Photographs of 1990s Britain – in Recession.
Above Photo: Lion Farm Estate (©Rob Clayton / www.lionfarmestate.co.uk)
As chronicled in Bombed Out!, the dismal economic blight that shrouded Liverpool under Margaret Thatcher unfortunately wasn’t exclusive to that city. Other cities and towns in the UK were hit just as badly, as Thatcherism ripped out the hearts of working class communities and families all across the country.
Looking back now it seemed to have happened so fast, although at the time events moved in slow motion as the economy suffered death by a thousand cuts.
When I was doing some photo research recently, I came across a series of superb photographs taken in the early 1990s, by photographer Robert Clayton, who has copyright in all the images in this article (which are used with his kind permission).
His photos still sum up the general lot of life living on a council estate in England during the Thatcher years, both in the time of Bombed Out! (the 1980s) and thereafter.
Taken on Lion Farm Estate, a West Midlands council estate earmarked for demolition, his photographs brilliantly sum up a time that still resonates through British culture.
The photographs accurately capture the feeling of social and economic imprisonment that many people experienced at that time, which is something I hope I have also conveyed in writing Bombed Out!
I sent the above photo of the man in his living room to a good friend of mine, who grew up in the West Midlands, and who now lives in Thailand. Astonishingly, he said the man in the photo, Eddie Webb, was in fact his brother in law, and that he knew the estate well, having lived on it himself.
He also added:
“All the tower blocks were scheduled for demolition, so they were slowly being emptied, as people were rehoused elsewhere. There were lots of drug dealers, ex-cons, problem families living there.
My brother-in-law and sister were waiting to be moved out. He still doesn’t remember the day the photographer came. Someone must’ve just knocked on the door.”
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