From fledgling photographers attempting to capture the flourishing docks and shipyards of the Isle of Dogs, to the work of their contemporary counterparts, London's East End has long provided a source of creative inspiration for those looking to capture the life of the city on film. These evocative images tell the story of the everyday Londoner, and make for a fascinating insight into the history of the city.
The Bishopsgate Institute Special Collections and Archives hold more than half a million such images, with a particular emphasis on street photography in the East End. Ranging from the 1850s onwards, these iconic and unique collections of early photography are a must-see for those looking to understand the social and cultural history of the capital and its people.
The collections were started by the Institute's second librarian, Charles W.F. Goss — a collector of the highest order — and they continue to accept images and collections to this day. You can check out a small sample of imagery from the collection below, some of which have been sourced from the most unusual of places, including a set of 1979 US tourist snaps purchased by the Library on eBay.
Bishopsgate Institute is holding an event on Thursday 14 December where you can discover more photos like these, and learn more about the development of street photography in the East End of London. Led by the Institute's Special Collections and Archives Manager, Stefan Dickers, this fascinating talk also offers the opportunity to enjoy a drink in the gorgeous Victorian Library — and perhaps you'll leave with some inspiration for photography of your very own.
Bishopsgate Institute’s new Spring 2018 season of courses and events are now available to book.