On the morning of Saturday 20 April 1912, CA Mathew wandered the streets of Spitalfields taking photographs. No one knows much about him, or whether he had any special purpose for his street photography, but the restored fruits of his stroll are about to go on show.
The photographs were rediscovered a few years back in the Bishopsgate Institute’s library by Spitalfields Life’s The Gentle Author. His contributing photographer Jeremy Freedman has now restored the images, which will go on display at Eleven Spitalfields Gallery.
The shots are almost unique for the time, showing the denizens of Spitalfields going about their business, totally unposed and presumably unplanned. Mathew had only began taking photos a year before, and he died just a decade later. Today, he’s buried in an unmarked grave in Wood Green. This set of photos is his small but fascinating legacy.
Photographs of Spitalfields a Century Ago, Eleven Spitalfields Gallery, 11 Princelet Street, E1 6QH, 7 March-25 April. Entrance is free. By appointment only Mon-Fri, open all day Sat, Sun.