A few weeks ago, I posted an image of a book, Spitalfields Life, that I’d seen in the window of a house I saw when I was exploring the Brick Lane area of London. A few people asked me about it, and I have been remiss in answering the questions.
However, I must confess that I am not the one who did the detective work. It was my charming blog friend, Yonks in Cardiff. She filled me in on the story of Spitalfields Life and then I followed up.
“In the midst of life I woke to find myself living in an old house beside Brick Lane in the East End of London.” Thus begins the tale of the Gentle Author. His ambition is to write 10,000 stories of Spitalfields Life. This will take him approximately 27 years and 4 months. He’s not just putting in a few images and several paragraphs like I write, but long, involved interviews and stories. His pieces top out at more than 2,000 words!
The areas of London about which the Gentle Author’s writing are filled with old East Enders, new immigrants, Pearly Kings and Queens, who are born within the sound of the Bow Bells, which makes them official Cockneys.
Each story that the Gentle Author tells is one of either a disappearing way of life in East London, Brick Lane, Petticoat Lane, Spitalfields Market, many displaced by the 2012 Olympics, or dying of old age, or else a person or business that makes London the unique and special place that it is. The writing is just beautiful and the photographs, taken by a range of photographers are marvelous and evocative. I am pretty sure that the book will be winging its way to me shortly. I only wish I’d picked up a copy when I was there, but I missed the book signing and launch because I was in Wales.
Read Spitalfields Life here.