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Geoff Perrior’s Spitalfields

September 26, 2022
by the gentle author

Tickets are available for my tour of Spitalfields throughout October & November



Geoff Perrior

This small cache of Geoff Perrior’s photographs of Spitalfields taken in the nineteen-seventies was deposited at the Bishopsgate Institute Library by his widow Betty Perrior. Fascinated to learn more of the man behind these pictures, I spoke with Betty in Brentwood where she and Geoff lived happily for forty-two years.

“He was a character,” she recalled fondly, “he belonged to eight different societies and he was a member of the Brentwood Photography Club for fifty-three years, becoming Secretary and then President.”

“He started off with a little Voightlander camera when he was a youngster, but he graduated to a Canon and eventually a Nikon. He said to me, ‘I can afford the body of the Canon and I’ll buy a lens and pay for it over a year.’ Then he sold it and bought a Nikon. He only switched to digital reluctantly because he thought it was rubbish, yet he came round to it in the end. For twenty years, we did all our own developing in black and white.

Geoff & I met at WH Smith. I had worked at WH Smith in Salisbury for twelve years before I went on a staff training course at Hambleden House in Kensington and Geoff was there. We just clicked. That was in July, we were engaged in October and married a year later. I was forty-four and we were both devoted, my only regret is that we had just forty-two years together.

Geoff worked for WH Smith for thirty-seven years and for thirty years he was Newspaper Manager at Liverpool St Station, but he never took photographs in the station because it was private property. He used to do the photography after he had done the early shift. He got up at three-thirty in the morning to go to work and he finished at midday. Then he went down to Spitalfields. One of the chaps by the bonfire called out to him, ‘I love this life!’ and, one day, Geoffrey was about to take out ten pounds from his wallet and give it to one of them, when the vicar came by and said, ‘Don’t do that, they’ll only spend it on meths – buy him a dozen buns instead.’

Geoff had a rapport with anybody and everybody, and more than two hundred people turned up to his funeral. I have given most of Geoff’s pictures away to charity shops and they always sell really quickly, I have just kept a selection of favourites for myself – to remind me of him.”

Geoff Perrior

Sitting by the bonfire in Brushfield St

“Got a light, Tosh?”

In Brushfield St

In Toynbee St

Spitalfields Market porter

In Brushfield St

In Petticoat Lane

In Brushfield St

In Toynbee St

In Brushfield St

In Brushfield St

Spitalfields market porter in Crispin St

In Brune St

In Brushfield St

In Brushfield St

Images courtesy Bishopsgate Institute

You might also like to take a look at

Dennis Anthony’s Petticoat Lane

Philip Marriage’s Spitalfields

Moyra Peralta in Spitalfields

Tony Hall, Photographer

Tony Bock, Photographer

Spitalfields Market Nocturne

5 Responses leave one →
  1. September 26, 2022

    An interesting and impressive photo series.

    Love & Peace

  2. September 26, 2022

    Splendid photos. Thank you, dear G.A.

  3. Lee Martin permalink
    September 26, 2022

    What wonderful photos very thought provoking they make me wonder what became of these individuals thank you for your brilliant blog Lee
    Ps please please please write another volume of spitafields life

  4. September 26, 2022

    I so appreciate this array of photos by a savvy, skillful chronicler of Spitalfields. Clearly, this
    was a gent who noticed everything and everyone around him — and now we are the fortunate ones who can revisit these scenes and characters; so rich in narrative detail.

    Thanks for shining a light, GA.

  5. Cherub permalink
    September 27, 2022

    I am always incredibly moved by pictures of vagrants and down and outs. My late dad was from Belfast and often used to tell me about homeless alcoholic men in the streets between the wars, many of them damaged by WW1. He encouraged us to donate to The Salvation Army because of this and I do so to this day, both in the UK and Switzerland.

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