Paradise Street: photos of a lost childhood in post-war Britain

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Before PlayStation. Before Atari, Sega or Nintendo. Before, well, even TV, there was the street. 

And if you were a kid growing up in post-war Britain the street was where you won the FA Cup, escaped from a POW camp and landed on the Moon. All in an hour or two leaving school and going home for your tea.

Whether it was better or worse then isn’t the point (clue: it was both), but among the bombsites, alleys and terraced houses, limitless adventure could undoubtedly be found. 

Between the 1940s and ’60s, a selection of British photographers such as Shirley Baker, Tony Boxall and Robin Dal took pictures of kids at play. Now, the best of their work has been collated into a lovely new book, Paradise St. 

While it’s easy to romanticise a time that was in truth both poverty-stricken and routinely dangerous (think of all those unexploded bombs), the pictures show children enjoying a level of freedom impossible today. 

And, occasionally, who doesn’t want to put a pan on their head and pretend that they’re a scoring a winning goal in the cup final among the bins and stray dogs? 

Paradise Street is published by Hoxton Mini Press. You can buy the book by clicking on this link

 

Credits: from top

Balham, London, circa 1961, Paul Kaye © The Paul Kaye Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library

Balham, London, circa 1961, Paul Kaye
© The Paul Kaye Collection / Mary Evans Picture Library


Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, 1966, Shirley Baker
© Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library

Manchester, 1966, Shirley Baker
© Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library

Milton Street, Belfast, 1969, David Lewis-Hodgson
© David Lewis-Hodgson / Mary Evans Picture Library

London, 1960–1965, John Gay © John Gay / English Heritage / Mary Evans Picture Library

Manchester, 1963, Shirley Baker
© Estate of Shirley Baker / Mary Evans Picture Library









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