Caledonian Market, London (Photographed about 1931)
About this artwork
In this image Tudor-Hart focuses the viewer’s attention on the two young girls who are trying to decide what to buy from the pile of clothes and shoes lying in the sun. Caledonian Market was one of the largest flea-markets in London during the 1930s. It was popular with photographers as it offered easy access to a lively aspect of the city’s working-class culture. Fellow exiles such as Bill Brandt and László Moholy-Nagy also photographed there, perhaps because it provided an echo of a complex street life commonplace on the Continent. Tudor-Hart published a photo essay about Caledonian Market in the illustrated magazine ‘Der Kuckuck’ in 1931 titled ‘The Market of Naked Misery’. As she wrote, “of all the working-class districts in Europe’s great cities, those in London are the bleakest”.
Edith Tudor-Hart, née Suschitzky, was one of the most significant documentary photographers working in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s. Born in Vienna, she grew up in radical Jewish circles. Edith married Alex Tudor-Hart, a British doctor, and the pair moved to England. There she worked as a documentary photographer, closely associated with the Communist Party, compiling a remarkable archive of images of working people in London and later, the south of Wales. Although still active in the 1950s, the difficulties of finding work as a woman photographer led eventually to Tudor-Hart abandoning photography altogether.