Saturday, 10 October 2009

Scotswood Road

Pine Street 1960 - Photograph by Jimmy Forsyth

During the 1950's and 1960's, amateur photographer Jimmy Forsyth captured on film the working class community located in the Scotswood Road area of Newcastle Upon Tyne. In all, over 3000 negatives exist within the archive for the Scotswood Road area, taken in the years prior to a major change in UK housing policy that would go on to destroy much of the long established community life throughout Britain's towns and cities.

Injured in an wartime industrial accident, Jimmy took up photography to record the changes taking place in that community. After 1945, post war housing in the UK was finally recognised as being in a poor state, and vast areas of housing throughout the country were designated for demolition. New modern housing estates would be designed and implemented by town planners to create a modern living environment fit for 20th century living. Later Jimmy Forsyth would recall the grand housing plans:-

"The planners actually believed that they could build communities, but instead the community was scattered to the four winds, people were sent to far-flung estates, and a community was lost forever."

Jimmy continued to photograph the people of the Scotswood Road until his house was demolished during the late 1950's. During the 1970's, Jimmy Forsyth's work became a focus of interest and in 1979 a major exhibition of his work was shown at the Side Gallery in Newcastle. Jimmy continued to take his photographs, including one of my sister who lived near him for a number of years, until poor health forced him to stop. He died in July 2009 at the age of 95 leaving behind a visual legacy of around 40,000 images.

A fabulous collection of Jimmy Forsyth photos can be found HERE

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