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Christmas At The Salvation Army, 1975

December 18, 2023
by the gentle author

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Photographer David Hoffman recently discovered these pictures he took at the Salvation Army Christmas Day lunch in Cambridge Heath Rd in 1975

“On Christmas Day 1975, I was squatting in Fieldgate Mansions in Whitechapel and it was a bit boring because all my friends were away for the holiday. The shops were shut and I was looking for something interesting to do with the day. I had seen that the Salvation Army were holding an open Christmas lunch at Sigsworth Hall in Globe Rd so I rocked up there with my camera and, without any formality, I just started to take photographs.

It was terribly dark. I had no flash and I had to work hard in the darkroom to coax these images from the horribly under-exposed and heavily over-developed film. The prints I made at the time were flat and grey but, now that I have been able to convert them to digital files, they do look a bit better and remind me of a very different era, now lost without trace.” – David Hoffman

Photographs copyright © David Hoffman

You may also like to take a look at

David Hoffman at Fieldgate Mansions

David Hoffman at Smithfield Market

David Hoffman down the Roman Rd

5 Responses leave one →
  1. Mark permalink
    December 18, 2023

    What a fantastic set of photographs, and what a nice story they tell.
    A class act in photography and in hospitality.

    Thanks for posting and all your hard working keeping your blog going.


  2. Linda Granfield permalink
    December 18, 2023

    Last night I watched one of the film versions (1999) of “A Christmas Carol.” These wonderful photos remind me of what the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge but in this instance there’s a more quiet joy than the raucous celebration at Fezziwig’s workplace. (Until that concertina started the toe-tapping?)

    Like the young Ebenezer left behind at school when classmates went home for the holiday, David Hoffman was lonely on Christmas Day. How lucky we are he captured these now-ghosts of Christmas 1975.

    Yes, God Bless Us Everyone.

  3. Saba permalink
    December 18, 2023

    I find it haunting that the people seem to be sitting in silence rather than talking. Some of the faces seem to have seen it all and reflect quiet resignation. God bless ’em. I hope they found some peace in the good meal.

  4. Deborah permalink
    December 18, 2023

    Such poignant photographs and story. Very moving looking at everyone’s faces, clothes, demeanour. Thought provoking. Thank you.

  5. Marcia Howard permalink
    December 18, 2023

    Not so long ago, but sadly a really tough life for many. At least they hopefully got their fill of food that day.

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