Kids Playing In The 1960s: Photos By Shirley Baker

I found these photos online, taken by Shirley Baker. They show children playing on the streets of Manchester and surrounding areas in the 1960s. No Internet, no video games or mobile phones, just making the best of simple things.

Three young girls on the pavement – Manchester, 1965
Three very characterful young girls on a Manchester street. The girl on the left is wearing a pair of very over-sized high heels and is clutching a huge white handbag. The middle girl is wearing an expression of pure contentment as she leans jauntily with legs crossed against a window sill and the girl on the right (also wearing some far-too-large stilletto heels) has a mucky face and a flat expression.
Photograph by Shirley Baker, images supplied by Mary Evans picture library

A little girl with her doll’s pram. Looks like she is wearing her dad’s shoes!

Happiness is a skipping rope, and someone to hold the other end of it.

Chalk, and a dry pavement. No electronic toys required.

If there is no park nearby, just hang an old well-used swing on the door frame.

Children laugh out loud at a Punch & Judy Show at Wilmslow, Cheshire. One young lad has come dressed as the Policeman in a plastic policeman’s helmet while the girl in the foreground wearing a headscarf, enjoys her rocket-shaped ice lolly
Photograph by Shirley Baker, images supplied by Mary Evans picture library

A boy on his bike racing past smaller kids playing on the street.

These kids had almost nothing, but their happiness shines through. Simpler times, healthier lives.

81 thoughts on “Kids Playing In The 1960s: Photos By Shirley Baker

    1. The parents might have been at work, or busy inside the house. It wasn’t considered dangerous to leave your kids playing outside then. Neighbours would help out if anything happened, and police patrols on foot were frequent at the time.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You always find great photos Pete. But Black and White seems to make those days look gloomy and full of no hope (probably how the photographer wanted to portray their work) thats not my memories, always full of colour and a future to look forward to, perhaps I was very lucky as a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think these photos show the happiness of the kids, but that wasn’t always what some photographers were looking for. I remember those times as happy, and much more relaxed than modern ife.
      Cheers, Bobby.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. We were all much happier then. No social media to worry about, and only two channels on the TV. We played outside, read books and comics, and didn’t care about owning designer clothes or trainers. Better times, undoubtedly.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. (1) First girl: “She’ll never get a date!” Second girl: “Just playing hard to get, tee-hee!” Third girl: “Just point me to the nearest convent, okay?”
    (2) “If I keep pushing this pram, my feet will swell up, and these shoes will fit me just fine!”
    (3) “Okay, old man. Now it’s your turn!”
    (4) “Why am I doing this? Just chalk it up to no electronic toys, I guess!”
    (5) “Look, Austin! I’m a swinger!”
    (6) “We don’t want the Punch & Judy Show! We want the Drag Queen Story Hour!”
    (7) “If I pedal harder, I’ll catch up with the naked lady!”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate to all of these. We wore our mothers’ high heels while pushing dolls’ prams, chalked hopscotch in the road (not many cars then), and played with skipping ropes and roller skates. Mum had a photo of me in one of those door frame swings too!

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Very true. We lived in the same streets as the kids we went to school with, and in my case, the same street as many of my extended family. Nobody ever bothered about a ‘Facebook Status’. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

  4. You will be glad to know that kids still get by without electronics here. One of my grandchildren’s birthday party consisted of cake, ice cream and lots of shovels and hoes. They dug for hours. Their own idea. No “Party Planner” needed.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It seems like some things are universal. I have similar memories from my childhood where I tried to dress up like mom. Skipping and drawing on the floor never got old too. I have raced on streets on my second-hand and totally trashed bicycle and played dolls with friends. Video games were available but where’s the fun in that?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Marvellous images, and they do look earlier than the ‘60s. That said, I remember playing out in good weather, reading books when it rained…. Hopscotch in the road, crawling through hawthorn hedge tunnels, climbing trees

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful images, Pete. Not a reflection of my childhood but they do make one think of simpler times (although we had to play inside the house or in the park by the school. Too much traffic already by then in Barcelona)! Enjoy a beautiful week!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The simple things were the best. A kid can make a castle out of a turned over chair covered with a blanket from a bed …a kid can make a magic wand from a common twig from a tree …

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Their imaginations are limited by electronic games to games that involve the players in all kinds of intense and often gory violence .. war and killing …thus brainwashing them into thinking that such bloody horrors are to be viewed as natural and normal. (Probably subliminally planting blood lust into their unsuspecting young brains.).

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I am enjoying these photos-and not only because, this is when I was growing up too. They have captured simple times and the beauty of those days. Have you ever seen the very old films restoration-they are interesting. Best always Michele

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In those days playing “mummys & daddys” was the norm and all the girls wore mummys high heels. It was all about family then being the role model and aspiration with no gender confusion. You played out in the street or park until dinner time then you all sat down to eat together. These photos are how I remember the late 50s early 60s.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s ironic, isn’t it, how kids always [maybe not so much now? I wonder] tried to look grown-up in their parents’ shoes & handbags, etc., yet when we are actually ‘grown up’, we try to revert back to childhood! It’s not always easy to enjoy childhood for what it is at the time, I suppose. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great photos of times past. That first photo is priceless. And the shoes of the girl on the right are on the wrong feet! I have a picture of my aunt, me and my brother who we dressed up in girls’ clothing. I would love to post it but he would kill me.

    Liked by 1 person

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