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A framed photograph of Spirit


Framed photograph

Production date


Object number


Physical Description

A framed photograph of Spirit. Broadway Market 2005

Associated Event

E8 4PH

Associated Person

Grant , Spirit (Featured)
Motola, Gabrielle (Photographer)

Associated Place

Broadway Market (Place)




Width (Frame): 62cm
Height (Frame): 67cm

Credit line

E8 4 PH
Portraits on Broadway Market, 2006
Photographer Gabrielle Motola

These photographs were part of a much larger exhibition that was originally exhibited at the Seven Seven Gallery on Broadway Market in 2006 (now Stella Blunt’s and a bookstore). It featured over 200 portraits of residents, visitors, market traders, and passers-by. The photographs documented the people who came and went, live and worked just as the neighbourhood was beginning to gentrify. Some of the photographs were taken on the market street using a backdrop and available light. Others were taken over the years in various locations around the market.

I moved to Broadway Market in 2002. The market then was very different to what it was in 2006 and of course it has changed radically now. For one thing there were no estate agents, and we didn’t have a Saturday market either. The street was pretty empty most of the time, though the Dove was always a place to go and indulge in the wry mixture of hostility, comfort and Belgian beer. The benches of Benjamin Close were equally populated with assorted characters partaking in the favoured English pastime of drink.

Broadway Market has always felt like home to me, and what a spectacularly inspiring home at that. I got to know many people in the neighbourhood by way of photographing them, and through an expressed curiosity and a sustained interest in them; I got to know their stories as well. Some of them are happy and some of them very sad. Some are unbelievable.

The market’s rise in popularity has meant that property and commodity prices have increased and many of the original traders are no longer there, unable to keep up with the changes. Reluctantly they have moved on; some have prospered, others have not.

Spirit set up his shop Nutritious Food Gallery in 1993 at 71 Broadway market. He lived and worked there since 1993. When he arrived the premises were derelict so he applied to the council for a grant to develop it. He was awarded the grant and spent 6 years of his own money up to £40,000 renovating the property. This property was sold at auction to Broadway Investments, an offshore investment company based in Nassau, for £85,000 pounds in spite of the fact that Spirit turned up at the auction and presented a cheque for £100,000. Spirit signed a document that he believed was a contract of sale. As he was attending the auction he watched his property go up for sale. Six days later the auctioneers, Nelson Bakewell, returned Spirit's cheque to him without explanation. Hackney Counicil were asked to answer this at a public meeting but failed to provide an answer. Spirit then fought a long and costly legal dispute and was awarded an appeal. The court viewed him as being a secure tenant at the point at which Hackney sold his property to Broadway Investments and that the sale was therefore illegal. He continued to battle his new landlords over increased rent costs and eventually moved out of the premises.

Gabrielle Motola
October 2011

On display?