Boys on the rail track Bolton 1970s Credit: Don Tonge _ British Culture ArchiveBoys on the rail track Bolton 1970s Credit: Don Tonge _ British Culture Archive
Boys on the rail track Bolton 1970s Credit: Don Tonge _ British Culture Archive

Nine rarely-seen photos showing how we lived in Manchester in the 1970s and 80s

British Culture Archive – A Celebration of Life in the North during the 1970s-80s, is a new show celebrating working-class life in Greater Manchester in days gone by.

A driver selling 32p pints from his van is among a host of fascinating photos showcasing Greater Manchester life in the 1970s and 80s.

A stallholder flogging 75p ‘kiddies jumpers’ in Bolton and a young lad leaping off a wall onto a pile of mattresses in Hattersley are other striking moments from a new exhibition of documentary photographs opening this weekend.

The images aim to shine a positive light on growing up in working class communities in Greater Manchester in the 1970s and 80s. British Culture Archive – A Celebration of Life in the North during the 1970s-80s, is the title of a new show opening this weekend at Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre. It includes some rarely-seen photos which were stored in a loft for 40 years.

The archives’ founder and the curator of the exhibition, Paul Wright, set up the crowdsourced project documenting everyday life in 20th century Britain in 2017. The exhibition, featuring work by professional photographers as well as snap shots from people’s photo albums, shows everyday life in Greater Manchester.

Paul Wright, 44, grew up in Wythenshawe and now lives in Urmston. He set up the archive of thousands of images to give him ‘a creative buzz’.

Paul said: “A lot of the stuff featured celebrates working class culture. Certain parts of the media demonised those communities for the own agenda but I really wanted to shine a light on it in a positive way. I want the images to show how communities come together though adversity.

“A lot of the images show youngsters growing up in a world where there were less distractions. For the kids in the picture their world was just getting out, messing about with their mates, getting out on bikes around the neighbourhood and getting in scrapes. That’s how we learned and made us the people we are.”

The exhibition runs until 18 May, 2023.

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