David Bailey coming back to his Newham roots

Iconic photographer David Bailey - who was born in the East London - will be the subject of a major exhibition in the Royal Docks.

Bailey’s East End will showcase a unique collection of 50 years’ worth of photographs taken by the former East Ham resident in and around the area. Newham residents will be able to get in free.

The eagerly-anticipated exhibition will be held from July 14 to August 11 at a soon-to-be-announced location.

Bailey said: “London’s East End is in my DNA and I’m thrilled to be able to return to my roots in Newham. The Olympics are helping to transform the borough and I’m delighted to be playing a special part in its transformation. Go East young man!”

“The pictures range, but the concentration is on the Sixties, Eighties and now,” Bailey told us. “Newham is the obvious place to do it - it’s where it all happened.”

It is possible the venue for the show will be in the Royal Docks.

David grew up in Heigham Road, East Ham, just yards from the Recorder’s old offices in High Street North.

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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, including part funding it.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, where two thirds of the Olympics will be taking place, said: “We are thrilled that an icon like David Bailey 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.”

ewham 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.”

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.