Hackney photographer takes lockdown photos of neighbours
PUBLISHED: 10:50 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:50 09 June 2020
ÔMark an I live right opposite the house where Jack Mcvitie was killed in 1967 by Reggie Kray. My uncle grew up with the Krays and was a boxer at the same club in Bethnal Green. However, my uncle and the Twins were arch-enemies.
My uncle was violently attacked by the Krays with knives as Reggie Kray wrongly believed he had been sleeping with his, at the time, girlfriend. He miraculously survived
My Nan was ready to ensure that they faced charges for attempted murder but the Krays wined and dined my Nan although in a menacing manner as they made verbal threats to kill my mum and smashed the bakery windows where my uncle was working. Luckily no one was hurt. My Nan of course backed down.
My uncle never really got his life with the Krays out of his mind especially in the last couple of years before he died. He was having terrible nightmares. When my Uncle was dying, he was scared that in an afterlife he would see them again. I was blessed enough to be able to be with my uncle as he passed away and I
Christian Sinibaldi now hopes to turn his photo essay of Evering Road People into a book, as a testimony to community spirit and to “help us remember these times”
People of Evering Road
Colin grew up on this road, he is The Man and knows everybody and everything about it. He helped fly Zoe, his long term friend, back to London a few days ago and offered her a place to stay. They are now working on to opening of a plant and flower shop called Number 50 (@numberfiftyashopinashop) in his dad old cab office.
In his spare time Colin has been offering free services to the elderly, lately laying new flooring for Helena next door
Christian Sinibaldi started taking portraits of his Hackney neighbours during lockdown. “Our worlds have shrunk and our street has become our world,” says the freelance photographer.
As someone used to travelling and meeting people for work, he initially found the idea of lockdown difficult. But his photo essay of Evering Road, a mile-long residential street that links Clapton and Stoke Newington, made him turn his professional attention to the diverse life outside his front door.
Sinibaldi has lived on Evering Road for eight years and as he stopped and talked to his neighbours, he began to learn about its rich past. One revealed their family links to Reggie Kray, who murdered Jack ‘the hat’ McVitie during a party at number 97 in October 1967, another that their house was once inhabited by a Victorian anti-slavery campaigner.
There is also Peter the puppet-maker with one of his creations, ukelele teacher and Hackney Community Orchestra member Steve, who was born around the corner. Colin who grew up on the road, and Neil who came from Trinidad in the 60s and remembers the legendary Blues parties in Hackney’s basements and the neighbourhood street parties.
Celia 75 and Neil 8.
Residents of the road since 1985 but both lovers of Hackney since the 60s. Neil came here in 1963 from Trinidad and brought with him his sheer passion for music and the vibe from their acclaimed Carnival.
ÔWe had many Blues parties in our time in HackneyÕ
Blues parties were ÔillegalÕ parties organized in the houses, often in the basements. People wouldnÕt pay an entry but they would have been charged for drinks and food. It was a good way to make money and get the community together.
ÔWe used to have lots of parties in the basements starting at 11pm.
People knew through word of mouth. The music was Caribbean and they would go on all night long.
ÔHackney was very different. Many things were different. It was very working class area, lot of grass culture, lots of feminist activities and radical and literature projects, many of which we were involved with.
It is still a fairly diverse area, surely more than other parts of London. ItÕs still full of creative people.
Up to a few years ago we
“One morning I walked out and started seeing all these people at home,” says Sinibaldi. You can see the traces of people’s lives [through their] windows.”
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Taking the photographs has changed his relationship with his street.
“I’ve made a lot of new friends, and been promised lots of barbecues and beers when we’re all allowed to meet up. London, generally, is a fairly individualistic place and everybody minds their own business. Now, when I walk up and down, people say hello all the time.”
Steve, born around the corner, is 68.
I asked "When did Stoke Newington become Stokey?" He replied,"It was in fact a separate borough when I was born, it only became part of Hackney in 1965.Ó
Steve never moved away and has lived in the same house for over 60 years and took care of his mum who suffered from dementia. After her passing, the Council rehoused him in 2019 claiming the house wasnÕt suitable for just one tenant. "I was terrified and sick about moving but thankfully I felt at home right away.Ó
"This road is unbelievable. There isnÕt a lot of traffic, people are very friendly and itÕs very cosmopolitanÓ.
His real passions in life are music and his missus. "When I was a kid, I heard the 'House of the Rising SunÕ by the Animals on the radio, and that was it, I knew I wanted to play guitar. For years I wanted one, but instead, my parents gave me a ukulele!Ó
Steve has been teaching guitar and ukulele for many years and since last September is a proud member of the Hackney Community Orchestra. "We pla
Christian started posting his pictures on Instagram, and has now launched a kickstarter fund to turn them into a book “a tangible object to help us remember these times.”
“I was incredibly surprised by the positive outcome of the project,” he adds.
“I have been a photographer for 15 years and never received so many direct messages thanking me for the project. For some it has been a trip down memory lane, but for many it has been a way of getting to know their neighbours and discovering even more about their surroundings. What started as a personal project has evolved into something for the community. People have used the instagram feed to express their love for our area and hopes for the future.
“The number of pledges to donate a copy of the book to a community member has proved the community spirit is strong in Hackney, it is a place that many people call Home independently of their origins.”
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