> > BRICK LANE 1978

© Paul Trevor 2019


04 MAY 1978
A young Bangladeshi garment worker is found dead near Brick Lane; yet another  racially-motivated attack endured by the Asian population of East London. This time however, things are different. The brutal murder of Altab Ali mobilises a community. It is time to take action.

14 MAY 1978
7,000 Bengalis march from Brick Lane to Downing Street behind Ali’s coffin, in an  unprecedented uprising against racist far-right groups. Their actions represent a turning point in resistance against racial discrimination. East London will change for good.


BRICK LANE 1978: THE TURNING POINT is a major new heritage project exploring the May 1978 anti-racist uprising organised by the Bengali community around Brick Lane.

With the help of local volunteers and original activists, Brick Lane 1978: The Turning Point investigates how and why this watershed moment unfolded.

Renowned documentary photographer Paul Trevor captured the protests. His iconic images offer a powerful catalyst for identifying and gathering accounts from those involved at the time.

The aim is to create a vital record of May 1978 as told by local people.

An extensive collection of oral history interviews will be made publicly accessible alongside Paul Trevor’s never-before-seen photographs.

The project will also produce a short documentary film, touring exhibition, public events programme and school’s study pack.


Join us for the project launch on 4 October 




We need talented volunteers to bring this project to life. Gain skills, get inspired and shed light on this historic moment.

04 October 2019 

Project Launch:  Join us for the project kick off. Discover the story of Brick Lane 1978 and find out how you can get involved in documenting this watershed moment. RSVP HERE 

17.00 - 20.00, FOUR CORNERS, 121 ROMAN ROAD, E2 0QN

October 2019 - May 2020 

Research: Delve into a collection of never-before-seen photographs by Paul Trevor documenting the May 1978 anti-racist protests around Brick Lane. Use these images to research, identify and contact the activists that made the protests happen. 

Interview: Get trained up in oral history interview techniques and record interviews with some of the activists identified in Paul Trevor’s photographs.

February 2020 - July 2020 

Film: Help to produce a documentary film about the May 1978 protests

Interested? Get in touch. 



Brick Lane 1978: The Turning Point is a collaborative project run by Four Corners and Swadhinata Trust, in partnership with Paul Trevor.

This project has been made possible by the generous support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.