John 'Hoppy' Hopkins: Photographer of London's swinging sixties dies


Among the best known figures from the decade, Hoppy photographed The Beatles and The Rolling Stones

Rose Troup Buchanan 

The British photographer, journalist, researcher and political activist John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins has died.
Hopkins, born on 15 August 1937, died at the age of 78 yesterday.
A Camridge university graduate with a degree in physics and mathematics, his career took an unexpected turn when he was given a camera on his graduation in 1957.


Arriving in London Hopkins became involved in the burgeoning underground arts scene of the 1960s, photographing many of the musical talents of that generation – including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones – while also documenting the capital’s seedy underside.
One of the founder members of the London Free School in Notting Hill, the creation of which led to the now world famous Notting Hill Carnival, he established the free news-sheet The Gate which was a forerunner of influential magazine International Times.
Hopkins was jailed for six months after being arrested for the possession of cannabis in 1967.


After electing for trial by jury, and described by the judge as a “pest to society”, a ‘Free Hoppy’ campaign sprang up which culminated in a full-page advert in The Times that called for changes to the existing laws and was signed by Francis Crick, George Melly, Jonathan Miller and the Beatles.


In his later years he worked with the British Arts Council, UNESCO and the Home Office researching the social uses of video.

He also exhibited macro photography of flowers as well as collections of images of personalities from the 1960s. 

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