20 Vintage Photographs Capture the Gritty Reality of Life in London’s East End During the 1960s

Between 1963 and 1969, Steve Lewis, a former photographer for The Sun and the Newham Recorder, captured the East End of London in all its dilapidated glory. As the images graphically illustrate, the pop revolution and the early stirrings of flower power had little discernible impact on the working-class Cockney. East Enders were preoccupied with other concerns: widespread poverty, poor housing, industrial unrest, and racial tension.Many of the locations in which Lewis worked have changed beyond recognition. Tower blocks supplanted swathes of Blitz-scarred terraces; docklands was recast as the capital’s alternative commercial hub. As the old fabric of the East End was consigned to memory, so were many of its traditions. Here is a glimpse of the way it was.

 A publican serves a glass of stout to a donkey


 Two police officers administer a Breathalyser test to a driver on Finden Road in Newham


 A rag-and-bone man on his rounds


 A girl takes her pet sheep for a walk


 A row of Nissen huts in Stratford


 A homeless family in a halfway home


 Three children build themselves a go-cart


 A Percy Dalton’s peanut seller at the dog track


Gypsy families


The last man to live in a Nissen hut built during the war in Stratford


 A milkman on his rounds


Gypsy families on Beckton Marshes


 Two elderly ladies chatting


A little girl pushes her teddy bear past a wheelchair-bound gentleman on Vicarage Lane


Three men playing cards in a pub


The winner of the Miss Newham 1969/70 beauty contest


Pensioners’ card school


Queen’s Road Market in the London borough of Newham


 A boy and a girl playing on a motor scooter parked on an East London street


 Pearly Kings and Queens

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