This is repost­ed from last year, as the exhi­bi­tion has just won Best Art Exhi­bi­tion at Man­ches­ter CityLife Awards. The cer­e­mo­ny was host­ed at The Deaf Institute.

From 19th May, Man­ches­ter Art Gallery will show the exhi­bi­tion Women, Chil­dren; and Loi­ter­ing Men, pho­tographs by Shirley Bak­er tak­en pri­mar­i­ly in the 1960s. Of Bak­er’s pro­lif­ic out­put, these pho­tographs of Man­ches­ter and Sal­ford are her best known works and they reveal to us in com­pelling detail, a glimpse back in time; a snap­shot of a city and its res­i­dents in transition.

Abandoned cars - Manchester 1965

Bak­er (1932–2014) pho­tographed the streets of Man­ches­ter and Sal­ford in a peri­od span­ning from 1961 to 1981, a time in which huge change was tak­ing place. “Slum clear­ance”, was wide­spread, and this relent­less bull­doz­ing of streets, some riv­en with bomb dam­age, promised a new world. Even before it took place, Bak­er recog­nised that not all these changes were for the bet­ter. Yes, peo­ple were moved into prop­er­ties with bath­rooms and mod­ern facil­i­ties. Less pos­i­tive was the rip­ping apart of com­mu­ni­ties, as the face of Man­ches­ter was changed for good. And those shiny new tow­er blocks began to decay at a far faster rate than the Vic­to­ri­an ter­races they had replaced.

Girl with Pram by Shirley Baker

Women; Chil­dren and Loi­ter­ing Men was orig­i­nal­ly held at The Pho­tog­ra­phers’ Gallery, Lon­don in 2015. You can read my review of the the exhi­bi­tion here. The exhi­bi­tion was one of the most well vis­it­ed at the gallery, and cement­ed Shirley Bak­er’s rep­u­ta­tion as a piv­otal fig­ure in the British pho­to­graph­ic post-war scene. Bak­er befriend­ed her sub­jects over many weeks as she wan­dered the crum­bling streets, allow­ing her work to tell a tale of Man­ches­ter’s peo­ple; this col­lec­tion is not just a record of the city’s archi­tec­ture with its crum­bling hous­es but more impor­tant­ly a tale of com­mu­ni­ty, human­i­ty and survival.

Women, Chil­dren; and Loi­ter­ing Men

Man­ches­ter Art Gallery

Fri­day 19 May 2017–Monday 28 August 2017

Terraced house 1960s by Shirley Baker


The Pri­vate View fea­tured a talk by Anna Dou­glas the cura­tor. Some of the peo­ple who were pho­tographed in the 1950s were present – the team behind the exhi­bi­tion went to great lengths to track them down. It was an emo­tion­al expe­ri­ence for those in the pho­tos and the fam­i­ly of Shirley Bak­er to expe­ri­ence the reunion of those Sal­ford fam­i­lies who had been through hard­ship but also enjoyed being part of a close community.

Shirley Baker private view
Above: The daugh­ter of Shirley Bak­er, third from left, with three sis­ters who fea­tured in a pho­to Bak­er took in the 1960s. The pho­to was fea­tured on the exhi­bi­tion invi­ta­tion, shown below


Shirley Baker private view

Shirley Baker private view 2

Shirley Baker private view
The three Williamson broth­ers, Derek, Peter and Stephen, pose in front of their pho­to tak­en in the 60s


4 thoughts on “Women, Children; and Loitering Men by Shirley Baker at Manchester Art Gallery

  1. Good day… The pho­to on the ten­nement steps has a wee boy on him mums knee right of frame.… it is uncan­ni­ly like my grand­son, to the extent Ive been mes­saged by those who have seen it… I would love more info if pos­si­ble… I swear its him..

    1. Hel­lo. The only infor­ma­tion I can find on this pho­to is that it was tak­en in 1964, in Man­ches­ter. Sor­ry we can­not find more details for you.

  2. Hel­lo do you have any­more infor­ma­tion on the lit­tle girl with big shoes and pram ? Thank you

    1. Hel­lo and thanks for being in touch. I will attempt to find out but I don’t think there is any knowl­edge who the lit­tle girl is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *