It was an east London of cigarette smoking, hardcore perms, laundrettes and mac wearing wheeler-dealers.
This was the world captured in black and white during the 1970s and 80s, by Paul Trevor.
Over 40 years on, Paul has released a book, Once Upon a Time in Brick Lane.
But the photos aren't just being appreciated now: as early as 1976, the photographer was exhibiting his photos in local laundrettes — and the people liked what they saw, recognising characters like them, or perhaps even themselves.
Subjects in Paul's photo essays sometimes look careworn — quite possibly older than their years; it's certainly a very different Brick Lane to the bright and brash playground we know now.
As Alan Gilbey writes in the book's afterword:
This was a time when the entire East End was in monochrome. The Blitz had blitzed. The largest docks in the world had been declared redundant. Terraced houses were being bulldozed for Brutalist flats. Streets were turning corrugated iron grey.
But is it us, or do some of these faces — the children in particular — appear more in tune with their immediate surroundings?
Street food was all the rage back then too:
Once Upon a Time in Brick Lane by Paul Trevor, published by Hoxton Mini Press.