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

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.

Manchester Evening News