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Women At Work In Hackney

September 21, 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 more images from 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

Terrie Alderton, Bus Driver

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. September 21, 2023

    This is a fabulous collection of photographs of Hackney
    . Thanks Sarah!

  2. September 21, 2023

    Exuberant portraits is right, beautiful portraits too of wonderful women. It’ll be a fantastic book.

  3. Laurie Elks permalink
    September 21, 2023

    Good to see that picture of Ann Sherman. She was a wonderful dentist and – when last heard of – alive and well and happy in her native South Wales.

  4. September 21, 2023

    Wow, impressive and precious with a seemingly brilliant dedication in each woman’s working positions. Thank you.

  5. Debenie Morse permalink
    September 21, 2023

    Such great and encouraging photographs.

  6. Eve permalink
    September 22, 2023

    brava women ! breaking the mould..

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