Photograph: Stuart Goodman

Broadway Market is now known to many as an East London hotspot.

Locals and tourists alike flock to the area to enjoy the greenery in London Fields, sit in one of the many bars and cafes, or pay a visit to the legendary Cat and Mutton pub.

But there are many who will remember the Market as it was; before gentrification, before the delis and the gastro pubs.

One Saturday in 82 on Broadway Market is, as you would imagine, a snapshot of the market during one Saturday in 1982. Or, to be more accurate, many snapshots taken during a single morning.

Photograph: Stuart Goodman

This is a photography book, but Goodman – a Hackney native – writes warmly and humorously about his time at the market.

In fact, my only gripe about this book is that I would have liked to hear more of his stories; as it is, Goodman limits himself to a brief introduction. Still, the pictures tell a story of their own.

For younger readers or newcomers to Hackney, these are pictures from another world; the passing of 40 years has made the market unrecognisable.

Photographer and author Stuart Goodman.
Photograph: Jo Goodman

A series of black-and-white photos show run-down shop fronts and rubbish littering the road. The market is near-empty; Goodman writes: “To say it was dead on its feet would have been optimistic.”

How different to the bustling street we know now – or at least, knew before quarantine.

This was not a wealthy neighbourhood; Goodman, who paid £7 a week for his flat, describes “the squalor, the outside loo, the wasp’s nest, the cold”. But he also writes touchingly about the love he felt for the place; “the people, the community and somehow, the optimism”.

This warmth comes through in the photographs, which have a soft, nostalgic quality as well as a charming spontaneity.

Goodman’s talent, as an ex-Fleet Street photographer, is evident; often unaware of the camera, people are captured browsing the market stalls or walking home with their goods.

Photograph: Stuart Goodman

Everything is worth photographing, from the back of a flower van to the corrugated iron that often stands in the place of fencing.

But it is the unstudied portraits that steal the show: two boys with a tandem bike; children conferring excitedly next to a pet-shop window; a flower-seller midway through wrapping an order, looking up impassively into the lens.

Every photo is worth a second look – and then a third. Each time, you notice something new; a graffiti-scrawled ‘Revolution’ on the side of a building; the recognisable logo of the bookmaker William Hill – not everything has changed, then – or a poster pasted on a brick wall.

Photograph: Stuart Goodman

While the photos alone are lovely, they tell a bigger story about the fight to preserve a community.

Goodman had been living in the market for five years before undertaking the photography project, intended for a Greater London Council exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall. During this time, he played a pivotal role in the market’s survival.

Hearing one day that the market would be demolished to make way for a section of the Westway dual carriageway, Goodman and his friend Stephen Selby wasted no time. They set up the Broadway Market Preservation Society in the Cat and Mutton that evening.

Photograph: Stuart Goodman

Engaging the support of local MPs, media and the community, the Preservation Society and its successor the Action Group led protests against the demolition.

One of my favourite photos shows a dingy brick wall scrawled across with the words, ‘BROADWAY MARKET IS NOT A SINKING SHIP – IT’S A SUBMARINE’. Well-founded optimism, as it turned out. The protestors won.

Without Goodman and his supporters, Broadway Market would not exist now – so next time you’re in the Cat and Mutton, raise a glass to them.

And if you can get your hands on this book, have a flick through. It’s well worth it.

One Saturday in 82 on Broadway Market by Stuart Goodman is available to buy for £19.99 (with free shipping) at ownit.london

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