Skip to content

Women Of Hackney At Work

November 10, 2022
by the gentle author

Click here to book for THE GENTLE AUTHOR’S TOUR OF SPITALFIELDS throughout November and beyond

Click here to buy GIFT VOUCHERS for The Gentle Author’s Tours – ideal presents for friends and family


Terrie Alderton, Bus Driver


Complementing Contributing Photographer Sarah Ainslie’s new exhibition Women Of Bethnal Green at Work which opens today at Oxford House, Bethnal Green, here is an earlier series of Sarah’s portraits.

Sarah took these portraits in Hackney between 1990 and 1991 as a commission for Hackney Museum. “I was aware there were a lot of women in the workplace but mostly in behind the scenes roles,” Sarah explained to me, “I wanted to give them visibly and also show the variety of work that women were doing.”


Loretta Leitch, Electrician

Rosemary More, Architect

Fontanelle Alleyne, Environmental Health Officer

Hackney Registrar of Births, Marriages & Deaths

Jenny Amos, Heating & Ventilation Engineer

Carol Straker, Dancer

Annie Johns, Sculptor

Sue Hopkins, Doctor at Lawson Practice Baby Clinic

Lilly Claridge, Age Concern Charity Shop Manager

Karen Francis & Carolyn Donovan, Dustwomen

Helen Graham, Street Sweeper

Denise Martin, Truck Driver

Judy Benoit, Studio Manager

Luz Hollingsworth, Fire Fighter

Diane Abbott, Member of Parliament

Dionne Allacker, Joanne Gillard, Winnifred John, Clothing Warehouse Supervisors

Lanette Edwards, Machinist

Nora Fenn, Buttonholist

Jane Harris, Carpenter

Eileen Lake, Chaplain at Homerton Hospital

Dr Costeloe, Homerton Hospital

Ivy Harris & E Vidal, Cleaners at Homerton Hospital

Sister Ferris Aagee, Homerton Hospital

Joan Lewis, Homerton Hospital

Sister Sally Bowcock

Valerie Cruz, Catering Assistant

K Lewis, Traffic Warden

Gerrie Harris, Acupuncturist

WPC Helen Taylor

Mary, Counter Assistant at Ridley’s Beigel Bakery

Mandy McLoughlin & Angela Kent, Faulkners Fish & Chip Restaurant

Terrie Tan, Driver at Lady Cabs

Maureen McLoughlin, Supervisor at Riversdale Laundrette

Anna Sousa, Hairdresser at Shampers

Jane Reeves, Councillor

Carolin Ambler, Zoo Keeper

Mrs Sherman, Dentist

Eileen Fisher, Police Domestic Violence Unit

Yvonne McKenzie, Jacqui Olliffe & Dirinai Harley, Supervisors at Oranges & Lemons Day Nursery

Jessica James, Active Birth Teacher

Di England, Supervisor at Free Form Arts

Sally Theakston, Chaplain, St John’s Hackney

Photographs copyright © Sarah Ainslie

Photographs courtesy Hackney Museum

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Cherub permalink
    November 10, 2022

    Take a bow ladies!

    Would be lovely to know what happened to them all, what they’re doing today.

  2. November 10, 2022

    The diversity of women’s professions is amazing. A beautiful article!

    Love & Peace

  3. Paul Loften permalink
    November 10, 2022

    Wonderful women of Hackney! They have kept it going throughout the ages . I was born in the Hackney Hospital in 1950 . During the blitz my mother was an air raid warden . I have a photo of her in her black uniform doing a knees up with her mates . I recently learned from my sister that one night as the bombs were falling on Hackney she was in an air raid shelter where an Irish lady was giving birth. There was no help available and nobody could come so she stayed with her and it came into the world with her help . Eventually an ambulance arrived in the morning and she was able to go home and sleep

  4. Bernie permalink
    November 10, 2022

    Somehow very touching. An admirable range of activities.

  5. stephanie brann permalink
    November 10, 2022

    I recognise so many people I knew back then, when I too was a working woman of Hackney. Why were those were better times, even though our Governments tell us they were worse? I think it was because people could do all kinds of jobs with dignity and expect to be paid enough to live. We had greater equality, were more relaxed, and less anxious. Our smiles were more genuine because the world had hope.

  6. November 10, 2022

    Optimism, focus, dedication, gumption (in heaping portions!), service, contribution. I could go on and on. These two posts, with Sarah Ainslie’s portraits of women, have lifted my spirits.

    We just had elections here in the US, and I noticed that every poll worker in our community voting station was female. They volunteered for long hours with welcoming smiles and sensible

    Sisterhood! “You go, girls!”.

Leave a Reply

Note: Comments may be edited. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS