C. A. Mathew ~ Photographs of Spitalfields a century ago – Eleven Spitalfields, April 2014

In Crispin St, looking towards the Spitalfields Market ~ C. A. Mathew
In Crispin St, looking towards the Spitalfields Market (C. A. Mathew)

On the morning of Saturday 20th April, 1912, our photographer walked the short distance from Liverpool Street Station into the heart of Spitalfields, taking his camera with him.

What were C. A. Mathew’s motivations on that Saturday morning? Very little is known about him. His photographs were never published.

But boy, aren’t we glad he took that walk?

His 21 photographs of that Saturday in Spitalfields give us so much.

The streets are packed with people, many of them children. All dressed to the nines on the Jewish Sabbath. Many posing for Mathew, others curious. Some carrying on, business as usual.

The wide and the narrow streets of East London. The buildings. The posters describing shows, adverts and news, such as the sinking of the Titanic.

The photographs were taken in a fairly compact area, and after the exhibition, we walked down a few of the streets and compared the London of 1912 to the one of 2014. Some changes of course, but not as many as you’d think.

The exhibition runs until 27 April at Eleven Spitalfields.

 

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