Dalston’s famous peace mural, pictured in 1985. Photograph: Alan Denney

Renowned local photographer Alan Denney will tomorrow take people through a history of the changes he has witnessed and chronicled in Hackney over the last 40 years, through the prism of the A10 road.

A specially filmed conversation between Denney and Wendy Forrest, trustee of the Hackney Society, which has organised the event, sees the photographer reach into his archive, beginning with the Winter of Discontent in 1979, to compare the borough’s past and present.

The discussion, recorded recently in Abney Park, will be streamed on YouTube from 7pm tomorrow – set your reminder by visiting the page here – and will be followed by a live Q&A session.

An anti-Thatcher demonstration in Dalston, 1980. Photograph: Alan Denney

Denney’s work is highly regarded in Hackney, so much so that earlier this year he was hired by the Rio Cinema to catalogue a treasure trove of up to 10,000 images that were found gathering dust in its basement.

Hackney Society chair Nick Perry said: “Alan has been in the spotlight recently for his work cataloguing and curating photos of Hackney in the 1980s from the Rio’s Tape/Slide project. Many who follow Hackney history will know it’s Alan’s own photo reportage of the 1970s and 1980s that make him so well qualified for that task. 

“And so we wanted to put the spotlight on Alan’s own photos of that period. We asked Alan to take a journey down the A10 through his archive, starting from the Winter of Discontent in 1979, with rubbish mounting outside Sam Stoller’s fishmongers on Stamford Hill, down through Stoke Newington, Shacklewell, and Dalston to the magnificent 1790s terraces of Kingsland Road that still stand – gentrification notwithstanding – today.” 

Denney and Forrest will compare his past photographs to those taken more recently, like this one of a Stoke Newington bus stop during the pandemic. Photograph: Alan Denney

Perry continued: “Along the way, fellow resident and Hackney Society trustee Wendy Forrest adds her own memories as Alan recounts the tales each photo tells – some dark (such as the sordid history of the Police Station), and many much brighter (the rebirth of the Astra Cinema as the magnificent Azizye Mosque).

“At each stop the pair compare the environment and people of then with photos taken in the last few months – many eerily quiet amid Covid restrictions. They show the massive changes just as pointedly as the buildings and businesses that have stayed the same or gently evolved in those 40-odd years.”

The live Q&A following the screening will see Forrest asking Denney questions posted by viewers in the YouTube comments section along with others that have been sent in by email in advance.

Cazenove Road, 1985. Photograph: Alan Denney

Perry added: “We’re so pleased our last event with local history superstar Amir Dotan was so popular and hope to see many of the new viewers we had for that event – many viewing from across the globe – return for more of these online events, which we’ll keep online after the event too.”

In Conversation with Alan Denney – Photographs of Hackney in the 1970s and 1980s will be broadcast on YouTube on Thursday 10 December at 7pm.

If you have a YouTube account, you can follow this link to the stream to set a reminder using the button at the bottom left of the screen. To ask a question in the comments section during the live Q&A, you will need to be logged in to your YouTube account.

For more information, head to hackneysociety.org

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