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Chris Hunt - Mrs Cunningham Hanging out the Washing. Manchester, 1974.

Mrs Cunningham Hanging Out The Washing. Manchester, 1970s – Chris Hunt.


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Photo © Chris Hunt, all rights reserved.


Chris Hunt


In 1974 photographer Chris Hunt documented the lives of working class families in Beeton Grove, Longsight – a small terraced street just a couple of miles from Manchester city centre.

Chris was fascinated by his neighbours – a diverse mix of English, Irish, Pakistani and Cypriot families. After a year living on Beeton Grove Chris approached everyone on the street with a request to photograph and interview them about their everyday lives.

Chris “I was surprised to discover the different ways everyone lived. In some of the houses I could feel the warmth and affection within the family, the children were happy and everyone was interested in what I was doing. In others I felt more of a stranger and was never really accepted. Possibly having a tape recorder did not help, but the feeling was still there after three or four visits. Generally speaking the interviews were more like discussions, after my first visit to each household I gave each family some free photographs, which made subsequent visits easier.

All the houses were in need of some sort of repair and, as many were rented, the tenants rightly felt that the landlords should carry out the work. The landlords, in turn, were reluctant to carry out repairs with the threat of demolition facing the street.

I left Manchester soon after, thinking that the small community would soon disappear. Everyone was already dreaming of the day the could afford to buy their own house and move away from Beeton Grove once it had been demolished. As it happened, the plan was abandoned and Beeton Grove survives to this day, little different on the outside from forty years ago, although all but one of the families appear to have moved on.”