Hackney has a long history stretching back to Tudor times. During the 1980s when Berris Conolly took these photographs it was an area in decline. This was a decade of turmoil in both national and local politics with issues of social justice never far from the headlines.
After many years in advertising photography Berris Conolly began focussing on documentary landscape in the early 1980s, leaving commercial photography completely by 1985. He moved from London to Sheffield at the end of 1988 to work on a commission for Untitled Gallery (now Site) to document the city, working as one of several photographers on a two-year Regeneration Project, which culminated in exhibitions across the city in 1991 to coincide with the World Student Games. He subsequently joined the management committee of Untitled, assisting with the exhibition and events programme through selection, commissioning and curating exhibitions. After setting up a landscape gardening company in 1994 he didn't photograph for the following ten years, before picking up a camera again in 2004. By this time digital imaging had largely replaced film and traditional darkroom printing.