Janet Brooke’s screen prints of east end shop fronts is currently on display at the Museum of London till 7th July 2017.
She says “I moved to Bow in the mid-seventies after a stint of squatting in Whitechapel and Leytonstone. I was teaching printmaking at East Ham Technical College, which became Newham Community College and then Newham College of Education before closing the Art Department in 2006. Yet, thankfully, I did manage to buy their beautiful Imperial Press made in Curtain Rd in 1832 that I used to print my linocuts. While I was teaching, I also made my own prints and in 1980, armed with a new camera, I started taking photographs and decided to use the results as inspiration for my work. So I started with a set of screenprints of the shops in Ropery St, where I lived and which I used every day.’
Cafe, Roman Road, London
BILLY’S SNACK BAR was on the corner of Pritchards Rd and Emma St. “It stayed the same for years and, of all the shops I have made prints of, is still there with the same name but different signage.”
MICK’S GENT’S LONG HAIR STYLIST was on the next block along Hamlets Way, on the corner of Mossford St. Brooke says “I remember taking my son there as a small boy, he sat on a plank balanced across the arms of the barber’s chair and always chose one of the Italian styles pictured on the wall, maybe a Tony Curtis. He looked stylish afterwards but his hair soon reverted to its more usual Dennis the Menace look. Mick’s is still a barber’s shop.”
THE DIVE The Crystal Tavern was on the other side of Hamlets Way on the corner of Burdett Rd. The sign was worn away, so it was more often referred to as ‘the dive’.
A selection of Janet Brooke’s prints are on display at the Museum of London til 7th July 2017.