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Night At Spitalfields Market

December 12, 2022
by the gentle author

If you fancy a bracing walk as a respite from the festivities, tickets are available for THE GENTLE AUTHOR’S TOUR OF SPITALFIELDS on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.


Click here to buy GIFT VOUCHERS for The Gentle Author’s Tours – the ideal present for friends and family – and I will send a handwritten greetings card to the recipients


Although they were taken only thirty years ago, these photographs by Mark Jackson & Huw Davies preserved in the archive at Bishopsgate Institute, seem now to be images from the eternal night of history – with fleeting figures endlessly running, fetching and carrying, pushing barrows from the flaring lights out into the velvet blackness, where a bonfire burns beneath the great tower of Christ Church, Spitalfields, looming overhead.

Mark Jackson & Huw Davies were poets with cameras, aware that they were in an epic world with its own codes and customs, and they recognised the imperative to record it before it disappeared. No one asked them and no one paid them. As recent graduates, Mark & Huw shared a tiny flat and worked, as a courier and in a restaurant respectively, to buy film and subsidise their project. Each evening they took the last tube to Liverpool St Station and spent the night at the market, taking pictures and befriending the traders, before going straight back to work again in the morning, often without any sleep.

Like many of the most inspiring cultural projects, this remarkable body of photography was the result of individuals pursuing their own passion. Mark & Huw were committed to record what no one else was interested to look at. Neither became photographers and their greater project to record all the London markets was reluctantly abandoned when they went off to pursue other careers, but their Spitalfields Market photographs are unrivalled in the photography of markets.

Photographs copyright © Mark Jackson & Huw Davies

You may also like to take a look at

Mark Jackson & Huw Davies at the Spitalfields Market

The Return of Mark Jackson

Ivor Robins, Fruit & Vegetable Purveyor

Blackie, the Last Spitalfields Market Cat

A Farewell to Spitalfields

2 Responses leave one →
  1. December 12, 2022

    Impressive documents about the importance of the market traders who ensure that the supply of a big city like London is being maintained. Hats off!

    Love & Peace

  2. December 12, 2022

    Thirty years ago, yet it looks likea time long gone. Beautiful pictures, thank you.

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