Tuesday 9 March 2010

Britain was once a country for young boys who are now old men who were caught in aspic by Bert Hardy

I came across this photo in the 'Sunday Times' magazine in an article by Richard Woods in a feature called 'Photography under threat'. It was taken by the photographer, Bert Hardy in Glasgow in 1948. Two street urchins. I think it is wonderful.

George Davis on the right and his dirty-faced pal Leslie Mason were snapped on the way to the shops as they walked up Clelland Street. George died at the age of 61 and Leslie is now 69. 'The Gorbals Boys' picture, was syndicated around the world and highlighted the appalling poverty in the city.

Leslie has said : "It's amazing how much impact that picture has had. My wife has relatives in Canada and they saw the picture for sale as a fridge magnet and sent me a few as a present."

George Davis died in 2002 at the age of 61.

His was a sad story from that harsh, bygone age of Britain in the 1950's.

In 1955 when he was 16 he was sent to prison for fathering a child by a 15 year old girl. She was sent away to live with nuns and have the baby and when she was away on a home visit, the baby boy was given to an adoptive family.

George subsequently married the girl and they had two daughters. With their mother and father both dead, the daughters, now in their 40's, are still trying to find their long lost elder brother.


Bert Hardy, the photographer died in 1995 at the age of 82.
I find his pictures strike a chord with me and take me back to my boyhood in Deptford in South London in the 1950's. I remember milk and bread being delivered by horse and cart and streets completely free of parked cars, since there were none.

Kids wearing air raid warden helmets left over from the recently ended Second World War and hitching a lift on a horse drawn cart.

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