Skip to content

East End Women At Work

September 17, 2023
by the gentle author


Starting in 2013, Spitalfields Life Books published 15 books over 6 years until the pandemic shut us down. Now we are ready to begin again and we are inspired by a string of new titles that we have ready to publish.

We are launching a crowdfund to raise enough money to cover production of our next 3 books, then income from sales of these will permit us to continue and publish more.




Today we preview Sarah Ainslie’s book


Sarah Ainslie celebrates the contribution of female labour over the past thirty years in exuberant portraits that capture the passion and struggle of the working life. Drawn from Sarah’s personal archive and her work as Spitalfields Life Contributing Photographer, this is a panoramic survey of social change.

“It means so much to me and will be an important recognition of all the women I have photographed over the years for this book to be published by Spitalfields Life Books, a perfect home for it.”

Sarah Ainslie

Merle Curtis, Sultana Begum, Armagan Middlemast & Husna Begum, Tower Hamlets Food Bank

Afa Simpson, Painter, Decorator & Clown

Donna Wood, Postwoman, Royal Mail

Claire Carmelo, Customer Service Assistant, Bethnal Green Station

Kelly Wood, Carer, Silk Court Care Home

Kellyan Saunders, Manager, Oxfam Shop

Lucinda Rogers, Artist

Maria & Anna Pellicci,  E Pellicci

Nafisa & Marlene, Newmans’ Stationery

Rachel Hippolyte, Education Manager, Spitalfields City Farm

Anita Patel, Tesco

Sue Venning, Proprietor, G Kelly Pie & Mash, Roman Rd

Iflet, Garage Mechanic, Three Colts Lane

Anjum Ishtaq, Heba Women’s Project, Brick Lane

Mrs Mustapha, Nazal Dry Cleaners, Hackney Rd

Sandra Esqulant, Publican at The Golden Heart, Spitalfields, and Molly

Shakala, Customer Assistant at Favorite Fried Chicken

Fatima Chowdury, Jumara Noor Eli and Sumsun Nahar Shirna at Mahir Sarees in Bethnal Green

Arful Nessa, Home Machinist, Spitalfields

Laura Porter, Powerlifter, Bethnal Green

Carol Burns, Manager, C.E. Burns Waste Paper Merchants, Spitalfields

Chloe Robertson, Electroplater at Margolis Silver, London Fields

Photographs copyright © Sarah Ainslie

You may also like to take a look at

East End Women in Black & White

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Dave Phillips permalink
    September 17, 2023

    I have been here enough to know that if someone has a mechanical workshop in London (3 Colts Rd.) that it’s probs going to be under a railway embankment… Great Pictures; carry on.

  2. September 17, 2023

    The one feature that strikes me in all of these photographs, is how proud these women are. They are doing varied and valuable work serving their local community. Thank you Sarah and the GA. I await the publication of this forthcoming book with interest.

  3. Rachel permalink
    September 17, 2023

    What an amazing, powerful and thoughtful series.
    I can’t wait to see Sarah Ainslie’s book published!

  4. September 17, 2023

    Wonderful women! Beautiful article, lovely pictures. Thank you!

  5. September 17, 2023

    What an array of beautiful powerful women! Sarah Ainslie’s photos are always so descriptive, full of optimism.

    Thanks for shining a light, GA.

  6. Cherub permalink
    September 17, 2023

    What a terrific celebration of womanhood, makes me think of all the hardworking women who shaped and had an influence on me in my youth.

  7. Robin permalink
    September 17, 2023

    Wonderful! Women power!

Leave a Reply

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

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS