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David Hoffman In Cheshire St

October 9, 2023
by the gentle author

We have raised over £21,000 to RELAUNCH SPITALFIELDS LIFE BOOKS and now we have 5 DAYS LEFT! With your help, I am hoping we can reach the target of £35,000 by next Saturday 14th October.

Consider supporting us as a Patron and receive a signed fine art print by Doreen Fletcher, signed photographic prints by David Hoffman and Sarah Ainslie, plus an inscribed copy of my forthcoming book.

I believe in the primacy of books because – even if the web gets wiped out tomorrow – they will endure. Publishing is not an easy task, yet I am passionate to do it when I find stories that I want to cherish, that I know people will love, and that deserve to be dignified in our time and for posterity.




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.

“I was born in the East End, but my upwardly-mobile parents moved away to the green fields of Berkshire and then back to the safe suburbs of South London. By the time I drifted back to Whitechapel as a young man in 1970, I found myself in a world I had never imagined.

I encountered bomb sites still rubble-strewn from the war, smashed windows, empty shops, rubbish-scattered streets and many lost, desperate people wandering aimlessly, often clutching a bottle of cheap cider or meths. Then I was broke, unemployed and clueless, and it was scary to imagine a future amidst this dereliction.

I found a room in a damp, rickety slum in Chicksand St and began to explore, soon discovering the Sunday market in Cheshire St where I picked up a warm coat and a blanket for next to nothing. The market was surreal, with people sitting on the kerb hoping to sell a couple of old shoes and a broken razor. Other stalls were stacked with the debris of house clearance – carpets, furniture, pictures, kitchenware and books – whole lives condensed and piled up for sale.

Yet I found the market inspiring. Unregulated and chaotic, the unifying emotion was of hope bubbling through desperation. Even at the very lowest end of poverty, these people thronging the streets had got up early, pulled together a carrier bag of junk and headed off, sustained by the possibility of seeking a few pounds to get them through the next day or two. No matter how badly things had turned out, they were not giving up. It was this hope-filled resilience that buoyed me up and showed me a way forward.”

David Hoffman



Photographs copyright © David Hoffman

3 Responses leave one →
  1. Margaret permalink
    October 9, 2023

    Wonderful photos, thank you

  2. October 9, 2023

    The more I look at the photographs of the wonderful David Hoffman, the more I realise how essentially he has captured the human drama of existence in all its facets. I admire his work!

    Love & Peace

  3. Cherub permalink
    October 10, 2023

    The young boy with a copy of “The New Hotdog Cookbook” – I’m now left scratching my head wondering how many different recipes you can make with a hotdog.

    I did once make a risotto with added sliced hotdogs in the 80s when we were quite financially strapped. Let’s just say it was a one off!

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