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A Walk With Philip Cunningham

June 17, 2022
by the gentle author

Some tickets are available for The Gentle Author’s Tour this weekend, 18th & 19th June

While living in his grandfather’s house in Mile End Place during the seventies and eighties, Philip Cunningham used to explore the streets of the East End taking photographs.

“What the Germans had not bombed in the war, the GLC and the council were trying to pull down. There were ruins everywhere and it gave the borough a strange character,” recalled Philip, “There were asbestos prefabs all over the place but they slowly disappeared – the last two I remember were in Globe Rd.”

At Brady St Dwellings

Brady St Dwellings

At Brady St Dwellings

Brady St Dwellings

Brady St

Durward St, Whitechapel

Mural of Canon Barnett at Whitechapel Art Gallery

Brick Lane

Fournier St

Brick Lane

Folgate St

Grimsby St

Cheshire St

Spitalfields Coal Depot

Bethnal Green

Artillery Passage

Middlesex St

Old Castle St

Leadenhall Market

Alie St

At St George in the East

White Horse Lane

Mile End Rd

Mile End Rd

Mile End Rd

Mile End Rd

Alderney Rd


Photographs copyright © Philip Cunningham

You may also like to take a look at

Philip Cunningham’s East End Portraits

More of Philip Cunningham’s Portraits

Yet More Philip Cunningham Portraits

A Lost Corner of Whitechapel

Philip Cunningham at Mile End Place

10 Responses leave one →
  1. Andy permalink
    June 17, 2022

    Hints are made in the pictures of a friendliness and openness, and community, that despite the sadness of the buildings and the degradation of the area, the East End possessed something different then, that is especially reflected in a society now where Age UK boasted in statistics :

    1 million over 65’s don’t see anyone to talk to for a month, and 3 million for a week.

  2. Bernie permalink
    June 17, 2022

    When my father was growing up he and his ilk inhabited these streets; they were full of life and activity. Sic transit gloria mundi seems a very relevant tag.

  3. Dudley Diaper permalink
    June 17, 2022

    I also photographed the Nature Study Museum when it caught my eye in 1985. It later featured in Peter Ackroyd’s novel Hawksmoor. The museum seems like a good idea. When was it functional?

  4. June 17, 2022

    Literally another era, another time… Sad and beautiful.

  5. Annie S permalink
    June 17, 2022

    Great photos! Coincidentally I walked down Brady Street from Bethnal Green station yesterday.
    Some of those old buildings are still standing fortunately and have been renovated, as I’m sure you know, Brick Lane looks so different now!

  6. Cherub permalink
    June 17, 2022

    I would love to know more about the Instant Typewriter Rental company on the Mile End Road. It just sounds interesting!

  7. Christine Saunders permalink
    June 17, 2022

    Such recent history yet a different world away but I guess most of it has gone now. Whatever happened to the curious Museum of Natural History?

  8. Steve Terrey permalink
    June 17, 2022

    The picture of JJ & SW Chalk (Timber Merchant’s) is brilliant. My granddad started working there in 1912 (I have the letter confirming his start with the company). By the early 1930s he was the manager of the firm and in 1962 he retired (got given a television as a retirement present). He then went back to work with them up until 1968, as no one could do his job I guess- until they were trained up.

  9. June 18, 2022

    I don’t think I knew that the Brady Street Dwellings, designed by my great-grandfather, were still standing. The Brady Street club, I believe still there, was designed by his son, my grandfather. These flats, and others, are described in Hugh Pearman’s ‘Excellent Accommodation: The first hundred years of The Industrial Dwellings Society’ []

  10. Marcia Howard permalink
    June 18, 2022

    I love all the rich history, and hints through words of what was once there. Any scenes of dereliction truly saddens me though

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