Photomonth 2014 opens with a specially curated exhibition at the Cass Gallery showcasing a diverse range of photographers whose work relates to the East End of London. The exhibition, ARCHIVE: Imagining the East End, is inspired by the East End Archive, an online photographic resource that brings together both historic and contemporary collections. The curators have also been intent upon including other important local archives to develop public awareness and focus on their contribution to our cultural life. In these archives there is a wealth of images to feed the imagination – to perceive the East End way beyond its conventional boundaries and inspire artists to take what has become known as the ‘archival turn’. Each local archive has kindly donated an image and text to the exhibition and Photomonth is pleased to acknowledge them here.

Autograph ABP Archive

Originally developed to address a series of gaps in the visual representation of Britain’s cultural history and its different communities – with the continuing mission to foster progressive photographic research in relation to global politics of migration, diaspora and difference, and to preserve the legacy of significant bodies of work by a constituency of artists and collections traditionally overlooked. Open by appointment and via the digital image bank. Autograph ABP, Rivington Place EC2A 3BA.

Bishopsgate Institute

Since opening in 1895, Bishopsgate Library has held fascinating collections relating to photography in London. There were initially compiled by the institute’s second librarian Charles Goss who was determined to build a record of the development of photography and record everyday life in the capital. The Library has specialised in collecting street photography and social and cultural images of London with extensive collections on political, protest and radical history. The Library now holds over 100,000 images and new collections are continually being added. Accessible online at or in person in the Library Reading Room open Mon-Fri 10am-5.30pm Wed 10am-8pm, no appointment necessary. Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate EC2M 4QH.

East End Archive at The Cass

The East End Archive created by staff at The Cass Faculty of Arts, Architecture and Design is a developing collection of historical and contemporary photographs. The decision to acquire digital files rather than objects allows the Archive to grow and expand without facing major storage issues and is available online globally. The diversity and extended perception of the collection means that the East End is open to interpretation and the visual representation lends inspiration for the imagination. The very axis of its success is the combining of past with present and the future. The East End Archive can be viewed at Cass faculty of art, Architecture & Design, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street E1 7PF.

Eastside Community Heritage: Hidden Histories

Eastside Community Heritage was established in 1993 and over the years has worked on numerous heritage projects documenting the lives of ordinary people in East London. In 1999 Eastside established the East London People’s Archive which now holds over 1,000 digital records, primarily oral histories, photographs and film all preserved and archived for public benefit. To access East London People’s Archive visit Eastside Community Heritage 326 High Road, Ilford IG1 1QP.

Hackney Archives

Hackney Archives Department was originally established in 1965 on the formation of the London Borough of Hackney, from the former metropolitan boroughs of Hackney, Shoreditch and Stoke Newington. The local history collections include a local studies library of published works about the history of Hackney and East London and printed ephemera, a visual collection of paintings, prints and photographs, local newspapers, maps and some audio visual items. Hackney Archives is situated on the 2nd Floor of Dalston CLR James Library. The search room is open from Tuesday to Saturday and you do not need an appointment before you visit. Hackney Archives, Dalston CLR James Library, Dalston Sq E8 3BQ.

Theatre Royal Stratford East Archive

In 1991, a year after the death of Avis Bunnage, known as The Queen of the Workshop, the theatre was given an old brown cardboard suitcase full of programmes and photographs and other memorabilia that Avis had collected over the years of her work at the theatre. The then Artistic Director Philip Hedley invited Murray Melvin to spend a couple of weeks sorting it all out. Twenty three years later Murray is still collecting and the archive has expanded to a complete collection of material from all productions after the Theatre Workshop period to the present day, and has compiled a comprehensive list of all the dates and titles of productions that have played at the theatre since the very first one in December 1884. Accessible by appointment only contact Trina Keane at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford E15 1BN

Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives

The library holds archive collections relating to the history of Tower Hamlets, many of which are rich in imagery. The collections contain over 40,000 illustrations, mainly consisting of photographs. These include a vast array of local street scenes and further sections organised by subject area, including popular themes such as markets, immigration and the docks. The library also houses the photograph collections of the Island History Trust, numbering several thousand images relating specifically to the Isle of Dogs and Poplar. Our reading room is open Tues 10am-5pm, Wed 9am-5pm, Thurs 9am-8pm Sat (1st & 3rd of the month) 9am-5pm. No appointment necessary but ID required for registration. Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, 277 Bancroft Road.

Whitechapel Gallery Archive

The Whitechapel Gallery’s Archive reflects the Gallery’s rich and diverse history. It holds an extensive range of material produced by the Gallery over the past 120 years, starting even before its foundation. Included in the collection are exhibition catalogues, rare documentation of the majority of displays, artists’ letters, photographs including detailed installation views, graphic works, extensive press records, original exhibition plans, recordings on tape and videos of artists, critics and curators. The archive has a library reading room and exhibition space and is open Tues-Fri 11am-5pm. Researchers are welcome to visit by arranging an appointment with the Archivist by email at Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street E1 7QX.