More From Nick Hedges: Slum Living In London 1969-1972

Still working on an assignment for the charity Shelter during that period, photographer Nick Hedges travelled to London to take photos of slum conditions in the capital. Some of the following photos were taken at a Homeless family Shelter in South London, others in poor quality rented accommodation.

What struck me was the complete lack of any hope in the faces of the adults.

An elderly man in a bedsit room.

A young woman living in one room with her small child. (Child not seen)

A dad with one of his children at the Homeless Shelter.

An elderly man living alone in a basement room.

A mum with her child living in some shabby rented accommodation.

A young mum and her children in their room at the Homeless Shelter.

A woman living in awful conditions in a bedsit flat.

Children sharing a dormitory in the Homeless Shelter.

Two older women in slum houses awaiting demolition.

A young girl on the balcony of some tenement flats.

A mother and her children living in one room with a shared bathroom.

A woman with one of her grandchildren in a damp basement room.

Children in the communal room of the Homeless Shelter.

49 thoughts on “More From Nick Hedges: Slum Living In London 1969-1972

  1. I did 14 calls at Battersea last night Pete. I had a photographer called Nick Hedges come out with me. He took one pic from each job. Yes a photographic reminder for me – without the stench & without being told the hardship conversations.
    Oh I did a 15th job – to Westminster where an MP tripped over his wallet and hurt his ego – but Nick didn’t take a pic of that!

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  2. As dismal as some of these pictures are, there is one commonality among them that might be seen as a positive. They all have roofs over their heads. There are many more than these sleeping outside in all kinds of weather. The one picture of the old man sitting on a bed in a bed sit room seems to have found the wherewithal to purchase his cigarettes so he must not be as bad off as he would like people to believe he is. Nevertheless, the pictures are good because they highlight how inconvenient and uncomfortable some living conditions can become. My English cousin, Johnny, and his Mum were homeless during the London blitz in the 1940s. They were rescued by my Uncle Vernon, a paratrooper in WW2 who married her (Dolly) and brought her home to America. I remember how little Johnny would go into horrid spasms of fear, crying and screaming, whenever there would be a thunder storm. I was told he did this because he remembered the bombs falling and exploding above the subways where they were sheltered during air raids.

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          1. When my husband, then my best friend, gave up smoking (he was smoking 10-15 cigarettes a day), he was not sure what to do with so much money. He was then a college student living off the allowance from his parents. All of a sudden, he could afford the best food available. He would often offer to buy goodies for our group of friends. 🙂 He felt rich! 🙂

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  3. These pictures really tug at the heartstrings, Pete. I hate seeing elderly people who don’t have warm places to live and good food. It really upsets me. I always donate to old age homes and every Christmas my sons and I take a home made treat to our local home. It isn’t a lot, but it is something and I always get thank you messages.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. (1) There’s room to sit on a bed in a bedsit room.
    (2) Mother to Boo-Boo: “Yogi has demanded I ship you off to Jellystone Park. First your father abandons me, and now this!”
    (3) “I wish I’d been better at reading palms!”
    (4) “Now where did I put my comb?”
    (5) “Look, mum! I can levitate a grape!”
    (6) Nick promised the kids a Sonic the Hedgehog video game, but told them they would have to wait a few years to get it.
    (7) “I was hoping you’d take the photo after I took the hair rollers out.”
    (8) After watching Bedknobs and Broomsticks, the children prepare to fly.
    (9) “You know those TV ads with sexy women selling a new car? I’m trying to sell this used pram.”
    (10) “I’m telling you! That demolition man looks like Sly Stallone!”
    (11) “Okay, you scroungy mutt. I’m going to name you Romeo! Now bark something romantic!”
    (12) “Okay, let’s line up to go poo-poo. As usual, Boo-Boo goes last.”
    (13) Overheard:
    Dr. Stein: “This basement is a filthy mess!”
    Igorina: “I don’t know. A little paint, a few flowers, a couple of throw pillows…”
    (14) “It wouldn’t be so boring in this homeless shelter if we could have a little color in our lives!”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had no idea the situation was that bad. It’s pretty shameful. You are right about the eyes, It is particularly tragic when kids have that look. I have seen it is plenty of places but never imagined I could have seen such awfulness in my own country.

    Liked by 1 person

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