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Beautiful Historical Photos Show Life in Britain’s Vanished Industrial Heartlands

The backdrop of giant ships and industrial cranes that dominate Wallsend and South Shields provided a constant source of fascination for Photographer, Chris Killip. In 1975, he photographed the Tyne Pride, the largest ship ever built on the river, but it was also the last.

Killip’s photographs document the lives of working people and their resilience of spirit while simultaneously portraying the steady decline of industry in Britain. Several photographs capture the energy of the mid-70s, with workers leaving the shipyard after a shift. The University of Cambridge hired Chris Killip in 1991 to teach photography in the Visual Studies Program at Harvard University after he moved to the North East in 1975 as the Northern Arts Photography Fellow. This set of exhibition prints was given to the Laing in honor of the Tyneside shipyard workers.

Even then, I had a sense that all this was not going to last; I had no idea how soon it would all be gone.

#1 Wallsend Housing Looking East, 1975

Wallsend Housing Looking East, 1975

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#2 Wallsend, 1970s

Wallsend, 1970s

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#3 Shipyard workers looking at the Everett F Wells, Wallsend, 1977

Shipyard workers looking at the Everett F Wells, Wallsend, 1977

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#4 Tyne Pride from a back lane, Wallsend, 1975

Tyne Pride from a back lane, Wallsend, 1975

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#5 Tyne Pride at the end of the street, Wallsend, 1970s

Tyne Pride at the end of the street, Wallsend, 1970s

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#6 Demolished housing, Wallsend, August 1977

Demolished housing, Wallsend, August 1977

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#7 End of shift

End of shift

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#8 A car dumped on the beach has to be outmanoeuvred by the Seacoalers, Lynemouth, Northumberland, UK, 1982

A car dumped on the beach has to be outmanoeuvred by the Seacoalers, Lynemouth, Northumberland, UK, 1982

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#9 Nnorth Shields, Tyneside, May 1981

Nnorth Shields, Tyneside, May 1981

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#10 Crabs and people, Skinningrove, North Yorkshire, 1981

Crabs and people, Skinningrove, North Yorkshire, 1981

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#11 True love wall, Gateshead, Tyneside, 1975

True love wall, Gateshead, Tyneside, 1975

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#12 Father and son watching a parade, West End, Newcastle, UK, 1980

Father and son watching a parade, West End, Newcastle, UK, 1980

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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