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Dragan Novaković’s Club Row

July 16, 2023
by the gentle author

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These photographs of the Club Row animal and bird market were taken by Dragan Novaković in the late seventies – the market closed in 1983 when street trading in live animals became outlawed

Photographs copyright © Dragan Novaković

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13 Responses leave one →
  1. July 16, 2023

    These photos buzz with life and character but it definitely for the best that the animal trade was regulated.

  2. July 16, 2023

    Simply awesome moments.

    Love & Peace

  3. July 16, 2023

    I photographed Club Row the last time I visited the area. It is almost unrecognisable. Mum and Dad kept canaries that had been bred with goldfinches to give them a beautiful singing voice but, later on, she agreed that keeping birds in a cage doesn’t give them the best life. I believe that they came from Club Row. I am pleased that pets are not traded in street markets but there is a lot of buying and selling of other goods going on in these photos including rather fine boots, shoes and a a very fine model steam train.
    I do love a street market and the whole experience of chatting to the traders, being totally taken in by their patter and usually buying far more than I intended. When I first started photographing London, side streets would house the barrows, often with the wooden wheels carved with names in beautiful script. Many of my family had been traders in the Victorian era and beyond. Some could rent shop premises, but those who could not, had a barrow.
    I’m off to France soon where they seem to have really kept the whole market tradition alive. People travel all over the area to visit markets in different towns and because the climate is conducive with it, there are even night markets ( although the latter are specifically for tourists). I can’t wait to gabble away in my poor but improving French. (Last time in Spitalfields Market, I was able to test drive my equally poor but more slowly improving Italian!) People are drawn to people and markets do just that.
    These are a wonderful set of photographs that capture the occupations of trader and market shopper perfectly. Thank you Dragan and the GA.

  4. Mark permalink
    July 16, 2023

    A great sense of melancholia sweeps over me as I view these lovely pictures of people and places I never knew or visited. The fellas with the glasses and crash helmet is particularly touching.
    Thanks for the memories!

  5. July 16, 2023

    A trip down memory lane for me today GA.
    Spent many a Sunday morning with my dad in Club Row, I can still recall some of the fascinating characters trying to sell not very much at all, just a few items on the pavement.
    I loved looking at all the little puppies up for sale but never got one!
    A salt beef sandwich or bagel on the way home was such a treat…….. happy days.

  6. Helen permalink
    July 16, 2023

    Hub, when he was a young boy back in the late 60s, went with his family to Club Row to buy a bike…and ended up coming home with a beautiful little collie-cross puppy! She was a gorgeous little dog, very sweet natured, had nine puppies of her own, and lived for 17 years!

  7. Avril Towell permalink
    July 16, 2023

    Club Row is where my first dog was purchased. It was 1955 and the houses in Haggerston were going to be demolished, so after three generations of my family living there, and as the smog was gradually killing my grandad, we decided to move to the country. My next door neighbours gave me a puppy as a leaving present and so my beautiful female cross breed came to live with us in the clean country air. No regrets after all these years but wonderful memories of this part of Londons east end.

  8. Tanya Reynolds permalink
    July 16, 2023

    I remember these days well.
    Going to the market with my grandparents and later in the mid 70s to buy retro clothes.
    Vivid memories.
    Thank you for sharing

  9. Eve permalink
    July 17, 2023

    I never visited the live animal market of Club Row, but these photos conjure warm images of sprawling old Brick Lane in full swing with traders of all sorts, jostling amongst the Sunday throng, lively patter & friendly humour of folks bagging a bargain or two – me included.. aw much missed!

  10. Mr Peter J Washington permalink
    July 17, 2023

    Ronnie Biggs in the white polo neck ?

  11. Cherub permalink
    July 17, 2023

    Back in the 70s my sister lived near Ilford and her then partner kept an aviary of canaries which he’d buy from Club Row. I’ve never liked the open sale of animals (although I did once buy a kitten from a pet shop in the early 80s). I’m glad there’s more regulation now, but am concerned by things like puppy farming and the underground breeding of dangerous dogs.

  12. Garry Owens permalink
    November 5, 2023

    Yeah, used to visit CR on a regular basis with Dad, setting off from Barry Road, E-Dulwich on a Routemaster Bus, it was a long and interesting journey too. The market was so, so full of characters selling anything and literally everything from stall, on the pavement and at the time bombsites too. Used to have an apple fritter and or a plate of whelks.

    Yeah, I too thought he looks a bit of a face, possibly RBs?

    Memories, memories – Love it.

    Thank you.

  13. Lisa cook permalink
    March 20, 2024

    Love these old photos I visited Club Row market with my Dad and uncles and cousins every Sunday from 1969 I was 4 I loved all the characters.. we bought our first ever Dog July 1977 a mongrel Jack Russell x whippet sandy she was 8 weeks old , best dig ever lived till she was 19 xxx

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