Posts Tagged ‘Shoreditch’

1987 Shoreditch

Saturday, August 8th, 2020
Great Eastern St, Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3h-63-positive_2400
Great Eastern St/Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987

Almost every picture I took in Shoreditch in 1987 seemed to have a ‘For Sale’ notice on a building in it.

The Mission, Shoreditch High St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3h-54-positive_2400
The Mission, Shoreditch High St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987

Shoreditch is an area just outside the City of London, and it was this position outside of the City’s jurisdiction that led to its being the site of London’s first theatres towards the end of the 16th century. These soon moved to other areas – such as Southwark – but people and trades continued to grow in the area. There was a massive increase in population in the Victorian era, with local industries particularly based on timber and furniture-making and upholstering. There are still many Victorian warehoused in the area, but almost all now put to other uses as the furniture trade lost out to cheaper mass-produced and often imported goods. The de-industrialisation was hastened by the shift under Thatcher away from manufacturing to service industries, and by the time I took these pictures in 1987 many warehouses and workshops were empty.

Andrews Office Equipment, Great Eastern St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3h-42-positive_2400
Andrews Office Equipment, Great Eastern St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987
Shops, Tabernacle St, Old St, Islington, Hackney, 1987 87-3h-24-positive_2400 87-3h-24-positive_2400
Shops, Paul St, Old St, Islington, Hackney, 1987

The fire at Butler’s wharf led to the many artists who had set up studios and often lived in them illegally in disused warehouses being given notice to quit in 1978/9. One of my artist friends being evicted got on his bike and cycled north looking for a suitable new home and got a flat tire on Curtain Rd. He stopped to repair it outside a furniture factory which was closing down and asked a man there if he could have a bowl and water to try and locate the puncture. They talked a little and he was told that the premises were to let – and he had his studio there for the next 20 years or more.

Old St,  Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987
Old St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987

Other artists also found cheap property to use as studios, and their presence kept the area alive and gradually made it a more desirable area. Developers moved in, rents increased and artists were gradually forced out of the area, as new clubs, restuarants and other leisure venues proliferated. From the mid-90s Shoreditch began to be a popular area to go for a night out, and is now one of London’s tourist destinations.

W A Hudson Ltd, Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3g-12-positive_2400
W A Hudson Ltd, Curtain Rd, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987
Old St,  Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3g-43-positive_2400
Old St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987

There are still some artists with studios in the area, but most of its art is now outside on its walls as London’s prime graffiti area. In their place as well as the clubs and food outlets the area has also become home to many high-tech computer based companies, and an epitome of gentrification and hipster culture.

Rivington St,  Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3g-34-positive_2400
Rivington St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987
B Smiler & Sons, Rivington St,  Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987 87-3g-23-positive_2400
B Smiler & Sons, Rivington St, Shoreditch, Hackney, 1987

More from Shoreditch and elsewhere on Page 3 of my 1987 London Photos.


Back to 1986: Page 4

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020
Broadway Bakeries, Brougham Rd, Benjamin Close, Broadway Market, Hackney 86-6m-35_2400
Borough Market

Returning to my London pictures for 1986, and to page 4 of my Flickr album 1986 London Photographs.

The Oval, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets 86-6m-65_2400
The Oval, Bethnal Green

1986 was the year I began to photograph London in depth, and the album reflects this, with 1370 black and white photographs, a fraction of the number I took that year. The hundred on page 4 are from the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets and include pictures from Dalston, Shoreditch, Hackney, Bethnal Green, Wapping, Shadwell, Limehouse, Whitechapel and other parts east of the city. There is just the odd image from elsewhere in London.

War Memorial, Cyprus St, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets86-6o-31_2400
Cyprus St, Bethnal Green

Unlike in some earlier years the routes for my walks around the area were carefully planned, with research from a number of published sources, though information was much less readily available than now before the days of the world wide web. Of course I didn’t always stick to my planned routes, but I did carry a notebook to write down where I actually went and even sometimes some details of what I was photographing.

Hessell St, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets
Hessel St, Whitechapel

One of my major resources was of course maps, both new and old, not just for the streets but also for the other information included on them. Some marked industrial areas in brown, most showed churches and public buildings and some gave names of various features. The invaluable series of reprints of old 1:2500 OS maps was begun by Alan Godfrey in 1983, but few were available in 1986. I now have a very large collection.

Kingsland Basin, Regent's Canal, Hackney 86-7c-26_2400
Kingsland Basin

My aim was to not to walk along every street (as the woman who produced the London A-Z was sometimes said to have done) but at least to look down nearly all of them, and to photograph all buildings of interest as well as other things I found on my journeys. Later when I had bought a scanner I produced enlarged versions of the A-Z pages, printing them on a black and white laser printer and used highlighter pen after I came home to mark where I had walked. These both showed me any areas I had missed and helped me, together with the notebooks, to mark on the contact sheets where the pictures were taken.

Nuttal St, Hackney 86-7c-36_2400
Nuttal St, Hackney

I mostly travelled by train or underground so often several walks started from a particular station, and perhaps along the same streets close to them. There were also some areas that particularly interested me, either for simple visual reasons or because they were obviously changing, to which I returned.

I’ve posted some of the pictures on this page previously on >Re:PHOTO and I’ve tried to find others to put on this post. You can see all of the pictures – 100 on page 4 – on Flickr – where you can view them larger than on here – by clicking on the link or the image below.

Russia Lane, Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets 86-6l-66_2400

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


July 1986 on Flickr

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
Pipe Bridge, Regent’s Canal, Baring St, Islington

I had more time to take pictures in July as my teaching came to an end for the summer vacation around halfway through the month. This meant I could go up to London on some weekdays, though I still had two small boys to look after on days my wife was working. That usually meant staying at home, but sometimes I took them both out with me to London.

Regent’s Canal

I spent some time in Shadwell and Bethnal Green, but also further north in Shoreditch, Hoxton and Dalston, occasionally wandering into Islington. Though I obviously photographed on foot, I had to travel from my home outside London and then around London to the starting point for my walks, and the One Day Capitalcard, valid on all public transport in London after 9.30am made this much simpler after its introduction in June 1986 – the one-day Travelcard launched in 1984 had been for bus and tube only.

The Mission, Holywell Lane, Shoreditch, Hackney

Towards the end of the month I moved my focus to the City of London, even easier for transport then as the Waterloo and City line was still run by British Rail and my ‘London Terminals’ ticket was valid all the way to Bank.

Blackfriars Rail Bridges

When I began photographing London there were two railway bridges across the River Thames at Blackfriars, but all that remained of one of these by 1986 were the pillars that had supported it. And while these were rather a fine set of pillars they were (and remain) a rather curious river feature, presumably left in position simply to save the cost of removing them.

Queenhithe and the River Thames

Queenhithe, a small inlet on the City side of the river has a long history. The Romans built a quay here, and buried deep down in the wet mud some of the timbers they put here survive, as do remains of the dock contructed when Alfred the Great, King of Wessex re-established the City of London aroudn 886 AD. It got the name Queenhithe (a hythe is a small harbour) when Henry I gave the right to levy dues on goods landed there to his wife Matilda around the time of their marriage in 1100. Queenhithe was still a major harbour for the city hundreds of years later and remained in use, with lighters bringing skins for the fur trade which was based a short distance to the north until the Second World War.

Fur shops in Great St Thomas Apostle

Around 300 of the black and white pictures I took in July 1986 are now online:
Peter Marshall: 1986 London Photographs on Flickr.
July’s pictures start here.

The images are copyright but may be shared on non-commercial personal social media. A licence is required for any corporate, commercial or editorial use.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

There are no adverts on this site and it receives no sponsorship, and I like to keep it that way. But it does take a considerable amount of my time and thought, and if you enjoy reading it, please share on social media.
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