A Sort of Home – David Hoffman

Finally today I managed to get to see David Hoffman’s show A Sort of Home: 1970s Whitechapel at Gallery 46 in Whitehchapel. I’d been very disappointed to have to miss the opening because of a nasty stomach upset last month, and finding a time to get out to Whitechapel was a problem as I’ve been rather busy and also away from London for some time. But today I got on a 25 bus and made the rather slow journey there, and it was well worth the trouble.

If you haven’t already seen the show you haven’t got long as it is only on until August 15th, which is next Wednesday. According to the web site the gallery is open 12 – 6pm, but hidden on the contact page is the information that it is closed Sunday and Monday, so that means your only chance is now Tuesday or Wednesday. Also rather discretely it is only on the contact page that it discloses that the gallery is at 46 Ashfield St, E1 2AJ – which is tucked away behind the Royal London Hospital. You walk south down Turner St, which seems to be a part of the hospital site, almost directly opposite the new Whitechapel Station Entrance, and Ashfield St is a couple of hundred yards down on the left.

Plenty of people had found it when I was there earlier today – one of the best attended small galleries I’ve been in for a long time. As well as the prints on the wall there is also a short audiovisual presentation, which I think displays the pictures rather better. For my taste some of the prints on the wall are a little dark and lacking in contrast and don’t do the great images any favours.

If you can’t make it you can see some of the work on the Gallery 46 web site, where 10 of his prints are for sale. But for a greater selection go to his own web site, particularly the ‘Fieldgate 20’ page.

As a small bonus for visiting Gallery 46, you also walk past one of the better 1930s block of flats in East London, which I photographed rather better in black and white some time in the 1980s for an (as yet) unpublished book with the provisional title ‘London Moderne‘. Gwynne House, architect Hume Victor Kerr, a block of 20 modern flats for ‘students, social workers and professional people in east London’ was completed in 1938. For some years it was owned by the hospital for its staff, but they sold it in 2011 to a company that modernised its interior and gave it portholes on the doors. Go a little further south along Turner St to 9-17, and you come to another of Kerr’s buildings, Comfort House, built in 1932 as a factory and showroom for gown manufacturer M Levy.

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