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David Hoffman’s East End

September 29, 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 are crowdfunding to raise enough money to cover production of our next 3 books. We have raised £10,005 so far.




Thank you for all you do to document and celebrate the human history of the East End. Hugh Valentine

I am so looking forward to the publication of these books – I always read your blog and really enjoy your writing. Good luck! Sarah Lewington

All the very best of luck with this venture. Dina Fawcett

To support GA, the authors, artists, illustrators & photographers in the production of more beautiful books. Hellen Martin

May you and Spitalfields life, blog, community and books continue to inspire, flourish, stir and resist..thank you. Silvervanwoman

Good luck. I’ve got quite a few of your books and will look forward to more. Alison Pilkington

I have great admiration for The Gentle Author. TGA works incredibly hard and deserves all the support that we can give. Tim Sayer

Valuable historically and personally memorable for different aspects of the East End to be recorded, visually and orally so the streetscape, cultural vitality and diversity of voices are not lost. Jude Bloomfield

The daily blog from Spitalfields Life is life affirming. Best wishes with the publishing venture. Kate Amis

The Gentle Author brings great enjoyment to me every morning. Lynn MacKay

Looking forward to all three books – especially the mosaics, scattered like stardust, and free for all to enjoy…as all great art should be. Josephine Eglin

Dear Gentle Author, I am a great admirer of Tessa Hunkin’s work and would like to support the publication of your book about her and her mosaics. Many thanks for the work you do for so many and the interesting stories you share with all of us readers. Best of luck with this and warm crispy autumn wishes, Matilda Moreton

Good luck with the publication fund raiser. I loved working with Sarah Ainslie on various Spitalfields Life pieces, and I’m excited for her work, and the others, to be published in book form. Rosie Dastgir

I love the books! Good luck! Mary Winch

Love the books – hope the funding project succeeds. Edward Gillman

Good luck with your worthy venture. Keith Brennan

Amazing books … keep going. Sophie Alderson

Precious publications from a very special place … Oh here’s to Spitalfields lives ! Sophie Thompson

I am a great-granddaughter of man born in Bethnal Green. Proud to be an East Ender! Pamela Henning

Wonderful projects. Sensorinet

Cracking beautiful relevant stuff !! Bonne chance xx Oliver Lazarus

I love your books, which would not be published anywhere else. Long may you continue. Melanie McGrath

Books open worlds, make great companions, are lovely gifts, and keep our minds from growing stale. And they ask for little in return! Long live books! Jennifer Newbold

So pleased you’re re-launching SL Books, which are all beautifully produced and feature the work of such excellent photographers, artists and writers. Julia Meadows

Good luck – your books are brilliant. Joan Isaac


Today we preview David Hoffman’s book:


David Hoffman’s bold, humane photography records a lost decade, speaking vividly to our own times. Living in Whitechapel through the 70s, David documented homelessness, racism, the incursion of developers and the rise of protest in startlingly intimate and compassionate pictures to compose a vital photographic testimony of resilience.

“The old East End was disappearing as I took these photographs, being able to bring back a glimpse of its spirit in this book means a lot to me.”

David Hoffman

“I moved to the dilapidated slums of Whitechapel from the dilapidated slums of North Kensington in 1970. First to 19a Chicksand St which was soon demolished, then to 17 Black Lion Yard. When that was predictably demolished in 1973, I squatted one of the tinned-up tenement flats in Fieldgate Mansions, replacing the council concrete-filled loo and building a darkroom.

With a Nikon F and 35mm lens hanging from my wrist, I wandered the strange, chaotic time-slipped streets trying to work out what photography was about. I never did find out. These photos ended up as contact sheets buried and forgotten beneath the protest photography that became my specialism in the late seventies.

As I now digitise forty years’ work, they’ve floated back into sight. I think they’ve matured nicely over the decades.”

Photographs copyright © David Hoffman

3 Responses leave one →
  1. September 29, 2023

    I can understand that all too well — you photograph the situations that arise and after developing the film, the quality of some of the motifs is not properly recognised. That was still manageable with 35 mm film and 36 pictures. Today I take a lot more digital pictures. And who knows when I will really recognise the value of a single motif of the many shots.

    Besides: I still have the idea of digitising the analogue photos from my trips to England. And the big question is: will I manage it in THIS lifetime…?

    Love & Peace

  2. September 29, 2023

    Great pictures, very humane, warm, close.

  3. debra Sewell permalink
    September 29, 2023

    extraordinary photo collection

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