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A fascinating book about life in a working class Manchester street in the 1970s, with superb photography and text.
A fascinating book about life in a working class Manchester street in the 1970s, with superb photography and text.
110 backers pledged £5,737 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Street kids  *Print choice 1
Street kids *Print choice 1

I am Chris Hunt, a professional photographer. Forty years ago, in the mid-1970s, I embarked on a project to document the lives of my neighbours who lived in a small street of terraced houses close to the centre of Manchester in North West England. Having completed the project, I made it into a book but, not knowing how to take it further at that time, I put it in a drawer and forgot about it.

Beeton Grove is a typical working class community, of the kind characterised on television by the long-running soap Coronation Street. I lived in Beeton Grove for a couple of years and got to know a few of my neighbours, which made me curious about the others; what made their lives tick, what kind of jobs, families and thoughts did they have. So I knocked on everyone's door and asked if I could interview and photograph them. Fortunately, only four declined, so I set about my task armed with a tape recorder and Leica camera.

Not surprisingly, everyone had a different story to tell:

There was Marie at number 3, whose father had died when she was just eight months old. She had been brought up by her mother but, because Marie was out of work, they decided to take in a lodger. After only a month, he’d started dating her mother and Marie had to cook his meals. She resented this but she could not afford to move out and was thinking about joining the RAF.

Marie, mother and lodger. *Print choice 3.
Marie, mother and lodger. *Print choice 3.

Beatrice, at number 5, left school when just thirteen, to work as a buttonholer with her mother. She married, had 11 children and had lived in the street for 20 years. Beatrice claimed that you could not have a clean home and a happy one, you had to have a bit of muck somewhere.

Beatrice and three of her children  *Print choice 8
Beatrice and three of her children *Print choice 8

Bill, living at number 9, had been raised in Ireland by his grandparents. His grandmother smoked a clay pipe and every other word out of her mouth was 'f... this and f... that’; she’d even do it with a preacher present. In 1954, he left Ireland for Manchester looking for work with just £18 in his pocket. He had a variety of jobs but was out of work because of ill health and his family relied on benefits to survive, although he still earned some cash singing in local Irish pubs. His wife, Bobbie, told me they got married in 1956 and she thought that was a foolish thing to do, especially having six kids one after another. Bill had left home twice, once because Bobbie locked him out after he repeatedly came home late at two o’clock in the morning.

Bobbie hanging out washing *Print choice 2
Bobbie hanging out washing *Print choice 2

These are just a few extracts from the interviews in which my neighbours talked about all sorts of things; trouble with landlords, police, jobs and relationships. Their words and photographs give a rare insight into working class life 40 years ago in a hard Northern industrial city.

Mending his bike *Print choice 4
Mending his bike *Print choice 4
Marie *Print choice 5
Marie *Print choice 5
The corner shop.
The corner shop.
Patsy with his pet duck and hen. *Print choice 6
Patsy with his pet duck and hen. *Print choice 6
The daily chores. *Print choice 7
The daily chores. *Print choice 7

Earlier this year, I rediscovered my book and showed it to an established publisher, Bluecoat Press, who immediately saw the value of my work, both for its photographic quality and its importance as social history. They are ready to publish the book as a limited edition hardback of 168 pages (with over 100 photographs) but I need your help to raise additional funding towards the print costs. There are some great rewards on offer and with your backing the book will become a reality.

The book will be 270x290mm landscape, 168pp and casebound. The print run will be limited to 1000 copies.

Risks and challenges

There are no risks. Bluecoat Press is a long-established publisher and is ready to send the book to its printer as soon as the funding target is met.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $15

    Four 6"x4" photographs printed on Ilford Black and White silver gelatin RC photographic paper.
    Photographs randomly selected from the 100+ in the book.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $30

    Your copy of the finished hardback book.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $38

    A signed copy of the finished book Beeton Grove.

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    Pledge £30 or more About $45

    A signed copy of Beeton Grove and your name in the acknowledgements as a valued supporter of the project,

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    18 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $60

    Two signed copies of Beeton Grove

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £45 or more About $68

    Two signed copies of Beeton Grove and your name in the acknowledgements as a valued supporter of the project,

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    5 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £60 or more About $90

    A signed copy of Beeton Grove, your name in the acknowledgements AND a signed limited edition print selected from the images shown. (The print will be photographic (not digital) and printed by Ilford Labs).

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £85 or more About $128

    A signed copy of Beeton Grove, your name in the acknowledgements AND two signed limited edition prints selected from the images shown. (The prints will be photographic (not digital) and printed by Ilford Labs).

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £110 or more About $166

    A signed copy of Beeton Grove, your name in the acknowledgements AND three signed limited edition prints selected from the images shown. (The prints will be photographic (not digital) and printed by Ilford Labs).

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    Pledge £200 or more About $301

    A signed copy of Beeton Grove, your name in the acknowledgements AND all 8 signed limited edition prints of the images shown.

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    Pledge £900 or more About $1,355

    Corporate sponsorship. Your company's name prominently branded and a generous supply of signed books + option for a book launch.

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Funding period

- (30 days)