Thursday, 4 February 2010


I may have mentioned a few times that I'm a born and bred Northern girl. I love living here, I love the wit and humour of Northern people and I love the diversity of the landscape. I particularly love the history and heritage of the North. It makes you who you are.
This week's Guardian included a feature on John Bulmer's photographs of the North taken in the 1960's and 1970's. Bulmer's evocative photos depict powerful images of the people going about their business within communities far removed from today's society.

Photo from a town in the Black Country taken in 1961. There's a distinct lack of cars, people and litter.

Miners just finishing a shift at Dawdon colliery 1965. I doubt there is a harder job or lifestyle than these men endured whilst working in the mines.

Women in Leeds clean and polish their doorsteps with sandstone. Having a clean doorstep and polished windowsills showed the rest of the community's womenfolk that the housewife kept a pristine home. 'She keeps a lovely front' was the ultimate accolade for the houseproud woman.

Northern mill girls on the way home with a chippy tea once wrapped. The days when fish and chips was served in newspaper and girls were rarely self-conscious about wearing rollers. It kept their hair safely under headscarves and away from the mill machinery. And the chips tasted better!

A street in Liverpool a year after Harold Wilson's resignation. His reputation amongst the working classes dipped due to his handling of the strikes by the Seaman's union.

A street in Manchester like a scene from 'Life On Mars'. My dad was one of 9 children whose family lived in a similar house in Gorton in Manchester. We were taken back there as young kids before the slum clearances. It was the first time I'd seen cobbled streets and a pub on every street corner.

Nelson 1960. An elderly lady still wearing her traditional wooden mill clogs while cleaning her gate post, captures the pride that many older residents had in the town.

I find this image quite sad. The hunched-up, elderly man taking a rest on a dustbin outside a clinic for sportsmen captures a poignant irony.

A scene from a pub in Manchester taken in 1961. There's a real sense of community spirit at the local pub where people are enjoying themselves with a milk stout in one hand, and a fag in the other.


  1. And here was me expecting mention of the illawalla and the "ten-to-two erection section" but I was wrong not that that meant I wasn't impressed however... these photographs really do have northern soul. Bravo for sharing them! :-)

  2. Thanks again for the comments Debs. As a photographer, I'm not surprised you liked 'em. I saw these and thought they were extremely thought-provoking. Poverty and hard lives shine through as does the real sense of community and full employment. The Illawalla is another blog!