Twitter logo Facebook logo Flickr logo

Tel: 0333 370 4700

Enrol: 0207 364 5665

What's On

David Granick: The East End in colour, 1960-1980
Saturday 3 February – Saturday 5 May
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
We are delighted to announce a new exhibition of previously unseen photographs by David Granick which depict Stepney, Mile End, Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Limehouse and the Thames riverside in the warm hues of Kodachrome film. In the decades following the end of the Second World War, the East End was a place usually captured in black and white, so these photographs present a rare chance to see views of these neighbourhoods in the 1960s and 1970s - some still familiar, many since vanished - in colour for the first time.

David Granick was born in 1912 and lived his whole life in Stepney. A Jew, a keen photographer and a long-serving member of the East London History Society, he gave lectures on various local history themes illustrated with colour slides taken by himself or his fellow members of the Stepney Camera Club. Bequeathed to Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives after his death in 1980, where they have been preserved ever since, these photographs show the East End on the cusp of social change.

These amazing photographs are now to be exhibited for the first time at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives, from Saturday 3 February to Saturday 5 May. To coincide, selections from the David Granick collection are also to be published in a beautiful hardback book, The East End In Colour, 1960-1980, by Hoxton Mini Press. This book can be purchased directly from us at the discounted price of £15 during the exhibition.

The book and exhibition have been curated by local photographer Chris Dorley-Brown. A few years ago, volunteers began gradually to scan the slide collections we hold, and a few were posted on our social media. Chris, a collaborator of ours on a number of recent projects, immediately recognised the special quality of those taken by David Granick and volunteered to digitise them all himself in a higher quality, removing any dust and scratches.

For this exhibition, our staff have worked with Chris to present the images as Granick originally showed them during his lifetime – using a carousel slide projector. Visitors are invited to take a seat in a darkened area in the centre of our exhibition space and watch eighty of Granick’s slides appear on screen in rotation. In addition to this, copies more than 200 images will be hung on the walls of the exhibition hall with a blank space beneath ready for you to add your memories of the people or buildings pictured.

The exhibition is free of charge. The first few events we have scheduled to tie in with this exhibition are listed here. Please keep an eye on our social media, website and future issues of this newsletter for more events to be added in March and April.

Ethnic Chinese-British Subjects in the British Armed Forces 1857-1919
Thursday 29 March, 6:00 – 7:00pm
Join author Alastair Kennedy for this talk linked to the new landing exhibition from Ming-Ai (London) Institute. The part played by ethnic Chinese men in support of the Allied Forces in World War One is a complex one. Many non-British ethnic Chinese were recruited in China and moved to Europe to serve in the British and French Labour Corps. Many ethnic Chinese men, British by accident of birth in a British territory, served in locally recruited British units both overseas and in Europe. But it seems that very few British born and domiciled Chinese enlisted in UK-based units – with the exception of the Royal Navy and Mercantile Marine – served in World War One.
Book your FREE tickets

Book launch: "Whitechapel Boy"
Chris Searle and Ron McCormick present their new book on Isaac Rosenberg

Thursday 5 April, 6:15 – 7:45pm
April 2018 is the centenary of the death of the East London poet, Isaac Rosenberg, born in 1890 to a working class family of Yiddish-speaking immigrant Lithuanian Jews. His death in the French trenches during the final weeks of ‘the war to end all wars’ which took ‘the half used life’ of millions - all Rosenberg’s ‘brothers dear’ - left English poetry with some of its most brilliant and moving poems of human conflict and aspiration.
In this tribute to his poetry, Chris Searle seeks to consider Rosenberg’s words as a narrative of his times, his world and his unique imaginative outreach. Searle’s account is followed by a photographic essay by the English photographer Ron McCormick, who lived and worked in Rosenberg’s streets and documented the passing of the ‘Old Jewish’ Whitechapel during the early 1970s, portraying the street scenes and atmosphere that would have been familiar to the ‘Whitechapel Boys’.
Celebration Event
Remembering Philip Morgan SPiRiT (1965-2017) and his contribution to African and Caribbean history in Tower Hamlets

Saturday 5 May, 12 noon – 4:00pm
This event is organised by some of Philip Morgan's friends and supported by his family. Come and join us in remembering a Brother, friend, mentor and community activist. Learn of his work with mental health survivor groups and in particular the ‘Health through History’ initiative which was designed to heal African and Caribbean people experiencing mental health challenges in the borough of Tower Hamlets.
Be part of the Power Writers experience – an exhibition of five African writers who had connections with the area in the 18th century and launches today at Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives where it will be on for the month of May. Listen to tributes and contribute to an afternoon of fun, education and reflection. This event is free, no booking required, browse the stalls and the displays. We will be giving everyone who attends a copy of the 2nd edition of The Power Writers book published by Hansib Publications.


East End History Club
Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives
Are you interested in the history of London’s East End? If so, come along to one of our FREE drop-in sessions. You’ll have the chance to browse through old photographs, maps, newspapers and archival documents relating to a range of popular subjects, such as housing, health, immigration, work, school, leisure and much more! These sessions are ideal for those who are curious about local history and want to find out more. There’s no need to book, just drop in. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided. Suitable for adults and children (11+).

Upcoming dates:

Saturday 19 May 2018, 2:00 - 4:00pm
Saturday 21 July 2018, 2:00 - 4:00pm

Online exhibition
We are pleased to report that a new online exhibition is now available. From Town Hall to Local History Library & Archives: a short history of our service and premises, 1861-2015 is based on research undertaken for last year's 50th anniversary celebrations of the borough.

If you've ever wondered about the history of our Grade 2 listed building here on Bancroft Road, these web pages will reveal all.

Local History Library & Archive Newsletter