East London Portfolio: Working People & a Dog

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Some of my favourite people are the shopkeepers and those that do the small trades – who between them have contributed the major part to the identity of the East End over the years. And when I see their old premises redeveloped, I often think in regret, “I wish someone had gone round and taken portraits of these people who once manifested the spirit of the place.” So you can imagine my delight and gratitude to see this splendid set of photos – published here for the first time – and discover that during the sixties photographer John Claridge had the insight to take such pictures, exactly as I had hoped.

Excerpt taken from an interview with gentle author, Spitalfields Life, who first published these photographs.
To read the full interview and see the remaining 14 photographs in this series, Click Here.

Groundsman, E15, 1965, “This is the groundsman at the Memorial Ground
where I played football aged ten in 1954.”

Saveloy Stall, Spitalfields, 1967. “It was a cold day, so I had two hot dogs.”

Rag & Bone Man, E13, 1961.
“Down my street in Plaistow, there were not many cars about
– all you could hear was the clip-clop of the horse on the wet road.”

Junkyard Dog, E16, 1982.
“I was climbing over the wall into this junkyard. All was quiet, when I noticed
this pair of forbidding eyes – then I made my exit.”

Anglo Pak Muslim Butcher, E2, 1962.

Strudel, E2, 1962.
“‘You’ll like this, boy!’ I had just taken a photograph outside this lady’s shop.
I said, ‘I think your window looks beautiful.’ and she asked me in for a slice of apple
strudel. It was fantastic! But she would not accept any money, it was a gift.
She said, ‘You took a picture of my shop.’”

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