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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.

BFI National Archive: ‘Just One Kid’ (1974)
Thursday 12 April, 6:30 - 7:45pm
Film screening: A highlight of the BFI’s Jewish Britain on Film project, this moving drama-documentary follows Jewish tailor-turned-actor Alfred Maron, once a resident of London’s East End, as he reminisces about his childhood in the 1930s and the rapidly changing neighbourhood. Presented by BFI curator Simon McCallum.

Images of the East End
Thursday 26 April, 6:30 – 7:45pm
Talk: There are over 40,000 photographs in our collections. Tower Hamlets Borough Archivist Malcolm Barr-Hamilton will explain the background to and scope of the collection in this profusely illustrated talk.

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.

‘The Boss of Bethnal Green’ with Julian Woodford
Thursday 31 May, 6:00 – 7:30pm
Author Julian Woodford reveals all about 'The Boss of Bethnal Green' - Joseph Merceron, the corrupt Huguenot magistrate who ruled the East End for half a century from 1790 to 1840, lining his own pockets while creating the conditions that led to Victorian London's worst slums. Julian conducted much of his research at THLHA, and his talk will include practical examples of how he used the archives to uncover Merceron's story.
Julian Woodford has lived in London since the early 1980s and combines a City career with a passion for London's history. Follow him at and
'The Boss of Bethnal Green' is his first book.


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