Poverty In Britain 1968-1972: Photos By Nick Hedges

At the peak of the ‘Swinging Sixties’, Britain was just not all about Mary Quant, mini-skirts, pop music, fashion models, and fast cars. Much of the working class still lived in conditions of abject poverty, all over the UK. Photographer Nick Hedges went on a tour of the country, and he captured these images in London, Scotland, and the industrial cities in Yorkshire and Lancashire. You could be forgiven for thinking thay were taken during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

A depressed-looking woman holding her baby. There seems to be no joy in her life.

A young child in poor living conditions. It makes me wonder what happened to her later in life.

A mixed-race little girl clings to a woman who could be her mother or grandmother.

A woman using what passes for a kitchen in her house. It is situated on the landing between flights of stairs. Hard to believe this was taken in 1972.

All the children of one family sharing a bed with a single blanket.

A young woman with her baby, entering her slum dwelling in a run down area. Looks more like 1930, than 1970, and hard to believe anyone lives there.

This child holds a baby that she has been left to look after in awful conditions.

A young family living in one small room.

A run down area in a northern city in 1972.

At least this little girl looks happy. But the photo feels more like it was taken in 1940, instead of 1971.

London Life 1957-1962: Photos by Frederick Wilfred

I happened across the work of a photographer previously unknown to me. For five years, Frederick Wilfred took photos of everyday life as lived by Londoners. At the same time, I was aged between 5 and 10, and I grew up looking at the same sights he captured on his interesting black and white photos. A trip down Memory Lane for me.

What was then a ‘modern’ and ‘trendy’ coffee bar. Not much like Starbucks, as you can see.

The famous London Dog Rescue centre at Battersea, with the marvellous Art Deco power station behind. Both are still there. The Dog’s Home is housed in a new building now, and the power station has become a retail and apartment complex, housing a visitor centre and exhibitions too.

Children playing around in an old car. At the time, it was rare for a working person to even own a car. Notice that there are no others on the street behind.

A gang of cheeky boys posing for Frederick. They would likely have been ‘playing out’ on the street at the time.

Two boys playing a ‘war game’. Using sticks, and a lot of imagination.

A well-dressed man having his shoes polished by a ‘shoe black’ on a street corner. Shiny shoes mattered back then.

A road sweeper with his cart containing two dustbins. They were seen on every street at that time. The container in the background was for the sweepers to empty their dustbins into, and it would be collected by a lorry at the end of the working day.

This newspaper vendor has a good spot opposite a busy Tube Station. There would be numerous daily papers to sell, as well as two popular evening newspapers too.

This schoolboy is likely helping the local milkman on his round before going to school. Such part-time jobs were prized then.

A butcher proudly standing behind his display of meat. Note the pre-decimal prices in ‘old money’.

Rhapsody in Blue

More timeless music from 2013. Hardly anyone has viewed this before.


Most Classical music is very old. When it was written, it was the ‘pop music’ of its day, and predominantly admired by the wealthy, and patrons of the arts. Everyday folk had to be content with their folk songs and hymns, as they were unlikely to ever be in a place where Classical music was performed, or even heard.

Most of us can recognise the better-known Classical pieces, such as ‘The Planets’, or ‘The Four Seasons’, and some composers, like Handel, have distinctive styles, and preferred instruments. Much of this recognition is down to the use of music to accompany films, and TV advertisements; we hear something pleasant, delve a little further into its origins, and discover the composer’s other works. Modern composers of Classical music are few and far between, and often less well-known, without the same wide audience.

In 1924, George Gershwin, the American songwriter and composer, wrote…

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Ambulance stories (29)

A 2013 Ambulance post about one of the more ‘routine’ duties undertaken by EMT crews. This might come as a surprise to some readers.


S.C.B.U. Runs.

These were also called ‘Prem runs’, as they dealt with premature births, or ‘Incubator runs’, as they involved carrying an incubator in the ambulance. This is not a story that stretches credibility, or makes you afraid of losing your breakfast. Neither is it humourous, or likely to make you feel sad, or upset. It is simply informative, dealing with a side of working for the LAS, that was unknown to me before I started, and almost certainly unknown to everyone else too, before they started making so many TV shows about the NHS.

SCBU is a simple acronym for ‘Special Care Baby Unit.’ Most large hospitals have had one, since the 1970’s. However, they were rarely able to provide the specialist care needed when serious complications arose, such as heart defects, and other conditions requiring surgery on these tiny newborns. In these instances, it was necessary to transfer…

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