Now home to financial heavyweights and epic skyscapers, the Isle of Dogs was once the beating heart of industrial East London. In the early 1980s, Mike Seaborne began documenting the area’s social fabric, taking his camera around the streets and inside remaining working factories and businesses.
These photographs, taken between 1982 and 1987, show the island on the cusp of huge development. We see first sightings of the Docklands Light Railway construction from Tower Gateway to Island Gardens, workers in (now demolished) factories on their tea breaks, children paddling in the Thames.
Seaborne captured the spirit of a close-knit community, one that soon changed forever when the big money moved in.
The Isle of Dogs is a new book, published by Hoxton Mini Press, that will launch at Cafe Vert, George Green’s School, E14 3DW on Thursday 18 October. An exhibition of the work will go on display there from 18-26 October.
Mike Seaborne has been photographing London since 1979. He was Senior Curator of Photographs at the Museum of London until 2011 and now focuses on personal photographic projects.