Poverty In ‘Modern’ Britain: 1968-1972

The housing charity Shelter commissioned photographer Nick Hedges to take a series of photographs around Britain, between 1968-1972. They were used to highlight the abject poverty and appalling living conditions that many people were still enduring in supposedly ‘Modern’ Britain. You could be forgiven for thinking these photos were taken during the 1930s.

Birmingham, 1968.

Birmingham, 1971.

Glasgow, 1970.

Bradford, 1972.

London, 1972.

Bradford, 1972.

Glasgow, 1971.

Liverpool, 1969.

Bradford, 1969.

Liverpoool, 1969.

Salford, 1971.

London, 1972.

64 thoughts on “Poverty In ‘Modern’ Britain: 1968-1972

  1. Makes me realise how fortunate I was to have a mum and dad that strove to keep us out of these situations, but as a child I probably would have never noticed what I didn’t have. In saying that my first bedsit after leaving the nest could have featured in one of those photos. Wonder what the children ended up doing in life

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  2. I agree with the comments, and with your reflection about Budapest. Perhaps the details are different now, but somehow the misery and poverty is still here. Thanks for sharing those, Pete.

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    1. Thanks, Olga. The definition of poverty in the UK might change with the times, but it can still be found in every major town and city here. (One of the current definitions is ‘No access to the Internet’.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Nick Hedges was credited with them in an article about Shelter on Pinterest, Gavin.
      (Unless you are referring to the buffoon who was the Prime Minister for some of that period. 🙂 )
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. Pete, you and I are close in age. There is a good book ” The Splendid and The Vile” written by Eric Larson. It covers the Churchill family from he time before he became Prime Minister, through the war years and after he left office. It also covers the hardships that the British populace faced during those years. It’s a great read if you have the chance and the time. We had, and still have the same situations here in America mainly in the large inner cities and Appalachia into the Missisippi Delta regions. Your blog is interesting and I enjoy when you cover British history.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Huge corporations taking massive profits and paying very low wages are still the cause of poverty in the UK today, Don. People here tend to have less children than they once did, but they are no better off for that.
      Best wishes, Pet.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. (1) “Hey, I may be poor, but at least I have two hot female servants making my bed!”
    (2) “This baby just fell from the sky and crashed through my ceiling! I caught it, and suddenly I’m a mother of two! God works in mysterious ways!”
    (3) “This is reality, sweetie. Not what you see on Baywatch.” (Pramela Anderson)
    (4) “Sorry, Beth. I already promised a trip to Wonderland to someone else named Alice.” (looking glass)
    (5) Photo caption:
    There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
    She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.
    She gave them some broth without any bread;
    Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.
    (After this photo was taken, the old woman moved to the next bed where four more children were waiting.)
    (6) “Just pretend that the window is a TV set. Papa is making some stools so that we don’t have to stand up to watch.”
    (7) The boy noticed there was a men’s and women’s restroom, but he thought the barrel might offer a more sanitary alternative.
    (8) Sign: “Let FREE ENTERPRISE get your pram moving again.”
    (9) Overheard:
    Boy: “Mum, can we watch you cook the butter beans again?”
    Mother: “I’ll have to reflect on that.”
    (10) “You see, cuddle-puss? We have a big spacious kitchen just like the Oldenburgs!”
    (11) “Stop looking at my tattoo, sonny boy!” (photographer)
    (12) Overheard:
    Father: “My business associate in Budapest says we’re living in the lap of luxury.”
    Wife: “Shut up and feed the baby!”

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    1. Funny you should mention Budapest. When I first went to the Soviet Union in 1977, some people on the trip remarked about how most people lived in ‘small flats’. I told them that there were still plenty of people in the UK who would be glad of similar accommodation.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s disgraceful and as someone else pointed out, there are certainly still similar images to be seen. But the rich go on finding bigger and better toys, building larger homes and destroying the environment.

    Liked by 2 people

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