The old East End revealed

By Simon Round, September 20, 2012
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C A Mathew’s image of Artillery Lane in Spitalfields. One theory is that he took his photos of the area while killing time waiting for a delayed train

C A Mathew’s image of Artillery Lane in Spitalfields. One theory is that he took his photos of the area while killing time waiting for a delayed train

Just over 100 years ago, a man called C A Mathew wandered out of Liverpool Street Station to take some revealing and poignant photographs of Jewish Spitalfields. The pictures were lost for nearly a century but turned up last year at Bishopsgate Institute in the City. Now they are going on display at Sandys Road Synagogue.

The photos, taken in April 1912, show the inhabitants of this area of the East End in informal poses. Little is known about Mathew, who had taken up photography only the year before and died four years later in 1916.
Jeremy Freedman, of Sandys Row, says the photos show “unseen faces — once the very heart of our community”. He adds: “The Jewish population of the East End left for greener pastures — these are the very streets they left.

‘C A Mathew – Photographs of Spitalfields a Century Ago’ opens at Sandys Row Synagogue, in collaboration with the London Jewish Cultural Centre, Bishopsgate Institute and Spitalfields Life, on September 23 as part of Open House London. Details at www.sandysrow.org.uk

Last updated: 12:05pm, September 20 2012