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David Johnson’s East End

July 22, 2022
by the gentle author

Tickets are available for my walking tour now

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Liverpool St Station

Shall we take a tour around the East End in the early eighties in the company of David Johnson, courtesy of his wonderful Kodachrome images published here for the first time?

“My interest in London’s history goes back to the late sixties, when as a teenager I would take the train from Oxford and then, using a Red Bus Rover ticket and a copy of Geoffrey Fletcher’s The London Nobody Knows, discover some of the most interesting and off-beat parts of the capital. In 1977, seeking a job after graduating and with a strong interest in photography, I ended up in London selling cameras in Tottenham Court Rd. I first explored the old wharves and docklands before they disappeared and then, after moving to Dalston, the East End. Derelict buildings, faded signs, architecture on a human scale are all things which I liked to photograph then – and still do today.”

David Johnson

Liverpool St Station

Liverpool St Station

Liverpool St Station

Artillery Lane

Brushfield St

Christ Church Spitalfields

Fashion St

Spitalfields barber

Hanbury St

Brick Lane

Homeless men in Spitalfields

The City from Spitalfields

Whitechapel Market

Wapping Police Station


St Paul’s School, Wellclose Sq

Wapping High St

River Plate Wharf


Wapping Pier Head

The Gun, Isle of Dogs

The Black Horse, Limehouse

Grove Place, Hackney

Empress Coaches, Hackney

Regent’s Canal

Cat & Mutton Bridge

Broadway Market

Broadway Market

George Tallet, Fishmonger, Hackney

Carr’s Pet Stores, Hackney

Trederwen Rd, Hackney

Photographs copyright © David Johnson

17 Responses leave one →
  1. Greg T permalink
    July 22, 2022

    Liverpool St station (!)
    With the wonderful zig-zag bridge, the two post-boxes & an enormous ginger tom cat ….
    And, a little further back, the unique smell of steam locomotion & the distinctive “panting” of the Westinghouse brake pumps. { Let’s not mention the old rolling stock – “Quint-Arts” – that were falling apart by the late 1950’s … }

  2. July 22, 2022

    My goodness, what an excellent set of evocative and poignant photographs from David Johnson, especially the scenes of Liverpool Street Station and its ramshackle concourse. These in particular, brought back memories of my daily commute from the Essex suburbs in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Our personal memory of these places can often be tinted with the lens of nostalgia but these photos remind us of how this area of London really was sans gentrification: seldom glamorous or fashionable but often scruffy and unloved. Thanks to David Johnson and the GE for publishing them.

  3. John Price permalink
    July 22, 2022

    Very good. Familiar to anyone who grew up in the 70s & 80s. The picture of Nat West Tower with the corrugated sheets in the foreground is fantastic. Thank you.

  4. Philip Marriage permalink
    July 22, 2022

    Splendid selection of East End images, particularly ‘old Spitalfields’ as was. I love the Carr’s Pet Stores shopfront – a real typographical delight – but I still can’t make out the rest of the ‘MILK, TWICE DAILY’ ghost sign above Naranjan House which has intrigued me for years. Maybe the original tranny is clearer?

  5. Libby Hall permalink
    July 22, 2022

    These are wonderful!!

  6. July 22, 2022

    Photos from a time when I got to know London. My goodness, how long ago THAT was now….

    Love & Peace

  7. July 22, 2022

    A wonderful collection, and so much Gill Sans too

  8. Mark permalink
    July 22, 2022

    Fab pics. The London I remember as a regular user of Liverpool Street 1977-82. It was ramshackle but I loved it. Spent the whole night there after a Who/Stranglers/AC DC/Nils Loftgren concert at Wembley Stadium in 1979. My Mini got nicked in the multi-story. It was summer but spent a freezing night with 3 friends on the concourse waiting for the first Sunday train to Cambridge. Nothing open and a porter loading a train with Sunday rags wouldn’t even give me one to “read”. Car turned up 2 weeks later in Cricklewood. Nicked my tapes but left the clothes in the boot, we had been shopping for in Carnaby St. Blummin joy riders. I loved the old smoke!

  9. Cherub permalink
    July 22, 2022

    The photo of the view from Wapping pier head to Tower Bridge is beautiful.

  10. Bart permalink
    July 22, 2022

    Wonderfully evocative and giving the dirty details the credit they deserve. Where can we see more of David’s work?

  11. John Cunningham permalink
    July 22, 2022

    What superb photos. They capture an era that to someone of my age(67) seems like yesterday. But it could be another world, indeed. The yellow Ford Cortina in one pic struck a chord. I had one just like that. I spent a few months in 1984 working at my then employers head office in Holborn Bars. I had the occasional wander around the nearby East end. It seemed desperate and at the end of its tether. As an now occasional visitor to Spitalfields, gentryfycation or not, it seems a much better place than it was in 1984. I always head first for the Brick Lane Bookshop, followed by a couple of pints at the Ten Bells. Heaven on my London. Trips.

  12. John Campbell permalink
    July 22, 2022

    Wonderful pictures, hope there are more to come.Thank you David.

  13. Lew Tassell permalink
    July 23, 2022

    Superb set of photographs that are so evocative for me. I knew Liverpool Street Station like the back of my hand in those days and the photographs have captured it brilliantly. Artillery Lane / Artillery Passage before it was gentrified, the Percy Dalton peanut advertisement which I had totally forgotten about. Also The London Hospital as it was and before it got its “Royal” title and where I met my wife to be when she was studying as a Student Nurse their.

  14. Tracey permalink
    July 23, 2022


  15. July 27, 2022

    Thanks for all the kind comments.
    I will be gradually adding more photos from this period to my Flickr album

  16. Marcia Howard permalink
    August 23, 2022

    Evocative images

  17. Kerry Nethercott permalink
    March 1, 2023

    Geo Tallett Fishmongers was my family’s shop. My childhood was spent there, along the Broadway market and in and out of the Sir Walter Scott pub! So many stories about that place.

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