Dalston in the 1980s

Brilliant found photographs of London's Hackney in the 1980s

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

 

The Rio in Dalston, Hackney, is London’s oldest community run cinema. A cinema has occupied the site since 1909 operating in various guises and under many different names as a silent cinema, a news and cartoon cinema, a continental arthouse cinema, and then as an porn and live striptease burlesque theatre. When the place was threatened with closure in 1976 the local community took over the lease.

 

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

Traveller life, Hackney 1985

 

“The local Hackney residents who founded the RIO were also the same people who ran community activity at the Centerprise Bookshop which was opposite the cinema,” says the Rio’s Adam Woodyatt. “Space in the bookshop and cafe was at a premium with many organisations crammed into small offices, and so the RIO with its extensive basement spaces was an ideal place to run educational activity and as a meeting place for many of the groups and organisations that existed in Hackney at the time.

“One of the educational projects was the Tape/Slide project, a community initiative to teach local unemployed young people the basics of street photography and reporting local events to create a slide show to be shown before the films with a cassette tape audio recording accompaniment, bringing RIO audiences a weekly local news piece to go with the regular ads and trailers. The slides were then catalogued and were made available as an open public resource, that local residents could view at the Rio on Tuesdays using a slide viewer or light box, and order prints from.

 

Hackney London 1980s

Hackney school children protest to highlight the sale of radioactive lamb in UK supermarkets following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986

Hackney Show, 1987

Hackney Show June 20 1987

 

“The Tape/Slide project was funded by the Jubilee Trust initially to set it up with equipment, and then the tutor hours were paid by the Adult Education Institute, and it ran between 1984 to 1988. The archive contains a huge variety of everyday scenes from Hackney life and many political campaigns from the era like the Miners Strike support, Anti-Regan, Anti-Apartheid, Greenham and CND protests.

“The team also produced public information presentations that were transferred to VHS tapes to be hired out by local groups and organisation, these covered subjects like AIDS awareness (which was funded by the Terrence Higgins Trust).”

 

Hackney London 1980s

R.Mison Newsagent & General Store, 1985

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

Columbia Rd flower market 1984

 

“After 1988 the project came to an end, and classes were run on an occasional short term basis during the 90s but as a fun course for the public rather than a community project.

“The Tape/Slide project was also used at the time to create two feature films, One Day in Hackney – showing life at work, in schools, shops, factories and hospitals, this was a silent film with a musical score, and then it was followed by a look at local leisure time with One Day Off in Hackney which was accompanied by spoken word dialogue and original score.

“We luckily have original VHS copies of the two films and have had these transferred to digital MP4 files that can be shown on screen.

“The Tape/Slide archive also contains local advertising slides that were created by the team for local businesses, as well as on screen information and branding slides for the cinema itself.”

 

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

 

On the town... Hackney London pensioners 1985

On the town… Hackney pensioners 1985

 

“As part of the work to clean, restore and conserve the slides we contacted the project leaders and founders who ran the project from 1983 to 1988, they were delighted and moved that the slides have somehow survived, and that we are now fulfilling the original aim to make them available for the public to see, and for schools and students to use as a teaching resource.

“We have been incredibly lucky that local Stoke Newington resident and photographer Alan Denney, has dedicated his spare time for free, for the last year and a half to clean each slide, scan it at high resolution and correct any damage on photoshop, we estimate that it will be another five months at least before he has finished.

 

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

Hackney London 1980s

The Tape/Slide Project Team, 1985

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

Church Street, Stoke Newington, 1984.

Church Street, Stoke Newington, 1984.

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

Tobacconist – 1984

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

Dalston style 1984 snapped for the One Day Off In Hackney project

Centerprise Community Centre, 1980s.

Acclaimed Trinidad born writer Rosa Guy visits Centerprise in the mid 80s

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

Hackney London 1980s

Kingsland High Street, 1985

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

Hackney 1984

Hackney London in the 1970s and 1980s

Hackney Empire Mecca Bingo, 1980s

Hackney Empire Mecca Bingo, 1980s

Dalston Child Daycare Centre, 1986

Dalston Child Daycare Centre, 1986

I Don’t Hate Sharon. Hackney, 1980s graffiti

1980s messaging pre-social media pre-mobile

Ridley Road Market Hackney London- 1984

Ridley Road Market – 1984

With thanks to the Rio Cinema, whose Instagram page is great.