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.

Art Deco And Modernist London In Photographs

Regular readers may remember that my favourite style of achitecture is Art Deco, and the Modernist designs that formed part of it. I have posted photos of Art Deco buildings on here previously, but I was lucky to find some more online today. I appreciate that it tends to divide people, and that they either love it, or hate it.

I love it.

The White House, Hendon. I would not particularly want to live in Hendon, but I would love to live in a house like this.

East Finchley Tube Station. Many London Underground stations were built in this style.

The John Keeble Church, Millhill.

Kingsley Court apartments, Willesden.

The Empire Pool and Arena, Wembley.

The State Cinema, Kilburn. I have seen films in there on many occasions.

Residential Houses in Arnos Grove.

Randall’s Department Store, Uxbridge.

A Modernist house in Twickenham, close to the River Thames.

The former Coty Cosmetics factory, Brentford.

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’.

London Tourism: Something Different

Away from the open-top buses and the packed touris magnets in the centre of the city, there are some unusual things to see there that justify making the extra effort to travel to see them.

St John’s Gate.
Built in 1504 as a monastic priory, this ancient gate in Clerkenwell remains to show us what London would have looked like at the time of Henry VII.
It is now the museum of The Order of St John, and entry is free. Opening times and more information can be found on the website.

The Museum of the Order of St John

Sir John Soane’s Museum.
The fascinating collection on display in the house where Sir John lived from 1792, in the historic district of Lincoln’s inn Fields.
Entry is free, and opening times can be found on the website.

The Horniman Museum.
This 1901-built museum will require an easy train journey to the south of the centre, but you will be rewarded with a collection of cultural artifacts and exhibits from the natural world. The gardens are also extensive.
Entry is free, with charges for some extra exhibitions. Details on the website.

Kew Gardens: The Royal Botanic Gardens.
Located to the south west of London, this can be accessed via the London Underground. The world famous gardens and glasshouses contain botanical samples from all over the planet, situated in lovely peaceful grounds. You could easily spend a full day there, but allow at least a half-day for a visit. Tickets cost £15 per adult. More information on the website.

The Thames Barrier.
Accessed south of the river near the district of Woolwich, this engineering marvel saves London from being flooded by the River Thames, and is an amazing sight straddling the great river.

The Painted Hall, Greenwich.
This amazing Painted Hall is part of the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich. Take a riverboat trip from Westminster to Greenwich Pier, and see London from the river on the way. Tickets cost £12.50 for adults, but last for a whole year of visits. More information on the website.

Painted Hall

Six unusual things to see that will not usually be on any tourist itinerary.

Historical Norfolk In Photos

Closer to home for me these days, some great history can be seen in the county that contains Beetley.

Kings Lynn.
During the 14th century, this West Norfolk town was the most important port in all of England. Some of the historic dockside has been resored.

Central Norwich.
The old part of the city has remained the same since the Elizabethan age. These photos are modern, it still looks the same today.

Bickling Hall.
The stately home where Anne Boleyn was born in 1501. The house as it is shown here was mainly built in 1616, by Sir Henry Hobart. It is now managed by The National Trust, and open to visitors.

Oxburgh Hall.
A moated country house, built by in 1482 by Sir Edmund Bedingfield, and later crenellated. He was a supporter of the Yorkists during the Wars of The Roses. Now managed by The National Trust, and open to visitors.

St Benet’s Abbey.
Close to the east coast near Great Yarmouth, this dates from 1022, at the time of King Harold Godwinson who was killed in 1066 at The Battle of Hastings. Sir John Fastoff (Shakespeare’s Falstaff) was buried here.

Bicycles 🚲

A tribute to cycling, from Fraggle. Great quotes and photos!


“It would not be at all strange if history came to the conclusion that the perfection of the bicycle was the greatest incident of the nineteenth century.” ~ anonymous

Beamish Museum, England, 2011

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realise fishing is stupid and boring.” ~ Desmond Tutu

Hexam, Northumberland, England 2012

“The bicycle is the most civilised conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remain pure in heart.” ~ Iris Murdoch

Sint Niklaas, Belgium, 2012

“Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.” ~ Grant Petersen, American bicycle designer

York, England, 2015

“The bicycle is a just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can…

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Pensthorpe: Part Two

These are the rest of the photos I am posting from my visit to Pensthorpe last Friday.

(All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them, which will take you to a Flickr link.)

A pair of Swans with a huge area all to themselves.


A quiet spot to sit.


This sleeping duck was well-camouflaged.


Birds squabbling over the best dry spot in the lake.


A water feature and some nice daffodils.


Canada Geese running away from me, honking their displeasure.


Two other geese nearby, not at all concerned by my presence.


This idyllic spot didn’t have a single bird choosing to use it.


That’s all for this visit to Pensthorpe, but I am sure I will go back again one day.

Pensthorpe: Part One

Continuing my birthday treats, Julie took me to Pensthorpe Waterfowl Reserve and Nature Park yesterday. It is close to Fakenham, so an easy drive from Beetley.



(All photos are posted on Flickr, you can click on them to enlarge each one.)


Early in the season, there were not that many birds. The enclosure for the Flamingos and Cranes was also closed, because of the risk of Bird Flu in the county at the moment. But the large park is a haven of peace and quiet, and beautifully maintained by the friendly staff.

Sleepy swans, mid afternoon, woken by a dipping Coot.

This Goose let me get quite close, but I used the zoom so as not to frighten it.

This Swan had a reed-fringed pool all to itself.

The all-weather observation area. There are also numerous ‘hides’ located around the grounds, for dedicated bird-watchers.

The central lake is vast, and the River Wensum also runs through the park.

This is called the ‘Monet-Inspired Bridge’.

Julie crossing the bridge.

More photos from Pensthorpe to come soon.