Black and white photographs of life in Hackney before gentrification

© Neil Martinson. All images courtesy of the artist and Hoxton Mini Press

Back in the 1970s and early '80s, photographer Neil Martinson captured the lives of those who lived, worked and played in Hackney, east London.

These black and white photographs of Eastenders are raw and vivid, featuring kids playing in the streets, factories full of workers and old bomb sites yet to be developed.

Wonderfully dated, these images were taken by Martinson while he was still at school. Using just a Zenith-E camera, he takes us on a journey through workshops, street markets and council homes to capture a time and place before technology and gentrification changed local lives forever.

"Hackney was a place to leave, with its crumbling council estates and high unemployment... Yet there was vitality and resilience among local people," said Neil Martinson of his series. "Few people owned their own homes, there were no gated communities and no gastro-pubs. Students, radicals and artists started to move into Hackney. It was an exciting time to be a photographer and activist."

The photographs are now available in a new book, Hackney Archive: Work and Life 1971-1985 by Neil Martinson, published by Hoxton Mini Press on 6 February 2020.

Giorgi's Cafe, Bethnal Green Road, 1971 © Neil Martinson

Giorgi's Cafe, Bethnal Green Road, 1971 © Neil Martinson

© Neil Martinson

© Neil Martinson

Clothing factory, Shacklewell Lane, 1981 © Neil Martinson

Clothing factory, Shacklewell Lane, 1981 © Neil Martinson

The Telsner family, Stamford Hill, 1981 © Neil Martinson

The Telsner family, Stamford Hill, 1981 © Neil Martinson

Ridley Road Market, 1981 © Neil Martinson

Ridley Road Market, 1981 © Neil Martinson

Children playing in the street © Neil Martinson

Children playing in the street © Neil Martinson

Nurses protesting over pay,  Bethnal Green Hospital © Neil Martinson

Nurses protesting over pay, Bethnal Green Hospital © Neil Martinson

A family living at the Nightingale Estate, 1974 © Neil Martinson

A family living at the Nightingale Estate, 1974 © Neil Martinson

Graham Road, 1971 © Neil Martinson

Graham Road, 1971 © Neil Martinson

River Lea, 1971 © Neil Martinson

River Lea, 1971 © Neil Martinson