Hoxton Mini-Press collects beautiful old photos thematically. I was delighted to be asked to write the intro for a gorgeous new collection on London Pubs, published today.
What’s better than reading about pubs? Looking at gorgeous, evocative photos of pubs (while also reading about them.)
Hoxton Mini Press is an independent publisher based in East London. They make collectable photography books, based mainly, but not exclusively, on the people and geography of East London. I find they make phenomenal last-minute Christmas presents for people you want to impress.
From their website:
“In an age when everything is virtual, the book
as an object is more important than ever. But all too often
big art books are aloof and expensive. We want to
make books that both the collector and the non-
specialist can enjoy – and that everyone can afford.”
This new book is a collection of photographs of pubs from about 1910 to some time in the early 1970s. I was delighted when they asked me to write the introduction – about 1200 words commenting on the importance of pubs in London life – and some of the captions. Here’s an extract from the intro:
“London has always been a diverse city brimming with strong characters. It breeds people with a thirst for life, and acts as a magnet for thirsty people born elsewhere. Throughout the twentieth century, they made the city’s pubs blaze with light and life.
“Everyone is here: Pearly Kings and Queens revelling in the spontaneous subculture they have created; sailors home on leave; courting couples stealing kisses over tables full of empty glasses; sharp-suited men from the Caribbean introducing their music and dance moves to their new neighbours; old ladies holding court, staring down the myth that pubs were male-only spaces. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards prop up the bar like two blokes at the end of a hard day at the office. Suzi Quatro takes time out from being the Queen of Rock and Roll to play a game of snooker. Teddy Boys hog the juke box while men old enough to remember the Boer War play pool. Meanwhile, dogs wait stoically at the bar, and children hover somewhat less patiently just outside the door. “
And here’s a selection of photos.