Slum Living In Glasgow: 1969-1971

More photos commissioned by the homeless charity, Shelter. This time they show life in the slums of the Scottish city of Glasgow, in relatively modern times. Once again, it is the total lack of hope in the faces of the people that affected me so much. They break my heart, and make me ashamed to be British.

This small boy is tough, and that can be seen in his face and his attitude. He is playing in the streets, unsupervised. 1969.

The view from a tenement window, 1970. Although this is a colour photograph, the surroundings are so drab, it appears to have been photoshopped.

A family living in one room, 1971.

A young mother and her baby living in awful conditions, 1971.

This young couple seem to have given up. 1970.

Another family in one room, 1971.

Tenement living in the Gorbals district, 1970.

This young schoolgirl appears to be in total despair. 1971.

Children playing in abandoned tenements, 1971.

This child was waiting for his parents to come home from work, 1971.

Two sisters share the only chair in their tenement flat. 1971.

This glum-looking family living in one room, 1971.

Unsupervised small children playing while their parents were at work, 1971.

What worries me most about these photos is that if our current right-wing government has its way, we will be seeing many similar images during 2023.

“Let them eat cake”.

49 thoughts on “Slum Living In Glasgow: 1969-1971

  1. Very touching photos, Pete! Don’t rant about your government, because here in Germany we will get such former situations much earlier. Here only one percent of the citizens have an own property for living. This is reflected in the surveys for a new property tax. According to this, 63 million declarations must be submitted. This includes agricultural and commercial property on land. But Germany has 83 million inhabitants. ;-/ xx Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Pete, very touching pictures. When I visited Birmingham in 2018, we toured the back-to-backs which was very enlightening and interesting. Liz Truss seems to be trying to very hard to improve the economic outlook for the UK. Her policies seem to be crashing the Pound and are not being well received in economic circles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz Truss is only trying to improve the economic situation for the big corporations, bankers, foreign investors, and rich people in Britain. Don’t be fooled by anything she says in an interview or a speech, Robbie.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. (1) “I”m so tough, I’m going to be an Expendable when I grow up. Wait till Stallone and Statham see what I can do!”
    (2) The Tenement, starring Oliwia Dabrowska. (Known for wearing a red coat in Schindler’s List)
    (3) “Our guest cottage is a shipping crate.”
    (4) “Mommy, why is the photographer hanging upside-down from the ceiling?”
    (5) “Please stop saying, ‘C’est la vie.’ And keep your imaginary bowl of cherries to yourself!”
    (6) “Go ahead and pick your nose. It ain’t classy, but we don’t care.”
    (7) Tenement II, starring Marley Shelton. (Known for wearing a red dress in Sin City)
    (8) “I’m going to sneeze. I know it. Wait for it. Wait for it…”
    (9) “Hey, come over here! The queen’s carriage is passing by!”
    (10) “I don’t need to grow two feet to reach the keyhole. I just need a really tall stool.”
    (11) “I’m done with Twister. Can we play another game?”
    (12) “We’re not glamorous. We’re Glum Я Us.”
    (13) “Okay, here’s the plan. When the vampire down there opens the coffin lid, we take off running like a bat out of hell.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, you have come up as Anonymous. Wilson was indeed PM from 1964-1970, and from 1974-1976. He didn’t do much for living conditions in the Gorbals, it would seem.
      Best wishes, Pete.


    1. I never accepted any religion,. Carolyn. When I was 13, I told my RE teacher at secondary school that it was, ‘a legend created by people scared of death’. He left me alone after that, but I passed the ‘O’ level when I was 16.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  4. You are right. It’s heart-wrenching to see children with dead eyes and it’s hard to believe this could happen in our society. I never understand why people have children in such circumstances but then maybe they cannot even afford birth-control. Here, of course, the Republicans want to take away a woman’s right to birth control. But you always have to have poor folk that can be sent to fight wars and do the dirty work (although here those jobs go to the immigrants they are so keen to keep out). I am very cynical and very disgusted…like you I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree that these images do reflect the highest aspirations of a right wing government to keep their poorer people as poor as they can keep them and I wish Americans were more aware that these photographs depict their own condition if they cater too closely to our own right wing here at home.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. These are heartbreaking. I remember my dad talking about the same grinding poverty and horrendous living conditions in Vermont in the 1960s and 1970s–but the state kept it well-hidden so as not to offend the tourists.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The pictures are showing an awful situation. We also went out and played more or less unsupervised from school age. Before that my mother insisted that we stay in sight range of the flat, which we not always did, she couldn’t look all the time, could she? There was still a lot of damage after the war, and we played in places we shouldn’t have played and never told our parents, but we had enough food to go around and clean clothes.
    I was in Glasgow in 1974 and somehow ended up walking in an area where lots of men of all ages were just standing around, no jobs, and the houses were one story shelters with stamped earth as floor (I could look inside through an open door), and a water well outside. I was totally shocked that dwellings like this still existed at that time in Europe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure that Shelter’s photographers did ask the subjects to pose, but I doubt they could have made up those expressions on their faces. I was living quite a good life when these were taken, so seeing them now makes me realise just how desperate some people were.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the parents of these children were probably as desperate as you could get, but kids went out to play as kids do. I played in bomb shelters, demolition sites and condemned houses and had a whale of a time. It’s only when I grew up and moved out of London that I realised what awful surroundings I’d been brought up in. It hits you when you see the leafy lanes and green fields of Suffolk.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Stevie, I know what you mean – if it’s what you know, it just is. In those days, all children played unsupervised – I grew up in the 1960s and we used to go out after breakfast and didn’t return until lunch time when I was really quite young.

          On the other hand, nobody should have to live in those appalling conditions. There are so many ways of looking at this, though alas such poverty exists all over the world and always has. What we really need is to go back to year 0 and have a do-over. Come on, God, do your stuff!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. It as the same for me in the 1950s, Terry. Playing out with my mates until I had to go home for dinner. But we didn’t live in such awful conditions, even though I was brought up in a very poor district of London.
            Best wishes, Pete.


  8. You can go to Glasgow for a laugh & come home in stitches. You can see why! One cop for every 320 Scottish – one cop for every 420 English – one for every 500 Kiwis.
    There are parts of Glasgy that has culture & many entertainers I’ve worked with rate the town as having an amazing arts & entertainment vibe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My only (two) visits to Glasgow were for work, in the early 1970s. I felt uncomfortable there, and found a lot of aggression directed at Londoners like me. I was happy to get out of the city, to be honest.
      Best wishes, Pete.


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