The East End life we left behind

The East End life we left behind

David Granick’s intimate portrait of London, which lay hidden for nearly 40 years, shows a working class area transformed  

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

  • West India Dock, now Canary Wharf, 1971
    West India Dock, now Canary Wharf, 1971
  • Whitechapel Road, 1965
    Whitechapel Road, 1965
  • Poverty in Spitalfields Market, 1973
    Poverty in Spitalfields Market, 1973
  • Bellhaven Street, 1977
    Bellhaven Street, 1977

They laid untouched for nearly 40 years, but now a fascinating archive of 2,000 photographs capturing the post-war streets of the East End have been published for the first time.

Photographer David Granick, who lived in Stepney his entire life, meticulously documented the changing landscape of his neighbourhood between 1960 and 1980 and left the collection to Tower Hamlets Local History and Archives after his death.

It was only last year that Granick’s work resurfaced when documentary photographer Chris Dorley-Brown embarked on a search to find colour images of the East End in the aftermath of the Second World War and became aware of a large collection of Kodachrome slides that had never been digitised.

In his introduction to The East End In Colour, 1960-1980, Dorley-Brown writes he was “beyond excited” when he came across the collection of slides, which show how this traditionally working-class area was transformed immensely by developers over two decades.

The East End in Colour 1960-1980 by David Granick

“The war has been over for 30 years, but in places the trauma looks recent, infusing the mood of this tired landscape which bore the brunt of Luftwaffe blitzkrieg, with a melancholic determination to remain in the past,” writes Dorley-Brown.

“Shops, cafés and workshops bear the names of their owners and founders, hundreds of years of tradition still hanging on – just.”

  •  The East End in Colour 1960-1980 by David Granick is published by Hoxton Mini Press, priced £16.95 and available from
  • The book coincides with an exhibition running until 5 May at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, Bancroft Road, London.
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