Life in Leeds 50 years ago

Do you recognise this girl who is skipping down the street?
Do you recognise this girl who is skipping down the street?

These were the stark scenes on the streets of Leeds nearly 50 years ago.

The photographs of children playing on the cobbles, back-to-back housing and gable end adverts for products like Bile Beans were taken in the late 1960s.

The images were captured by photographer Nick Hedges who was commissioned by housing charity Shelter in 1968.

He spent three years visiting and documenting some of England’s poorest and most deprived areas.

Now, as part of Shelter’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the search is on for people who strayed into the photographer’s viewfinder, like the little girl skipping along a cobbled street.

Mr Hedges, who is to stage an exhibition of his photographs in Sheffield next year, said: “It would be wonderful to meet the children I photographed all those years ago and for them to be able to tell their stories. I often wonder what happened to them, if they went on to lead happy and healthy lives.

“When I was commissioned by Shelter to take these photographs, I never imagined that decades later they would still have such impact. The poverty and terrible conditions I witnessed shocked me to the core. I hope that all these years later, by reconnecting with some of those I photographed, I am able to hear good news of what happened to the families.”

Shelter would like to hear the stories of the people featured in the photographs - who will now be aged between 50 and 70 – to give them the opportunity to revisit the areas they once called home.

The charity’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: “We would love to hear the stories of the people behind these pictures to help us mark 50 years of fighting bad housing and homelessness. I’d encourage anyone who recognises themselves, or family members and friends to get in touch and let us know what happened after they were taken.”

If you recognise yourself or anyone email stories@shelter.org.uk or call 0207 5052032.

Living room and kitchen Leeds back to back housing

Living room and kitchen Leeds back to back housing

Street sign Leeds 1970

Street sign Leeds 1970

The City of London at dusk. Hansteen Holdings plans to return �580m to shareholders by the end of the year. Photo:  Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Hansteen Holdings receives boost from growth of online retailing