Unseen photos of East End London in glorious colour

A recently discovered photo collection by the late photographer David Granick reveals London’s East End in colour, including streets in Stepney, Whitechapel and Spitalfields.

Brushfield Street, 1970Image copyrightDavid Granick
Image caption Brushfield Street, 1970

Local photographer Chris Dorley-Brown found the pictures when he was invited to review thousands of Granick’s colour slides in early 2017.

The discovery led to the release of the book The East End In Colour, 1960-1980, published by Hoxton Mini Press.

Mile End Road, 1977Image copyrightDavid Granick
Image caption Mile End Road, 1977
Unseen photos of East End London in glorious colour
Unseen photos of East End London in glorious colour

Granick lived in the East End until his death in 1980 at the age of 68.

His photos bring to life a past that was predominantly documented in black and white. The collection was acquired by Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives in the early 1980s.

Spitalfields Market, 1975Image copyrightDavid Granick
Image caption Spitalfields Market, 1975

The Granick collection goes back to the 1950s, including the colour Kodachrome images seen here.

Dorley-Brown worked with other archivists to create a selection of about 200 of Granick’s photos for publication, taking around 10 months.

Dorley-Brown said: “The collection is very comprehensive, I was instantly excited by their sheer quality and beauty, I think this is a very valuable discovery for London’s photographic history.”

Whitechapel Road, 1965Image copyrightDavid Granick
Image caption Whitechapel Road, 1965
Watney Market, 1974Image copyrightDavid Granick
Image caption Watney Market, 1974

The image of the Stifford estate (below) from 1961 is Dorley-Brown’s personal favourite because it “embodies the uncertainty of how the modern tower blocks are going to impact the community from a resident’s perspective.”

Stifford Estate, Stepney Green, 1961Image copyrightDavid Granick
Image caption Stifford Estate, Stepney Green, 1961

Despite never meeting Granick, Dorley-Brown believes that the photographer could see an East End London in flux and was anticipating radical transformations in the visual landscape. He thinks he was determined to preserve “some kind of mysterious aura on film before it disappears.”

“All cities metamorphose over time, surfaces are remade and remapped, buildings are replaced, but somehow an essence of place manages to survive,” said Dorley-Brown.

“I like to think it is attitudes and resilience of the people that preserves traditions and the way places feel.”

Gardiner's Corner, 1963Image copyrightDavid Granick
Image caption Gardiner’s Corner, 1963
West India Docks, 1971Image copyrightDavid Granick
Image caption West India Docks, 1971
Commercial Road, 1969Image copyrightDavid Granick
Image caption Commercial Road, 1969
Belthaven Street, 1977Image copyrightDavid Granick
Image caption Belthaven Street, 1977

Photography by David Granick, courtesy of the Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives where the pictures can be seen until 5 May 2018.

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