Being a kid of the East End of London, in the dock area, I was not exactly spoilt for beautiful landscapes and cleanliness. There had been a five year war raging from 1939-1945 and scars were left everywhere. Not only on the surroundings but also on the people, although vagrants can be found in every country. They tend to collect together on waste land or dark streets.
This photo was taken in Spitalfields market in London, on a visit I made in 1989, 30 years ago (I was once 42 years old?). No. 2 son on the right of me and my No. 1 son on the extreme right. Why Spitalfields? It no longer exists. It was an early morning fruit and vegetable market, beginning at 5 in the morning and ending and as I arrived at my grammar school (high school) around 900.am. My school was on the right of the picture, now removed to be replaced by a new Sptalfields market area modernised with shops and market place, naturally cleaned and swept for the tourist arrivals daily.
During the day he area was left to the feral animals to enjoy the left overs, mainly cats and dogs and perhaps a few rats, although we never saw them. We were dressed in our neat uniforms enclosed in the walls of the school playground, but there were also the human vagrants.
There was a small park nearby, if you could call it a park: a stretch of grass littered with empty bottles and other trash and there were the vagrants: the drinkers of the methylated spirits because they had no money for anything better. During the day the park would be littered with their bodies, sleeping away the nocturnal drinking sessions. Mum and dad said to avoid those places, but it was part of my growing up impressions. Every civilisation has their things they like to hide I suppose and this would have been one of them. In the evenings they would huddle around a self made fire, disposing of the daily street trash (recycling?) somewhere in the park and drink their bottles empty, left on the grass afterwards. One of the parts of London that the tourists did not see. Today these places no longer exist, but they have their history. It was also the area where the London Jack The Ripper, killed his prostitutes, some of them also being victims of the meths.
And the family Angloswiss pose in the middle of this part of London, known to few as it was. I visited the school from 1959-1964, the last days of Spitalfields market.