Liverpool in the 1980s
Photographs by Dave Sinclair
Foreword by Jimmy McGovern
Published by Amberley
"In 1984, Thatcher, fierce enemy of all forms of
public expenditure (excluding, of course, weapons of war) rate capped
all our city councils. To stay below the cap was to damage essential services,
so Liverpool - wonderful, bolsy, irrepressible Liverpool - refused to
set any rate at all. She responded by sending in the district auditor
and thus, in September 1985 an unelected petty bureaucrat was able to
expel from office forty-seven democratically elected councillors. A disgrace."
"I would spend many hours walking around Liverpool,
exploring empty places (like me!), such as council estates and going into
the derelict dock buildings. The way I took photographs was solitary,
"In 1986 I moved to London to work for The
Militant newspaper and travelled all over the country and Europe, covering
disputes, demonstrations and political conferences." Dave
The book includes over 150 photographs, all printed in black & white.
Sinclair has put many of his Liverpool-based photographs, and the rest
of his archive, on to the photo sharing site Flickr.
He said that in creating this book he has tried to use as many prints
developed at the time as possible.
Among my favourites in Liverpool In The 1980s are:-
'Anglican Cathedral and the Piggeries'
'Belmont Road flea market'
'Rice Lane, Walton'
'Coal collector, Formby'
'Mulhearn and Hatton being interviewed by the media'
'Demonstration in support of the Labour council'
'Police at the Posties' strike'
'Three teenagers, (Coal Not Dole), 1984'
'East Alexander Docks'
'Tate And Lyle'
There are some fantastic images here; social comment that is priceless,
and which people should be whole-heartedly encouraged to study.
It's fascinating to read, in the Authors Biography, how just as a reference
for his art, while at college, Dave Sinclair began this collection of
photographs. Jimmy McGovern's foreword also contains a useful overview
of the period, from his personal perspective, although without drawing
on specific examples in the book itself.
Pictures here catalogue the years of demolition, of 'managed decline',
and of the fight back against Thatcher's destruction.
There are delightful young faces, some with expressions reminiscent of
old photos of poor kids in Liverpool, others show teenagers out of school
and enjoying the freedom of getting on to the streets and making a noise.
Looking through these beautifully shot pictures leads to a form of nostalgia;
by drawing the viewer in to a remembrance of what those days were like.
I felt an "I was there! I walked down that street!" sensation.
But I was soon yanked back to the reality of dereliction and bleak scenes,
leading on to the misery of Hillsborough.
Dave has done us all a great service by documenting and then reproducing
this record of 1980s working-class life in Liverpool.
Also see Darren Guy's review: