Britain 英國風 The Island Race
Below the poverty line: slum Britain in the 1960s
Below the poverty line: slum Britain in the 1960s – in pictures
Photographer Nick Hedges travelled from Birmingham slums to Glasgow tenements in the 1960s and 70s to document poverty-stricken Britain. He found families who slept with the lights blazing to keep the rats away, children sleeping on wet floors and mothers cooking over an open fire
See Make Life Worth Living: Nick Hedges’ Photographs for Shelter, 1969-72 at Science Museum, London, from 2 October to 18 January 2015
Wednesday 1 October 2014 07.00 BST
Mr and Mrs Gallagher lived with their four children in a ground floor tenement flat. Their bedroom was covered in pools of rainwater. At night they sleep with the light on to keep the rats away. One night they counted 16 rats in the room. Glasgow Maryhill, October 1970.
Mr and Mrs M and their four children lived in a council-owned house with no bathroom, no hot water, outside lavatory, inside walls running with damp. The children slept on sodden seat cushions covered by a couple of old ‘macs’, there was no heating in the room, the snow lay thick outside and the windows were broken. Birmingham, January 1969.
‘It’s disgusting and appalling. The housing minister (Peter Walker) came round here and said it wasn’t fit for human habitation, and I’m still here.’ Mrs Chichockjy, Liverpool 8, July 1971.
Mrs T and her family of five lived in a decaying terraced house owned by a steelworks. She had no gas, no electricity, no hot water, no bathroom. Her cooking was done on the fire in the living room. Sheffield, May 1969.
Kitchen of slum house, Birmingham Duddleston, August 1970.
Children living in substandard property, Birmingham Balsall Heath, June 1969.
Terrace of back-to-back houses, Leeds, West Yorkshire, July 1970. All photographs: Nick Hedges, courtesy National Media Museum, Bradford.