I hope readers will forgive me this week for featuring foreign parts in the ‘Pictures from the past’ feature. Whilst mooching around Flickr a couple of weeks ago, I came upon an absolutely stunning set of early eighties photo scans by photographer mervyn_w, that evoke a particularly formative time in my life. I, like many readers, will remember darkly the recession of the early eighties, the shadow of Thatcherism and the destruction of industry and social society that went with it. These remarkable images depict that period with a clarity and sharpness that one doesn’t often find. I walked up Goodall Street in those years as a lad, past the Art School. I remember the marches, the protests. I remember the desolation, despair and lack of prosperity. For those who advocate cuts, these images are a timely reminder of how bad things became last time we suffered such a rampantly capitalist creed.
I haven’t captioned any of these pictures deliberately; if you wish to find out about them, click on them and their Flickr page will open, where you can read Mervyn’s great captions and the comments of other Walsall photographers. Thanks to him, something grim, but beautiful has been preserved; it’s also the work of a fabulous photographer, so while you’re there, do have a look around.