New exhibition captures the East End
Iconic images of the East End capturing everyday
life by Radio 4 broadcaster Alan Dein will be on display at Tower
Hamlets Local History Library & Archives.
Alan’s photographs of shopfronts were taken in
1988 when many Tower Hamlets streets were on the verge of
Alan, an oral historian
and broadcaster, lived in Stepney at the
time and decided to capture the diminishing,
decaying shops on film, many of them relics of the area’s
once flourishing Jewish community.
Selections from this fascinating photographic
collection entitled After You've Gone: East End Shopfronts, 1988
will be exhibited from Thursday 17 May – Thursday 12 July at the
Local History Library & Archives in Bancroft Road.
The images will be displayed alongside archive
material and contemporary images of the buildings today.
Alan said: “Before I discovered the microphone and began
recording people’s stories in sound, I enjoyed taking photographs
to document the still-surviving relics from the past. Old signs and
street furniture, scribbled graffiti and decaying bill posters,
ordinary people at dying trades, and my great favourites - old
In 1988 these ex-shops didn’t have long left. Long after the
interiors had turned to dust, what you see are pretty much their
last appearances on earth.”
The 250 photographs taken by Alan during this
period have been digitised over the last year and added to the
history library’s collections.
This project has been curated by researcher
Emma Hunt, drawing on the borough’s extensive archives and the
knowledge and support of library staff.
Paintings, deeds, press cuttings and other
sources revealing aspects of the featured shops’ past lives have
been selected for display, alongside new images of the sites today
taken by photographer Ais Clafferty.
Tamsin Bookey, Heritage Manager at Tower
Hamlets Council said: “This collection is an intriguing resource,
serving as a record of the changing landscape of Tower Hamlets and
the Jewish East End.
It is also simply a beautiful collection of
images, ripe for multiple interpretations. We are very pleased to
be hosting this exhibition which is a great testament to the hard
work and creativity of volunteers bringing Alan’s wonderful, unseen
images to the wider public.”
The exhibition launches on Thursday 17 May,
with a talk from Alan on Saturday 9 June at 2.30pm. A special free
booklet is being produced to accompany the exhibition.
Members of the press and public are
invited to attend the exhibition launch on Thursday 17 May, from 6
- 8pm. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to
book your place.
May 10, 2012