Reading time: 2 min

Horace Warner

A Look At… Horace Warner and his portraits series of East End street kids, the Spitalfields Nippers.

Self-taught photographer, Horace Warner (1871-1939) was born into a family of Quakers.  He later became the Sunday School Superintent of the Bedford Institute, one of nine Quaker missions in the East End fighting alcoholism and prostitution.  It is then that he started recording the lives of some of the poorest local children, highlighting their desperate conditions.  “Little is known of Horace Warner and nothing is known of his relationship to the nippers.  “Only thirty of these pictures survive, out of two hundred and forty that he took, tantalising the viewer today as rare visions of the lost tribe of Spitalfields Nippers. They may look like paupers, and the original usage of them to accompany the annual reports of the charitable Bedford Institute, Quaker St, Spitalfields, may have been as illustrations of poverty – but that is not the sum total of these beguiling photographs, because they exist as spirited images of something much more subtle and compelling, the elusive drama of childhood itself.” (extract from the foreword text written by The Gentle Author for the the Spitalfields Nippers book).

For more images from the series, do check out the book Spitalfields Nippers.

A Look At... Horace WarnerA Look At... Horace Warner