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Demolitions, Protests & Hope | David Sinclair’s Images of 1980s Britain

As an official photographer for The Militant David Sinclair captured many key social and political events through the 1980s and 1990s. If you’re familiar with his book ‘Liverpool in the 1980s’ you’ll be aware of his stunning captures of Liverpool during a time when the city rallied together in the face of adversity.

As a working press photographer David captured everything from citywide protests across Britain to intimate portraits of the people growing up in communities affected by political and social change.



David: “I left Alsop comprehensive school for boys in 1976, half way through my A levels. Disenchanted, I went to stack shelves with a couple of mates at Kwiksave on County Rd“.After three years working I returned to education and was enrolled in college studying interior design, then moving on to Liverpool College of Art, learning to draw under the brilliant Nicholas Horsefield“.


“Whilst studying I’d moved out of my family house into a ‘hard to let’ council flat in the rundown dock area of Liverpool 5. I was surrounded by derelict industrial buildings including Tate & Lyle sugar refiners, British American Tobacco, Bibby food processing and miles of abandoned dock buildings. I wanted to paint my environment so started taking photos as a sort of note taking and did make some colour landscape collages”.

Demolition of Tate & Lyle, early 1980s. Photo © David Sinclair.


“When I was introduced to black and white photography by a friend, I built my own darkroom. I started making prints with far more drama and humanity that I could get into a painting. I would spend many hours walking around Liverpool, exploring empty places like Council estates and going into derelict dock buildings, wandering the streets taking photos, mostly housing and post-industrial landscape – but it was in a time when kids would pester you to take their photo”.


“A fundamental difference between the time I took these photos and today is the general attitude towards photographing children. Back then there was little, or no paranoia compared to now. Kids on the street would run up to me asking if I was from the Echo. I’d say no, but they’d insist I’d have to take a group shot, and I did so they’d leave me alone. Some of these shots are now my favourite photos and I take little credit for them because the kids’ insistence is what made me take the pictures. These turned out to be some of my favourite photos from that time”.

David Sinclair Gallery

All images © Dave Sinclair, all rights reserved. 

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