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Moyra Peralta’s Worldly Goods

April 4, 2023
by the gentle author

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“These are all my worldly goods,” said Darren when he spread out these modest items to show Photographer Moyra Peralta in 1997. Moyra asked those she had befriended who lived upon the street to permit her to photograph the contents of their pockets and these pictures were the result.

Darren (Waterloo) – Dog, dog leads, keys on key-ring, penknife, cigarettes, lighter, matches, loose change, shoppers’ points card, religious medals on a string, prayer printed on a metal plate, photo of a dog, paperclip, safety pins, nine packets of sugar, paper serviette, personal papers, pain-killers, emery board and several plastic change bags.

Richard (Holborn) – Busking spoons (for `ham and egg-ing’, ie begging), diary, passport, one roll-up , matches, tobacco, cigarette papers, allowance book, medical prescription, Department of Social Security letter, penknife, photograph, paper tissues, and twenty-one pence.

Michael (Covent Garden) – Social Security book, moneybag, a pair of spectacles with case, a religious picture and prayer, a crucifix and chain, a five pound note, London Underground travel ticket, loose change, a US coin, two lighters, a pencil, comb, a chewing gum, a Medilink card and church postcards.

Chris, Malcolm & Jimmy (Trafalgar Sq) –  Personal stereo, lighters, cigarettes, vitamin tablets, legal and medical papers,
 a photograph of Jack Nicholson, a cartoon drawing, copper coins, a match, a wristband and a lucky sprig of heather.

Sean (Covent Garden) – A Begging placard, a peeled orange, money tin, loose change, a paper hankie, cashew nuts, a pair of socks, an 
origami flower, a pocket dictionary, a postcard, a religious picture, a whistle, shoelaces, a plaster, a broken pencil and an Irish coin.

Rory – Virgin Atlantic docket, address book, a miniature elephant mascot, a personal stereo, two paperbacks, 
`british passport, an inhaler, a brush, two cigarette lighters, a matchbook, a pen, a hammer (for breaking into squats) and a torch (belonging to a friend).

Johnnie (Holborn) – A hairbrush, reading glasses, cigarette papers, tobacco, a lighter, a pair of scissors, a razor, a toothbrush, a toothpaste, vitamin capsules, a wallet, photographs, an envelope with more photographs, batteries, coins, a pen, a paperback and cream bath lotion.

Simon (Holborn) – A tobacco tin, some dog-ends, matches, a candle stub, loose change, paper towels, dog biscuits and bone, a collar and lead, a necklace, combs, a prescription, a notebook,  a paperback, two photos, stamps, a copy of In & Around Covent Garden magazine, a cassette, a button, an envelope, a pencil, a bullet,  a plastic knife and fork, and three tubes of glue.

Ray (Strand) – a wallet, a notebook, tissues, an address book, a news cutting, an Outreach contact card, phone cards, dice, a stamp, loose change, combs, a pair of spectacles, a watch, a pen, a playing card, a cigar stub, a pen cap, bottle of mouthwash, matches, buttons, shaving cream, soap, a piece of string, a needle, thread, a safety razor in a plastic case, throat sweets, scissors, antiseptic cream, wire and wire springs and a paperback.

Tommy (Holborn Station) – Copies of The Big Issue, a Vendor’s Identity Card, a spectacle case, cigarettes, peppermints, nail-clippers and a wristwatch.

Tony & Sandy –  Rolling tobacco, a lighter, cigarette papers, painkillers, a plaster and a comb.

Richard displays his worldly goods in Holborn.

Photographs copyright © Moyra Peralta

You may also like to read about

Moyra Peralta in Spitalfields

Moyra Peralta’s Street Portraits

6 Responses leave one →
  1. April 4, 2023

    Sad and moving.

  2. Richard Cleaver permalink
    April 4, 2023

    So many small but clearly significant items hinting at previous lives. I find the presence of religious items particularly poignant….and an envelope….what treasured link to the past may that contain? In a world where most of us are surrounded by material goods of little sentimental value I find today’s post particularly thought provoking. Thankyou.

  3. Eve permalink
    April 4, 2023

    sad for the poor souls with so little worldly goods – most have likely passed on now .. R.I.P.

  4. Liz H permalink
    April 4, 2023

    Really sad and l wonder what happened to them all. Would also be interested to know those who sell the Big Issue whether they do eventually live a normal life again. We had one who sold it in Bromley for 10-15 yrs and then disappeared, like to think he had a happy ending!

  5. Cherub permalink
    April 4, 2023

    Very poignant, small worthless items that may mean everything.

  6. April 4, 2023

    These are an incredibly sad set of images. Just the bare bones of a person’s life. I wonder what the story is behind the toy elephant. Terribly, terribly sad.

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