Rotherhithe.

At Limehouse Basin.

Photographs copyright © Estate of Roland Collins

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Roland Collins, Artist

12 Responses leave one →
  1. May 2, 2021

    A wonderful photographic work. Adorable.

    Love & Peace

  2. May 2, 2021

    Incredible photographs, especially the ones taken from atop “The Monument”. Thank you.

  3. Ken sequin permalink
    May 2, 2021

    The beast I have seen – rivals Bill Brandt

  4. Ken sequin permalink
    May 2, 2021

    Super. Must make a photo book of these . Are there negs to print up?

  5. Bernie permalink
    May 2, 2021

    The images of and around the Monument are somewhat unusual and/or capture an illustrative, passing moment. Particlarly the one of the shadow aligned with the street below.

  6. May 2, 2021

    “View from the top of the Monument” — one of the most compelling urban images I have seen. Maybe because I grew up in a grimy/gritty city — Pittsburgh — I was enthralled with this photo. I have a sense of roaring above, spotting the landmarks at first — but then my curiosity is piqued at the smaller details. What is that on top of that roof? And — oh wowwwwwww — look at those people on the street below! Provides a sense of scale, and pathos. The shrouds of grey, a city coated in cinders, the steeples seem to call to the cranes. The beating heart of
    a great, loved city.

    Amazing photo! Thank you, GA, for shining a light.

  7. Linda Granfield permalink
    May 2, 2021

    So wonderful! And the “Porters at Billingsgate” image–those three faces turned away at once and caught in a split-second.
    (I’m always glad the past stories are noted–I re-read “Roland Collins, Artist” and realize he only lived a couple of years past that story.
    What gems he left behind!

  8. kay permalink
    May 2, 2021

    Dear Gentle Author, I live in the U.S. When I visited London I very much wanted to visit the East End, but was with a host who only wanted to show me the tourist spots. Therefore I appreciate and always read your posts on spitalfieldslife. Thank you for the work you know and realize it is appreciated. Kay

  9. Kelly Holman permalink
    May 2, 2021

    Roland Collins has captured some wonderful moments. I love the emotions of the two girls on the carousel, one confident and happy, – perhaps a little smug on her mount -, the other timid and nervous.
    The weary porter resting at Billingsgate is moving, the picture seems to convey not only his physical weariness but a burden of cares.
    The photo of the visitors at the top of the Monument is also stunning. It has an atmosphere of wonder even if we, the viewers, cannot see what they see.
    Thank you.

  10. May 2, 2021

    ‘In Albury Rd’ photograph very reminiscent of Roger Mayne’s photographs on Southam St.

  11. boudica Fawkesredd permalink
    May 2, 2021

    Great pics and great story bravo

  12. Cherub permalink
    May 3, 2021

    I used to work right by the Monument and was never brave enough to go up there as I don’t really like narrow, confined stairs (my head was swimming up the Leaning Tower of Pisa 3 years ago).

    The men with the quilts down the Lane look really entertaining ?

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