Nick Hedges,“Make Life Worth Living”, terrace of back-to-back houses, Leeds, West Yorkshire, July 1970. The National Photography Collection held at the National Media Museum

Photographer Nick Hedges spent three years visiting areas of deprivation throughout the UK to create his seminal body of work for the housing charity Shelter. Launched in December 1966 (the same month Ken Loach’s influential TV drama ‘Cathy Come Home’ aired) Shelter put paid to the myth that only people living on the streets were homeless. 
Hedges photographed slum housing in cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and London, documenting the distressing conditions faced by more than 3 million people in the UK. At the time it was unusual for a documentary photographer to focus on domestic issues - war and international stories held sway. 
After decades in archival boxes due to an embargo, I could made public Hedges’ stunning photographs in this London exhibition. It proved to address today’s issues, as a Channel 4 documentary spin-off made clear.
Media Space, Science Museum, London, UK
October 2014 - March 2015

Nick Hedges, Street corner, Sheffield. May, 1969

Mr and Mrs Gallagher lived with their 4 children in a ground floor tenement flat. Their bedroom was covered in pools of rainwater. At night they sleep with the light on to keep the rats away. One night they counted 16 rats in the room. Glasgow Maryhill, October 1970 © Nick Hedges / National Media Museum

Nick Hedges, Salford (Lancs.). Deferred demolition zone, June 1971

Nick Hedges, Glasgow, Gorbals. One of the Copeland girls putting on eye make-up in their shattered tenement flat, October, 1970

Nick Hedges, Manchester Moss side. Vacated hair dressers shop, May 1970 

Nick Hedges, Wichenford (Worcs.). Television set in the parlour of the retired blacksmith's cottage, June 1970
Nick Hedges, Glasgow, Gorbals. Children playing at 'weddings', August, 1970

Nick Hedges, Killingworth New Town. Children near houses, July 1970

Nick Hedges, Liverpool 8. Prayers at the end of school. Primary school in E.P.A. area, May 1970

Nick Hedges, 'Mr and Mrs M and their four children lived in a council owned house in Vincent Crescent, Balsall Heath. Apart from the poor state of the property – no bathroom, no hot water, outside lavatory, inside walls running with damp – these children were sleeping in the middle of winter, on two sodden seat cushions covered by a couple of old ‘macs’, there was no heating in the room, the snow lay thick outside and the windows were broken. Birmingham, January 1969'

Make Life Worth Living, Nick Hedges' vintage prints for Shelter 1968-72, Science Museum Media Space, 2014/15
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