Old & New of Ever Changing London

Over the weekend I had a meander around Liverpool Street Station & Petticoat lane to play with some black and white photography. The aim was to play with black and white shadowing, the contrast between old and new builds and to just explore an area I work in everyday but never really get to see. On the weekends this area around Liverpool Street is sparsely populated and you can actually bring see the builds over the centuries.

I loved the contrast between the newly built glass buildings and the centuries old churches and buildings which have stood the test of time. I wonder which will still be standing in a 100yrs time.

I loved the patterns on these two buildings and will probably go back to photograph the Gerkin in more detail as it’s such an interesting building.

Turning a corner and walking up Middlesex Street the theme quickly changes from business financial district within the famous square mile to a more boutique and artisan area. Along the way there are little interesting shops and pubs with people sitting on the street enjoying the rarely seen sunshine.

I aimed to photographed some interesting doorways which had clearly been around a long time which were again mixed in with the new fashionable buildings. I found street photography very difficult, getting a sharp image in limited light of someone interesting whilst they were in frame without them spotting me. This needed more luck than technical skill.

Exploring onward there was a real downscale in affluence as you turned a corner, with a severe contrast between the council estate properties and posh sky rises. Family life carries on here in the shadow of the sky high glass corporate buildings but as one sign showed, it was under threat of demolition…no doubt to make way for more corporate buildings. A sad but constant reminder of our ever changing city.

Petticoat lane, the famous market, which since 1608 has been known for its second-hand clothes and bri-a-brac still hasn’t changed much in what is for sale. The second hand clothes sold also included petticoats (or bloomers) which some think is where the name originated from.

The area was badly affected by the Black Plague in 1665 but was repopulated afterwards with the help of the master weavers settling in the nearby newly made town of Spitelfields in the 17th Century and newly established clothing manufacturers in the 18th. This is a highly built up area, with buildings incredibly close together, which is a far cry from the open fields where cloth from the manufacturers was pegged out to dry.

Around 1882, many Jewish immigrants fleeing persecution in eastern Europe settled in the area. The chapels, which had previously served the Huguenot (French Protestants) community, were made into synagogues. Many Jewish relief societies were founded to aid the poor. One still standing, as you can see below, a picture of a soup kitchen from 1902. The Jews also entered the local garment industry and maintained the traditions of the market. Today this area is very derelict but still serves as a market for second-hand or bargain clothes and seems to be predominately run by Asians with a few African shops. There is plenty of interesting graffiti as well, adding to the flair and colour of the area.

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