The Delightful Doors Of Whitechapel

By M@ Last edited 49 months ago
The Delightful Doors Of Whitechapel
Whitechapel Gallery doors
The familiar, putti-guarded doors of the Whitechapel Gallery

What can you learn about an area from its doors? An awful lot if that area is Whitechapel and your guides are Louis Berk and Rachel Kolsky.

The pair's book, simply called Whitechapel Doors, explores the history of the area through the medium of the threshold.

38 Newark Street with its funky brackets

Berk explains where this unusual concept came from. "The idea for Whitechapel Doors came to me a few years ago while perusing the 20,000+ photographs I have taken of Whitechapel and Spitalfields. I realised I had subconsciously been taking portraits of the many wonderful and historic doorways to buildings. An idea formed in my mind to create a history of Whitechapel just using photography of the doors."

Soup kitchen for the Jewish Poor on Brune Street, Spitalfields

That idea expanded beyond 'just photography' to include written context by Kolsky, a Blue Badge guide whose recent book Women's London is among the best guides to the capital we've ever read.

Whitechapel Doors by Louis Berk and Rachel Kolsky is out now from Mango Books. Buy from one of London's independent book shops. All photos by Louis Berk (but captions are our own wording).

The sober door of 2 Wilkes Street, Spitalfields
Hanbury Street. The pediment suggests this is either a former Greater London Council property, or else the home address of Seinfeld's George Louis Costanza. Probably the former, if we're being honest.
The iconic portal to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, now sadly closed
Clothes hanging up round a vermiculated door arch, Whitechapel
Nelson Street Synagogue shows the construction year alongside the Year After Creation, according to the Hebrew calendar
111 Mile End Road. Note the lamp stand to the right of the steps
The Jamme Masjid on Brick Lane displays an abundance of shoes. This much-celebrated building has previously been a place of worship for both Christians and Jews.

Last Updated 13 May 2019