All markets depend on Labour. I’ve always been impressed and amazed at the daily cycle of labour required to operate a street market. Each day the shop has to be unloaded, moved to a stall, laid out and moved back to storage. This is one of favourite Blogs from 2011. I’m pleased to publish it again with some additional photographs.
Before any stall can be arranged on Whitechapel market the stall itself has to be moved into place from its over night resting place in a side street off the main road.
I have no idea what the young man (above) is pushing with his trolley or if the goods are destined for a street market. Nevertheless a good deal of skill and strength is needed to weave the goods between pedestrians. He achieves this unnoticed by everyone else. It is thanks to the daily efforts of people like himself that a city such as New York ticks on with an apparent effortless ease; the City depends on an army of poorly paid workers working long hours.
The assorted blankets and cloths have come from trains arriving at the Chittagong railway terminal in Bangladesh. Once cleaned they will probably be returned to new journeys around Bangladesh or into India. Without the strength of the barefooted man (above) for this short journey they would be going nowhere.
Although the majority of stalls are set out early in the morning goods can be seen moving at any time in Whitechapel market. Traders will shout ahead to warn pedestrians of their approach. As I have been known to ‘day dream’ whilst walking through the market I’ve grown to appreciate the cry of ‘mind your backs’.
This market trader (above) combines strength and balance to move her stock down Whitechapel Road. The bag around her waist is her bank, money float and office.
Rickshaws are not just for the movement of passengers. They are also the carriers of a multitude of items which at first you might think were unlikely candidates for a rickshaw ride. The driver is looking through the fence resting on his head and the top of the rickshaw in order to navigate his journey. Rickshaw drivers exude inventiveness when it comes to moving almost anything on their machines.
No matter how tall, majestic and strident they may be, soaring buildings are still eclipsed by the random etchings of tree branches. It just takes one tree to challenge the angular voice of city buildings.
Trees that survive the clinical aspirations of planners still manage to assert authority. They remind us that the vanity of metropolitan architecture is peripheral compared to the seasonal voices of trees.
It is impossible for sleek lines, marble and economy of design to challenge the arbitrary signals of a tree.
The Merseyside Pensioners Association (MPA) meets every Wednesday at Jack Jones House in Liverpool. They discuss issues relating to pensioners and everyone in society. They are at the forefront of campaigning for justice for pensioners and regularly engage in action to support different campaigns. Here they are supporting the fight to keep open the Liverpool Women’s hospital. The MPA is the antithesis of the stereotypes of pensioners the media likes to portray.
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These photographs were taken a few weeks before this warehouse was demolished and the space used for a luxury housing development. There used to be a number of warehouses on Cheshire Street which facilitated a rich variety of stalls catering for a wide range of tastes. You could by a restored valve radio, cameras, tools, CD’s, clothes and old photographs and paintings. It was a delight to simply walk through the warehouse just to view the stalls. The man sitting behind the jewelry appears to be looking around in a way that suggests he doesn’t want certain people to see the contents of his glass case.
Although the cabinet is partially held up by an empty coke tin the demeanour of the owner of the wood and glass cabinet adds an air of urgency to any potential sale. His body language is communicating: “everything in the case is for sale at well below the market value but you had better buy quickly as I will be leaving soon.”
Sadly there are no warehouses left on Cheshire Street that sustain men with glass cases full of jewelry and watches. It is no longer possible to buy a restored valve radio or old watch. The place has become gated and ‘organic’.