Liverpool in the 1980s

Photographs by Dave Sinclair
Foreword by Jimmy McGovern
Published by Amberley

Review by Colin Serjent

"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." Jimmy McGovern

"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, sometimes lonely.

"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 Sinclair

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'

Review by Ritchie Hunter

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: 'Don't Mention the 47'

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