A SORT OF HOME: 1970s Whitechapel

18 Jul 2018 – 15 Aug 2018

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Gallery 46

England, United Kingdom


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David Hoffman, a London-based documentary photographer, will showcase two series of photographs taken in London’s East End in the 1970s.


One series of images will feature St Botolph’s Crypt wet shelter (a homeless shelter that previously provided non-judgement, food, warmth and medical support to vulnerable groups in the 1970s) and the other will feature Fieldgate Mansion (a row of Victorian mansions once occupied by squatters in the mid-1970s) – both of which are within the locale of Gallery 46. Hoffman’s raw, real life photographic style brings to light the scenes that are often forgotten today; documenting the East End in the 1970s showing it as a dark, yet culturally and socially diverse neighbourhood. The St Botolph’s Crypt wet shelter is part of a Church of England parish church in the City of London. The church was under the management of Reverend Malcolm Johnson and the crypt supported vulnerable groups of people until Johnson retired in 1992 forcing the crypt to close. Fieldgate Mansion, a row of Victorian mansions which still stands today, was occupied by squatters in the mid-1970s to prevent its demolition. The first people to occupy the flats were artists, mechanics, jewellers and writers, architects, escorts, dealers and photographers, including Hoffman himself. With almost 200 empty vacant and the Bengali community beginning to establish itself in the East End, Fieldgate became a safe, welcoming multicultural and secular neighbourhood. As so many times before, a new population took root as the original squatters moved on.

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David Hoffman

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