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Iconic photographer David Bailey returns to his roots in Newham

6 July 2012 in 2012 Games and legacy and Mayor and Sport and leisure and Events
A major exhibition by iconic Newham photographer David Bailey has opened in the Royal Docks.
The exhibition, called David Bailey’s East End, will run until August 5 at Compressor House, on Dockside Road, next to Royal Albert DLR (Docklands Light Railway).

Newham Council is the principal sponsor and residents from the borough will be able to get in free.

It showcases a unique collection of 50 years' worth of photographs taken by the former East Ham resident in and around the area.

Bailey was approached by the National Portrait Gallery in London and other world-renowned institutions to host the exhibition but was determined to return to his roots.

The photographs on display, many of them large-scale prints, document the changing physical and social landscape showing streetscapes, characters and scenes of east London life.

David Bailey said: “London's East End is in my DNA and I'm thrilled to be able to return to my roots in Newham. Now the rest of the world will focus on an area I’ve been looking at all my life.”

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: “We are thrilled that an icon like David Bailey – the world’s greatest photographer - will be returning to his roots with a major exhibition here in time for the Games. This is a fantastic coup for Newham and East London. David is a true Newham boy and we will be ensuring he gets the warmest of homecomings."

"David is from Newham, and now he’s back in the Royal Docks. This area was once thriving and then it fell into decline, so it's great to see it buzzing with activity and massive potential again in the run-up to the Olympics.

“The East End is a place of diversity, culture and entrepreneurship. For us, the astonishing transformation here is all about our people and making the most of a new era. It’s just not acceptable for people in this part of London to have lesser life chances than those in the rest of the capital. As the principal sponsor, we have ensured our residents will be able to see this exhibition for free so they too can be inspired by the work of David Bailey.”

Newham Council's Chief Executive Kim Bromley-Derry said: "We are delighted to be backing this exhibition and to be playing such a key role. David is one of the world's most famous photographers. The fact that he has chosen Newham to host this pivotal show underlines the transformation that is taking place here. London is moving eastwards - as this proves.

"This is all about providing a stunning cultural legacy from the Games. We are confident it will be a huge hit and draw visitors from across London and beyond. Other major figures in the arts will see that Newham is a new cultural hub and will be attracted here.

"The council has ensured that local people can visit it for free so that everyone will benefit.

"This exhibition symbolises the progress that is taking place here. Newham is home to some of the largest and most spectacular development sites in Europe. We will use the Games as a catalyst to establish the borough as a gateway to London, a melting pot for the exchange of commerce, information and ideas and a tourist destination in its own right."

The council, which is working with arts organisation CREATE, conceived the idea for the exhibition and has been integral in getting the project off the ground.

Bailey has been photographing Newham and east London since the 1960s, right up to the present day. The photographs that will be displayed - many of them large-scale prints - document the changing social and physical landscape of East End life.

The exhibition is open Tuesday–Sunday 11am–7pm, Thursdays & Fridays until 9.30pm.

Entry £6, £4 concessions. Free for Newham residents on production of two forms of ID – (1) utility bill or bank statement, AND (2) library membership, gym membership or credit/debit card.