| 2018 | Exhibition

The Photo-Diaries of Mick Williamson

An exhibition of Mick Williamson's work.

This exhibition is a celebration of the professional and personal photographic practice of Mick Williamson, who has just left The Cass having worked there for 46 years.

Read more The Cass news archive.



 | 2018 | Exhibition

The Brady Clubs: An East End Community

In 2016 we were offered about 800 photographs, apparently concerning an old east End club called Brady, that had recently been rediscovered in an attic by Hannah Collins, a former editor of the Times. Her friend, the photography curator, Zelda Cheatle suggested that they would be suitable material for The East End Archive at The Cass. So in 2017 we held an exhibition entitled, Nostalgia is Not Enough, which led us to meeting several ex-Bradians and to subsequently working with them to archive the club photographs and memorabilia. This year, with the recent exhibition (opened by Beattie Orwell, an 102 year-old East Ender) more than 200 ex-Bradians attended, many offering new material for the archive.

The Brady Club for Working Lads was founded in 1896 by philanthropists, Lady Charlotte Rothschild, Mrs Arthur Franklin and Mrs N S Joseph to assist the many Jewish immigrants from Germany and eastern Europe who were fleeing the pogroms and persecution. The club (located in Brady Street and later Durward Street, London E1) originally provided underprivileged boys from the East End with recreational and educational opportunities as well as the chance to go on holiday to a summer camp. The Girls' Club was founded in 1921 by the social reformer and first woman Mayor of Stepney, Miriam Moses. Located in Hanbury Street, it was later joined by the Boys’ Club, where it remained until the building was sold to Tower Hamlets Council and the club moved out in 1979. The building is now used by The Brady Arts and Community Centre E1 5HU.

Read more The Cass news archive.



 | 2017 | Exhibition

Nostalgia is Not Enough

When the Brady Club launched their 70th anniversary fundraiser in 1966, entitled Nostalgia is not Enough, the meaning and intention of these words is a call to the reader to steadfastly embrace the future, as the publicity states: “It’s easy to look back and remember the pleasant things. It’s easy to see the achievement. It’s easy to rest on one’s laurels. To be a little complacent. But perhaps our biggest test lies in the future.”

The concept of nostalgia is of course both subtler and more complex than the one suggested above, reaching beyond the function of memory, often signifiying a “sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.” Indeed, nostalgia has been associated with melancholia and pathological dysfunction, where the individual becomes submerged in longing for the past that extends beyond fond memories and associations. In fact, in the nineteenth century nostalgia had warranted status as its own medical condition. Certainly, extreme longing for the past impedes forward thinking and skews historic accuracy, but most of us have, to a certain extent, a “nostalgia tendency”. Perhaps the reason for this tendency is the permanency and certainty that the past offers in an uncertain world and with photographs in particular, little pieces of certainty regarding a precise moment in history are framed and fixed in silver gelatin for us to hold. The photographs on display here may indeed make us nostalgic, because they are reminders of a different, apparently confident world, where the narrative is enduring and clear. However, nostalgia is not enough and we should not get too absorbed in this lost territory because, despite whatever adventures there have been, despite the smiling faces, we are called upon to scrutinise these photographs with a cooler eye, to complete the picture invisible in the frame, to fill in the gaps, to remember the draughty tents, the basic food, the inadequate clothing and testing times.

The Brady Girls' Club is the focus of the exhibition, Nostalgia is not Enough, for Women's History Month 2017. The photographs date from the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s but few in the collection were labeled and the viewer is required to guess dates, judged on photographic technology and clothing styles. However, a few photographs do have the dates penciled on the back, such as the visit in 1960 of The Duke of Edinburgh; the visit by the 1966 home secretary, Roy Jenkins; and the six square colour photographs from camp, top row 1958 and bottom row 1968, changes marked by shifts in colour.

The exhibition has been thoughtfully curated by BA Photography students Matt Cotsell and Elisabetta de Guio with the assistance of Louis Hull, Laila Halilova and Zsofia Varga. The team addressed what they found in the collection and made groupings, loosely speaking from camp, outings, am-drams, clubs and events, focusing on history and photographic sensibilities. They responded to the original material in a variety of ways, by selecting a range of original material, by selecting images for large scale digital production and by producing four short moving/still screen presentations. The result is a warm and thought-provoking selection, which reflects the changing times both then and now.

Susan Andrews, East End Archive Co-ordinator


Nostalgia Is Not Enough
Images from the Brady Club Archive

8 March-21 April 2017

Private View
9 March 2017 17:30pm-20:00pm

Foyer Gallery
59-63 Whitechapel High Street E1 7PF


 | 2013 | Exhibition

Archive: Imagining The East End

Archive: Imagining The East End will run at Hoxton Hall from 14th to 30th November. The exhibition will open with a Private View on Wednesday 13th November, where artists and writers involved in the project will give talks in the Music Hall.

The exhibition coincides with the launch of the forthcoming book Archive: Imagining the East End, by Susan Andrews and Nick Haeffner, edited by Zelda Cheatle and published by Black Dog. The book features photographs by Tom Hunter, Don McCullin, Joy Gregory, Steven Berkoff, Jo Spence, Mick Williamson, Susan Andrews, Brian Griffin, David George, Spencer Rowell, John Claridge, Ian Farrant, the London Building Exploratory, Nick Haeffner, Rod Morris and Heather McDonough. The book also contains an interview with Tom Hunter and an essay by artist and writer David Howells. Some of the research for the book was carried out at the Hoxton Hall archive.

The Cass East End Archive is an online digital photographic resource focusing on the geographical and imagined East End of London. The book Archive: Imagining the East End contains images from the archive alongside critical essays which look at the role of the imagination in picturing the East End and which provide introductions to the work of each photographer.

For more information about the Archive please contact Susan Andrews at


 | 2013 | Exhibition

Panorama East

Building Exploratory

An exhibition exploring 6 kilometres of East London.

Introducing a unique panorama of 600 buildings from Aldgate to Bow enriched by Susan Andrew’s images of life along the street.

This exhibition, at CASS school of Art’s Commercial Road Gallery, will introduce the Building Exploratory’s photographic panorama of 600 buildings along both sides of Whitechapel High Street, Mile End Road and Bow Road. The exhibition will feature high quality photographs of the panorama’s main terraces, significant buildings and public spaces. The high street is brought to life in the work of CASS Senior Lecturer Sue Andrews. Sue’s photographs of the High Street route from her car as she travelled to work provide an insight into the great diversity of people and buildings occupying this public space.

Further exhibition: Panorama High Street East

The Panorama can be viewed in full at:



 | 2012 | Exhibition

East End Photographs by Steven Berkoff

The Cass Gallery is delighted to present the exhibition of East End Photographs by Steven Berkoff to coincide with the launch of The East End Archive at the Cass and the publication of the book East End Photographs by Steven Berkoff published by Dewi Lewis.

1st - 29th November 2012
Cass Gallery, Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design. Central House, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street , London E1 7PF (Aldgate East Tube)

PV 1st November 6pm – 8pm
Book Signing 12th November 5.30-7.30
Opening Times. Wednesday – Friday 11am-7pm / Saturday 11am – 5pm

Born in Stepney, director, actor and playwright Steven Berkoff was given his first camera by “an enlightened cousin” as an 11 year old boy. Ten years later his brother-in-law bought him an enlarger and showed him how to print his own pictures.

“Then one day somebody sold me a second-hand Rolleiflex and now I had an amazing machine. From then on I never stopped taking pictures. The camera became a way of communicating my feelings about sights and people. And I started to record the people who were part of my environment in the East End of London. The camera in many ways preceded the pen. The East End markets were always my playground and I liked nothing more than my weekly trip to Petticoat Lane. The East End was changing rapidly and I felt I had to record it before it vanished forever - at the time however I did not realise quite how fast it would disappear. The area was largely Jewish and this made it fascinating, since the early immigrants came with an amazing potpourri of cultures from a score of different peoples. For a while I lived in Anthony Street, off Commercial Road and just around the corner from the extraordinary Hessel Street, a bustling thoroughfare that could have been torn out of the Warsaw ghetto. It was a dense artery of Jewish life with chicken slaughterers, bagel sellers and delis selling that wonderful variety of Jewish food so adored by its passionate noshers. I’d go shopping with ma and be astounded by the clamour and the noise; the shouts of introduction from bagel sellers every few yards sitting with their huge sacks of Moorish circles of dough. I was fortunate enough to capture some images of that life before it faded away along with the people who made it so memorable.”

“Berkoff has left us with a unique historic portrait of the East End area from the 60’s and 70’s. Images of the people, the shops and streets that we would have encountered daily, of a changing East End, that would not have been recorded so gently without Berkoff’s insightful eye”. Susan Andrews

Exhibition runs during Photo Month
Please call Lucy Bell on 01424 434828 or 07979 407629 for more information or images.



 | 2012 | Exhibition

Up and down 

Whitechapel High Street - 

photographs from the car

Susan Andrews photographed street activity along Whitechapel Road out of her car window. In 1964 Donald Appleyard in The View from the Road said “The modern car interposes a filter between the driver and the world he is moving through. Sounds, smells, sensations of touch, and weather are all diluted in comparison with what the pedestrian experiences.’ In Susan Andrews’ photographs, there is nothing about her car, driving, or diluted experience - this is simply a novel viewpoint, taking advantage of slow rush-hour traffic. She exploits this view from the road to reveal Whitechapel Road as a busy pedestrian realm, a place of constant, enriching interaction.

The photographs from the car look head-on at the building faces and side-on to pedestrian activity, a view you don’t get from the pavement. But in the car ‘subjects are quietly observed from a distance' says Andrews; you don’t meet the eye of passers by. These photos are entirely different from the in-your-face street photography of Klein and Winogrand; Andrews respects the distance, while exposing intimacies, glimpsing the personal. These pictures are full of positive energy derived from the differences of people and purpose, constant encounters between friends and strangers on the street.

Jane Jacobs said: ‘the tolerance, the room for great differences among neighbours – differences that often go far deeper than differences in colour …. are possible and normal only when streets of great cities have built-in equipment allowing strangers to dwell in peace together on civilized but essentially dignified and reserved terms.’

These street photographs are entirely opposite to Meyerovitch's picture of a fallen man that no-one helps. They are more akin to Helen Levitt's 1940s photos and Andy Grundberg's comments on her, '...beautiful candid photography, done in a way that is non-aggressive, noninvasive and, one wants to say, non-macho.'

Because of Andrews’ unusual point of view, the building faces contextualise the meetings, conversations and passings by; people are seen in relation to library, surgery, housing; the marks, scuffs, signs and layers of change in the the building faces themselves part of the incident. These pictures are superb story pictures of moment–to-moment life. She says 'Sometimes there appears to be nothing of interest to photograph, whilst at other times I drive past something remarkable, unable to record it'. These photographs show ordinary life as full of interest, full of inconsequential coincidence. And these incidents also tell stories of physical flux – two photographs of the same spot show differences of use, street furniture graffiti with no clue as to which came first, which second. These pictures bring out the meaning of the Whitechapel Road as public space.

Roger Estop

Exhibited at Cass Gallery, Whitechapel


 | 2011 | Symposium & Exhibition

Shadows Of Doubt

As part of the Photomonth Festival of Photography: A symposium and photography exhibition at London Metropolitan University investigating the relationship between Alfred Hitchcock’s childhood in the East End of London and his celebrated films.

The symposium, ‘Shadows of Doubt’, bringing together experts from the worlds of film, photography, theatre, architecture and psychoanalysis.

Speakers include the director Simon Usher, celebrated for his work at the RSC and presently working at The Globe; Dr Chris Oakley, leading psychoanalyst and author, with an interest in popular culture; Dr Nicholas Haeffner a Senior Lecturer at The Cass and author of the book ‘Alfred Hitchcock’, and Steven Jacobs author of ‘The Wrong House: The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock’.


Copyright 2019 The East End Archive at The CASS