The brilliant photos of life on a terraced street in 1970s Longsight

Author : balindos
Publish Date : 2020-12-26


The brilliant photos of life on a terraced street in 1970s Longsight

In the early 1970s photographer Chris Hunt moved into a spare room in his friends' house on Beeton Grove in Longsight.

The 21 terraced houses on the small cul-de-sac were mainly occupied by Irish familes, but there were also English, Pakistanis and Cypriots living there.

It was, Chris said, 'ordinary working-class Manchester'.

Fascinated by his neighbours, Chris began photographing them as they went about their daily business.

He also carried out a series of interviews with them talking openly and candidly about their lives and hopes.

The interviews and pictures were collected in a book and filed away in a drawer.

And that was where they remained unseen for more than 40 years, until Chris's daughter discovered the book and persuaded him it deserved a wider audience.

Entitled Beeton Grove, Chris's unique snapshot of Mancunian life has now finally been released with the aid of a crowd-funding campaign by Liverpool-based documentary photography publisher Bluecoat Press.

Chris, 71, said: "I think because I lived on the street I seemed to have the confidence of most people. Most people agreed to give me an interview.

"They all had stories to tell. People were telling me about doing muggings, what kind of contraception they used. One couple told me how they hated each other and wanted to split up.

"It was more like a discussion than an interview. I would put the tape player down and we'd talk. They'd tell me about the things that were important to them.

"Most of the families were Irish and were related to each other. They'd all come over from Ireland to try make a living.

"The men had jobs on the railways or on building sites.

"They all hated the landlord, because he didn't do anything other than collect the rent every week.

"It was the kind of place where everybody was in each other's houses. Nobody had any money. It was ordinary, working class Manchester."

Beeton Grove is published by Bluecoat Press and is available to buy here.

You can also view more of Chris's work in the British Culture Archive.

Patsy Burke, then aged 14, of 1 Beeton Grove. He is pictured with his duck 'Oswald' and a pet chicken. Patsy's dad had encouraged him to keep animals since he was five-years-old. He also owned a budgie, a rat and a dog.
(Image: Chris Hunt)1 of 10

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Mrs Keegan ran the grocery store, just round the corner from Beeton Grove. She moved to Manchester from Ireland with her husband in 1961 and bought the shop for £2,000. At the time the shop was being demolished as part of the redevelopment of Longsight. Mrs Keegan said: "I had a wide range of friends, English, Irish and Pakistani people. I could meet nothing better. They were all a thousand per cent as far as I was concerned. There might have been one or two awful ones but we try to forget about those."
(Image: Chris Hunt)2 of 10

Winifred Cunningham, pictured at home with her son Darren - one of six children she had with husband Bill, an accordion player and Irish folk singer. Winifred, known as Bobby, worked in the canteen at Levenshulme bingo hall making a sandwiches for £7 a week. She said: "I go shopping six days a week. The only day I have off is Wednesday. I go every day because they'll eat everything that's brought in. I have to push the pram all the way up to Slade Lane, there's no shops on Stockport Road now. So I have a bit of washing, wash up, tidy up, then shopping. Then I'm always cooking and I never leave the back kitchen. Then I go to work at about 6pm and I'm usually home at 10.30pm."
(Image: Chris Hunt)3 of 10

One Sunday afternoon Chris accompanied Bill Cunningham as he played at The Lord Nelson pub on Chapel Street in Salford.
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Winifred Cunningham hanging out the washing in her back yard.
(Image: Chris Hunt)5 of 10

Andrew and Zoe Stavrinou with their son Steven. Andrew moved to England from Cyprus in 1971 to study engineering. Two of his brothers were already in Manchester, one of whom came here to avoid national service. Andrew said: "I did national service anyway, two years. I finished school in 1966 and I worked in a cement factory. Then I changed my job to a power station. Then engaged, then married and came here. I'm 24 now. I missed my friends to start with, the fresh fruits, the sea, the mountains, you miss a lot of things. But you get education over here. In England there is freedom for the people. In Cyprus, if you are a boy you can't go out at night without permission."
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The Kielty family of 5 Beeton Grove. Beatrice Kielty, a mum of 10, worked as a cleaning supervisor in the day and at a club called Oceans 11 on weekends. She said: "It's a club where people go to drink, they have cabaret and on Thursday you have strippers. It's alright working there if you have no fights. You get some good ones when there's blood spurting all over the club but you pretend you haven't seen them."
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Alma Lloyd and her mother-in-law, in their home at 15 Beeton Grove. Alma and her husband Bill, an office clerk, had lived on the street longer than anyone else. Bill said: "I've lived on the street for 22 years and I've seen quite a lot of changes, mainly the people. Today it's about 70 per cent Irish people. We've got two where there are foreigners living and we must have two football teams in terms of kids. It's turned from a quiet street into a noisy one."
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Married mother-of-three Carmel Killeen, pictured underneath photos of JFK and the Pope in her home at number 13. "We all go to church on a Sunday. I myself go because of the children. It was the way I was brought up. They've more time to choose their own way when they're 17 or 18."
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Mother of five Josephine Guilfoyle, pictured with her youngest child Michael. Josephine and her husband moved to Manchester from Ireland and stayed with Mr Guilfoyle's cousin at 2 Beeton Grove, before moving into number 10 when it became vacant. Josephine said: "We've been living in this house seven years. There was an old couple in here before. It was a terrible mess. Globe Brothers did nothing. All they did was put in a new wash basin, bath and floor joists in. My husband put doors and fireplace in and decora

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