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Philip Cunningham At Oxford House

September 17, 2021
by the gentle author

Photographer Philip Cunningham took these lively pictures while working as a youth leader at Oxford House in Bethnal Green in the seventies. They are now the subject of an exhibition entitled Youth of Yesteryear at Oxford House from 22nd September until 17th December.

“In the early seventies, I was trying to get into art school but living in a small house in Mile End Place where there was no room to paint, so a friend suggested that I tried the art studio at Oxford House. I gave it a go and found myself surrounded by THARGS (Tower Hamlets Arts Group) who were mostly Abstract Expressionists.

Upstairs was an antiquated dark room used by kids from the youth club which was under the art workshop. I soon became involved and worked there for nearly five years. During this time, I gained a place at Ravensbourne Art College and used their darkroom equipment which was all new.

The tutors at Ravensbourne encouraged me to ‘Photograph everything!‘ and that was I started to do, which was how and why many of these pictures were taken. They capture an era and an effervescent energy that I still find inspirational.”

Philip Cunningham




Bob Drinkwater

Pat Leeder

Photographs copyright © Philip Cunningham

You may also like to take a look at

Philip Cunningham at Mile End Place

A Walk with Philip Cunningham

Philip Cunningham’s Pub Crawl

Philip Cunningham’s East End Portraits

More of Philip Cunningham’s Portraits

Yet More Philip Cunningham Portraits

A Lost Corner of Whitechapel

6 Responses leave one →
  1. September 17, 2021

    Cool, the amazing bell-bottoms — by the way, they are back in fashion, at least with our girls!

    Love & Peace

  2. September 17, 2021

    Never was there a decade more immediately identifiable from the clothes! Great photos, as always.

  3. Richard Smith permalink
    September 17, 2021

    I enjoyed looking at the photographs. The 70s doesn’t seem that long ago but then again it does. I left school in the early 70s and I can relate to the scenes. When I see photographs like these I always think, ‘where are they now?’ Thank you GA.

  4. Cherub permalink
    September 18, 2021

    I’d love to know what happened to these kids, how their lives turned out etc. They’ll be late 50s and early 60s by now, my generation. I expect some will have even moved away from London many years ago, but it would be great to find them.

  5. Robert Callander permalink
    September 19, 2021

    Wow blast from the past thank you for the photo is amazing

  6. Patrick oshea permalink
    October 17, 2021

    I would like to see more photos of myself and friends from 1970s

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